Saying that the world is going through a tough time right now is an understatement. Fortunately for those of us who have access to the Internet, things are more bearable. At the same time, this very exposure to social media can be harmful because there is a lot of pressure to reinvent ourselves in a time like quarantine. But that pressure, the stress of becoming totally new should not be there. Because like it or not, our lives are in danger and, if there are people who are not feeling motivated enough, or people who are scared to go out- rightly so- then, these people have the right to stay inside their homes and not feel like they are wasting all of this time.
These are also the people who are contributing majorly to breaking the chain of infection- the risk of which increases, every time someone or the other decides to leave their homes.
Personally, I am grateful for the fact that I have unrestricted access to my social media feeds, which tends to fill in for the lack of social interaction that I need. I see people being productive and managing to stay positive and healthy during this time and that makes me happy. But what I also see, is that a lot of my friends and people I follow are undergoing a phase of restricting their diets, eating a lot of low-fat food and being really insecure about their bodies while they stay at home.
As someone who frequently deals with issues of body positivity, I understand their predicament.
The mentality that they are following is that “Quarantine = Free Time = Reinvent my body” or “Quarantine= No Stepping Out = Not Being able to Exercise = Weight Gain/Loss = Body Shaming Oneself.” I want to put a stop to the belief, that if you do not lose weight or you do not gain weight, or you don’t become thicker or thinner, you have wasted your time in this lockdown period.
This is not me saying that you shouldn’t want to exercise, or that you shouldn’t healthy.
This is me, saying that if, you do not feel comfortable or if you’re just afraid of going out, it is okay. This is me, telling you, that even if you do not look some Victoria’s Secret model, or glow up,
you are still beautiful.
This is me also saying, that if you have a safe environment to exercise or work out and you want to do so, it is absolutely okay. The only condition is that you are doing it because you are motivated to do so by yourself- it should not be happening because you have given in to peer pressure.
Do it because you love yourself, not because you hate yourself. In the time of such crisis, where people are dying every day, you have done your body and yourself a great service by just managing to survive. This is the kind of war that people don’t realize they are engaged in unless they take a direct hit which suddenly puts everything in perspective for them. Don’t put yourself through that.
Another important thing to realize is that it’s very easy to fall for social media projections.
I’ve done that a lot before realizing, and understanding that my priorities, goals and ideologies are very different from the people that I see online. So, clearly, their life-planners cannot, and more importantly, should not coincide with mine. These are people who have a different approach to life than I do. By comparing myself to their life standards, I end up making myself miserable when in fact, I have no actual basis for this.
If a 23-year-old woman makes a smoothie and drinks it while she relaxes on her couch after a yoga session at 10 a.m., I cannot expect myself to act like her. Because I am a 17-year-old, who has online school starting at 9 a.m. and those exact expectations out of myself become futile.
Instead, what I can do is that if she inspires the smoothie-making urge in me, I can make one in my free time. I can adjust and I must adjust, my aspirations and my interests according to the lifestyle I’m following.
This awareness comes after considerable stepping back and reevaluation of your own lives. It’s imperative that this reevaluation happens because once you have understood your own perspective, you will automatically see a shift in your life, because things will happen according to a realistic timetable. They will not be pushed into your life so uncomfortably that there is hardly any space for anything else. You must not let yourself fall for the Instagram life, or try to match your expectations to those online.
The last thing I want to address is that don’t fall prey to your own mind either. As much of a kind person you may be, the mind plays tricks on you to make you believe that you’re not enough.
You might find yourself very susceptible to beliefs about not being pretty enough or hot enough. You might find it very easy to associate your self-worth with the way you look and you might also find it easy to believe the negative thoughts more easily than the positive ones. And it’s okay. Loving yourself, especially when it comes to your physical aspects, can be an uphill challenge.
I still struggle with it, because my good days might come more often but my bad days are a lot darker and stronger. I’ve had days in this quarantine where I’ve felt my mental health slip through my fingers and I’ve watched myself quietly break down without a word to anyone. I have sat myself in front of a mirror and wished to carve my body into a new shape, give myself a new face. I have hated myself and loathed myself and held in tears till it felt like I was bursting. And I know a lot of you might have done the same too.
The idea behind loving yourself is to accept your body the way it is. I want to glorify self-love.
I want people to be able to look at themselves and instead of letting a trail of doubts and insecurities linger at the back of their minds, I want them to smile. Regardless of however they may look.
The next time you look in the mirror, I want you to say “I love you” to yourself. And then repeat it, every time you look at yourself. I want you to ignore your mind when it tries to find flaws within you and outside of you. I want you to stay healthy because there is no point in doing any of this, if you do not have a healthy body to bank upon. Stay home, stay love and believe in yourself. You’re at your most beautiful when you’re in love with yourself.
Post written by guest writer Nandiinii Gupta