Last week, Justin Bieber performed an acoustic version of his new song “Love Yourself” at the #GRAMMYs. I’m not going to front like I’m a #belieber or anything, but I guess you could consider this my coming out of the fan-club closet speech because I absolutely love this one line of his song that goes, “if you like the way you look so much, then maybe you should go and love yourself” and it got me thinking (at length, apparently)…
Every #twentysomething I have ever met has gone through a lot; ups and downs, rights and wrongs, phases that include different identities and the groups of “friends” that come along with them – let’s call them social circles. We tend to seek approval from those social circles because we like to make decisions based on what others think of us. This is especially true for #twentysomethings who are trying to fight their way through the politics of social interaction – whether that interaction be online or in person, because let’s be real, its basically the same thing. As if this fragile age wasn’t fragile enough, social media has become the ruler of our social norms and those “norms” are driven by people who edit their unrealistic photos and caption them with #nofilter, making the rest of us feel entirely incompetent in comparison. (Yes, I’m calling out all those #InstagramModels, but only because I want to be them.) But it gets worse; the people who obsess over those standards of perfection are the same kind of people hide behind the anonymity of an online presence and judge us by our social media presence – AND WE LET THEM! Social media has only magnified our vulnerabilities and insecurities, complicating our validation process with selfies and “like” buttons.
In this generation, your social worth is basically equated to your number of followers and your self-worth is equal to the likes you got on today’s #selfie – we can blame this perception for our generations’s collective low-grade narcissism. All I’m saying is, if you’re like most #twentysomethings, the number of “likes” on your #ootd post will determine if your
wardrobe choice should force you to go home for lunch so you can change or if it will live long enough to make an appearance at your happy hour get together. Let’s just face the music here: the game has been changed and everything we do is online for people to judge us by, which they most definitely will do.
Some of this is not as superficial as the “hearts” on our Insta posts; it can be as real as going to a certain school or choosing a particular career simply to make our parents proud or upping our rent to move into a downtown high-rise in an effort to prove to your peers that #yougotthis – whatever “this” may be. We are constantly comparing ourselves to some ungodly standard and often use social media as a way to see how we match up. Our natural tendency has become the art of seeking approval from the masses. But what if we didn’t do all of that validation searching? What if the standards weren’t a comparison at all? I’m probably sounding crazy here, but stay with me. What if the only standard we held ourselves to was how good we felt in our hearts instead of how liked our selfies are? What I’m trying to say here is that it really all comes down to is one thing: you have to love yourself through everything; every f*ck up, every in between and every accomplishment, just the same. As my soul sister KoKo has said in her Kardashian Instagram wisdom,
“We must learn to love ourselves first unconditionally.”
Meaning: it must be an unconditional kind of self-love, or it doesn’t count. (And please don’t confuse loving who you are with knowing who you are; that’s another lesson entirely which we will get to another time.) In my opinion, to truly love oneself is one of life’s greatest accomplishments. It is the core of everything else we do and it control the love that we give to others. That all being said, the sooner us #twentysomethings learn this lesson, the better.
Take it from someone who has undoubtedly been there. Yes, yours truly. Very early in my #twentysomething years, I went through what most people would consider an #identitycrisis. I basically fell from the top of the world I was ruling to the concrete floor of the basement and the crown I was so fond of came tumbling down with me, shattered, and never quite fit the same no matter how I tried to mend it back together. See, validation was basically a way of life for me, both online and in reality. I was sorta lost in the beginning of it all and I was trying to find my way through everyone else’s approval. Thankfully it didn’t take me long to see the light and to figure out that the only solution was to buck up and completely rebuild; my life, my worth, my values, my hobbies, even my group of “friends” – who were nowhere to be found when I was broken at the bottom instead of buzzing around like the queen bee I once was – needed a facelift. My social circles shifted and my comparison-obsession began to diminish. I realized that regardless of what I did or who I pretended to be for the sake of finding acceptance, I was only ever happy when I truly LOVED who I was as a person – and believe me, that had not always been a constant. It came down to the fact that it didn’t matter how envied I was, how many likes were on my selfies or how #glam my life appeared from the outside; what mattered was how I genuinely portrayed myself and how in line my self-reflection was with my self-image.
We can’t let strangers through a web interface or the people we see looking at us on the street define what makes us happy; self-love and happiness is an intrinsic process. Be the person that YOU love. Do the things that make YOU happy. I think that’s what people mean when they say you should strive to be your #authenticself and that would deserve a “heart” in my Insta feed any day – even if the #ootd could use some help ;)- so you keep doing you, boo. Your authentic self will thank you for not basing your self-worth on your selfie rating or changing your standards for the sake of earning someone else’s momentary approval. So now, to bring it full circle and to remind you of the message #thebiebs is spreading in his new jam, “if you like the way you look so much, maybe you should go and love yourself!” I have this sneaking suspicion that you won’t be disappointed.
Think you got it down? Drop me a comment and tell me all about the ways you show the world you Love Yourself!