Self Perception: The Teen Girl’s Fight

What+is+your+story%3F+How+have+the+social+standards+of+the+world+changed+how+you+see+yourself%3F

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What is your story? How have the social standards of the world changed how you see yourself?

Amira Gilbert and Liliana Owen

Self-perception has always existed, take your pick how long. It can be both negative and positive; however in this time and age it is exceedingly negative and causes a real and lasting issue in the lives of many. Society, social media, and the ideal bodies worn by models and actresses are making it tougher than ever for teens to love and accept themselves the way they should.

Many people, both old and young, male and female, believe that to love and accept yourself you need to fit into the requirements of some unwritten law that says you need to be perfect in every way. Perfect body, perfect social media account, have the latest phone, perfect boyfriend, perfect home, perfect grades (note a ‘perfect grade’ is not always an A, a ‘perfect grade’ is whatever society currently thinks is appropriate for women. And right now, smart does not equal cool, which is really sad), perfect clothes and always having perfect things to say.

Perfectionism

Some people think that loving themselves is condoning their faults, but it is not. It’s accepting that you’re human, that you will make mistakes, that you will fail, and then loving yourself enough to keep going even when it keeps getting harder. Loving yourself is about empowerment, not about making excuses.

Kristen Hatten, a writer at FamilyLifeCanada.com, conducted an informal and online survey with many teens and found startling results, 75% of surveyed teens struggled with comparing themselves to others, 50% felt depressed and stressed because they thought they didn’t measure up, everyone wished they could change something about either their looks or their personality, and nearly everyone thought that things had to be perfect for them to be happy.

Sexiness, Beauty, and Healthy Bodies

There are more aspects of the self-perception problem than just perception. Another issue is beauty, sexiness, and womanhood. Girls feel increasingly pressured to look a certain way. Like Barbie: Big hips, big bust, tiny waist, slender, and. Femininity is being associated only with beauty, being emotional, and being passive. Boring!

And have you noticed in fashion magazines, fashion books, etc, that everything is concerned with being sexy? Gone are the days when women can just look nice! Now we have to be crude, revealing, and inanimate objects to create and satisfy desires. It seems that our bodies are just for show and nothing else.

We live in a time when sexy equals beautiful. Um, excuse me? That is not right!

Jacob 2:28 says, “For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women.” And no, that is not limiting. It is taking us from being objects to satisfy lust to a human being with thoughts, feelings, dreams, and needs! 

In the KJV bible, if you turn to Proverbs 31:10, it says, “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” So beauty is not about being sexy, and your worth is not about just being beautiful but about who you are inside. 

As Samuel 16:7 says, “…for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (Again, this is all from the KJV bible).

Girls spend most of their lives starving themselves so that they are skinny and slim when in truth they are just hurting and causing damage to their body as they strive for the idealized type. They lather concoctions of every kind to try to get that look that all the most beautiful women have when most of the time that look is from computer editing, it is almost impossible to get that good without heaps of makeup and time spent on that specifically. 

So skinniness and sexiness and society’s standards of worth are fickle. You will never measure up. As soon as you do, the ideal will move to another impossibility, and so on. There will always be someone skinnier, sexier, or more perfect than you. Don’t be a rat; get out of the rat race.

So What’s The Solution?

Sometimes these feelings of self-worth are not necessarily conscious thoughts. They are deeply ingrained in one’s brain from simply BEING in the world and witnessing the things going on. The difficulty with this, however, is that it is extremely hard to monitor and control these thoughts. One can watch as many videos and self-help talks and books to try to get to the stage where you are not thinking constantly about how your body looks and what is wrong with it, but eventually it fails, every time. This is because no self-help book or talk can make you have the motivation to step up and take the actions, YOU need to help you be on the way to having a positive mindset.

Here are a few things that you can do to get a positive mindset and stop that negative inner voice that is always demanding perfection:

Spend a few minutes a day to reassure and deal with that inner voice. 

What this means is that a couple of minutes a day (maybe in the morning before you start life), you deal with that inner voice. Focus wholly on yourself and no one else and deal with it so that the rest of the day you will be less focused on the bad things because you already made up. But some of you may be asking, how DO I settle that inner voice and have a positive outlook in life?

Daily affirmations! 

For some people this works wonders to your self-esteem and confidence levels, as you tell yourself that you are wonderful and beautiful. Yet it is extremely hard to go from “I hate you” to “I love you and you are beautiful.” But if it works for you, you could, for instance, at the end of every day try writing a few things that you were proud you accomplished and say them over and over again.

A kinder and an easier way to go about this, is to look at yourself in the mirror and say, “Here I am.” or “This is me.” 

Go about accepting yourself and not turning away in revulsion and trying to fix it. Knowing and embracing all parts of yourself, both good and bad things we are working on. It does not mean you have to LOVE every fault you have, but simply accepting them and being curious about yourself and not hateful. Baby steps are easier and make more progress. 

I know that some women might think that spending too much time on themselves is being selfish and they should instead look to others, but there is a really good quote from someone I know who said, “Selflessness is not thinking about yourself less but thinking about yourself less often.” As this quote says, if we spend a little time on ourselves that is not being selfish but making things up so that later we can concentrate on others and think of ourselves and our problems later and less often.

Journaling is a great way to get feelings out and to assess them properly, both good and bad feelings. 

Some people say that writing a journal means to write experiences so you can look back and remember and give to your posterity. But try this time to do a journal where you put in all the feelings you have and dump them onto that paper to help get it all out, not for prosperity but all the feelings that you would probably not want anyone else reading :). This can help you to have a clearer mind and not to constantly think about the things troubling you because you already had let it out on paper. Some good things to write about or consider when journaling are,

1) What do I secretly like about myself?

2) What period of my life was the hardest and why?

3) What part of my life was the best for my growth and why?

4) Who is someone who really inspires me to become my best self, and why?

5) My favorite way to spend the day is…

6) Make a list of 30 things that make you smile.

7) I really wish others knew this about me…

8) I feel happiest in my skin when…

And so on. Click HERE for a good site for more journaling prompts.

If you really do feel like you are overweight or not as healthy as you could be and want to be, don’t go on a fad diet. Those are not very healthy and can cause your weight to go all over the place and can really do bad stuff for your body and your health. Instead, cut down on processed sugars, fast food, and meat. Eat more fruits and vegetables, about 80% raw. 

I recommend looking into Green Smoothie Girl HERE. 

Health is not about the amount of foods you eat, but about the types of food you eat. And above all, listen to your body. Don’t overeat, but don’t starve yourself either. Eat until you are 80% full. This is the ideal state for your body to be; eating enough to have energy (if you need more food later-on, opt for healthy snacks, but not after 6pm) and eating little enough so that your body can focus on things other than digestion.

Also, a good thing to do is fast once in a while for a whole day, 24 hours or less if you like. This might sound like torture for some people and like it would not help at all, but fasting for a whole day does wonders for your body. If you fast your body is not preoccupied with digesting and so can go into healing mode, this is very helpful and does amazing things. For instance when in healing mode you, well, heal faster and can even help with the fight against cancer and can even help preserve memory and sometimes, but not always, helps to reduce weight loss. A good time for you to fast would be once a week (if you are serious) or once or twice a month.

The Rice Challenge

I hope this helps all of you who are struggling with this self-perception problem and need help, and showing all those others that this is a real and actual problem that needs addressing as positive thinking and negative thinking plays a huge role in how we act and how we feel in life. 

A mind exploding example of this is something called The Rice Experiment or love/hate rice experiment. In this experiment, it shows how words can have huge results on you as a person and RICE! Click on this LINK to see what I mean. There are also some cool videos HERE. And if you want to see more just simply go and google it!

Thank you for reading!

Amira + Liliana

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Bibliography:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1cvjE6aMEI

https://www.familylifecanada.com/parenting/teens-self-worth/

https://www.erikaslighthouse.org/blog/teenage-girls-self-esteem-impacted-social-media-pressure/

http://www.demoiselle2femme.org/wp-content/uploads/Body-Image-and-Self-Esteem-Among-Girls.pdf

https://www.cram.com/essay/The-Portrayal-Of-Idealized-Femininity/FKNGKCZLGR445

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322065