How to be Your Biggest Supporter
Sometimes we are our own worst critics and our own bullies. Sometimes the only person standing in the way is ourselves. I used to look out into the world, and wish that I could feel a part of it; everyone seemed so happy and seemed to know what it was that they wanted to do with their lives. I thought I had to have other peoples guidance in order to advance myself in society. But truth be told, we shouldn’t have to carry these false idols into the foundations of our dreams. Sometimes pushing ourselves too much because of what seems to have on the outside will end in a way that we will regret.
As a woman, in particular, I feel like we often to have to compete more based off of our looks. I do not think any woman is to blame for this, but I look at it more as a social conditioning. I often reference India Arie’s ‘Video Girl’ as a musical mantra to help me feel better about myself and to remind myself that my quarks are what make me who I am. More so, as a woman, I have struggled with the thought of comparison and if I presented myself in a more feminine way then that would garner a lot of attention. And although it was attention that I had gotten, it was something that made me feel less of myself. I realized that this was a social norm that I had to break and redefine for myself. I could not continue to be the tyrant in my own life. I had to make the decision to slowly let go of the thoughts and opinions, mostly, of those that oppressed me, but also the ones that I had created that kept me in chains.
Being my own best friend was what brought me personal satisfaction. On www.kindovermatter.com, they suggested to “take photos of yourself [and to] take control of your self-image by taking charge of the camera or hire a photographer whose work you love to help you see your unique self-mirrored back at you.” Physically looking at myself helped me to process my identity more too. I was able to see things that I had never realized myself like how I enjoyed my smile and the way my cheekbones were constructed. I had wondered why I had spent so much time downplaying my appearance when that was not everything that made up who I was. I had finally seen it with my own eyes and knew that no one could take that away from me because it was something that was inborn. I had given it to myself, and that part of me was something that didn’t belong to anyone else. I was now in charge of whether or not I would be offended or upheld when someone had something negative to say about me or when I had something negative to say about myself. The only person that had control over everything was now me.
Makayla Smith is a third-year student at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. She is completing her internship through Girlspring.