Saturday, July 19, 2014

You Don't Have to Try So Hard

Let me start off by saying that this video gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes. Every single word spoke to me. I think the lyrics are beautiful and hit home hard. I had such an emotional reaction to this video because I have gone through the struggles of not being comfortable in my skin-- how I looked or who I am. I didn't have any confidence and it took a toll on me both physically and emotionally.

This song and video send a beautiful message to not only young girls but women of all ages. I love the range of ages that they use in the video because often times I feel as though the focus can be placed more on younger girls. Don't get me wrong, I think it's just as important to send these messages to young girls and stop the cycle before it takes hold but there are also older girls and women that need to be healed. It's just as crucial to reach them because they might be getting unintentionally neglected. It's equally important to heal those from the cycle as well as prevent it from starting in younger generations. So I think it's wonderful that this video shows that no matter your age, you don't have to try so hard.

Run the extra mile
Keep it slim so they like you, do they like you?

Two lines into the song and I already felt like I had been hit over the head. This part immediately spoke to me because I can 100% relate to this when I was restricting myself. Before I developed an unhealthy relationship with food, running was my therapy, my outlet. All the stress of schoolwork would melt away as I would pound out the miles on the pavement. It was a healthy way for me to control my stress levels and I looked forward to my daily runs. But it quickly turned into a weapon against myself when I fell into unhealthy habits. Running and working out became a punishment for my body. If I would go over a few calories or just felt like I was getting fat (when I was even still losing weight), I would bump up my miles or make myself do extra workouts. I remember telling myself as I was running, "Do you want to stay fat? Because that's what's going to happen if you don't run another 3 miles". I soon began dreading my runs because it turned into something negative and unhealthy for myself even though I didn't realize that. I thought that the more I ran, the more I would lose weight, the better I would look in other peoples' eyes, and then I would finally be happy. 

But I didn't and I never would. You know why? Because self-love and confidence doesn't come from how other people view you. A million people could tell you that you look beautiful, have a perfect body, etc. but if you don't see it and feel it, then their words are pointless. I still didn't understand that and so I would keep trying so hard to make myself more beautiful in terms of societal standards. I would look at the girl in the magazine and think to myself that if I just would strive to look like her then everything would fall into place. 

Put your make up on
Curl your hair
Get your sexy on

These pieces spoke to me as well because I used to hate wearing my glasses. My eyes are really sensitive and it can be hard for me to wear contacts all day but I would force myself because I thought I was uglier in my glasses. That people would think I was nerdy and not beautiful because how many models do you see wearing glasses? Not counting eyewear advertisements, of course. Now I probably wear my glasses more than half of the time and I feel just as confident in them. I still like to wear my contacts as often as my eyes will allow because if you wear contacts then you know that you see better since you get 360 degrees of clear vision instead of being restricted by your glasses lens. But the point is I used to think that I shouldn't wear glasses because it wasn't "sexy" and that boys wouldn't be interested in me. After all, society was telling me glasses were a bad thing, right? So I would force myself to put in my contacts even though my eyes would get dry and irritated but I thought it was worth the sacrifice. 

I also felt like I constantly had to have my hair and make up perfect. I don't know how I did it but every day in high school and college I would blow dry my hair and straighten it. I would work so hard to get my hair and make up perfect as well as find the perfect outfit, that it probably took me over an hour and a half to get ready. Honestly, I couldn't do that now. Most days I let my hair air dry since I work out in the mornings and I wear a third of the amount of make up that I used to. I'm also fortunate that the dress code for my job is pretty relaxed working with participants which means most days I wear a comfortable t-shirt and leggings. I don't put as nearly much effort in my appearance than I used to and it's forced me to learn something important: it doesn't matter what I look on the outside, my confidence comes from within. I can feel just as good about myself with my wet hair pulled up in a bun in my yoga leggings as with my hair straightened and wearing a fancy dress. In fact I'm more comfortable with my hair wavy from the shower and in my workout clothes than trying to be something I'm not. There's no way I could ever fit society's mold of the perfect woman with perfect hair and always wearing skin-tight dresses. Not saying it's a bad thing if you do like wearing dresses and skirts, I'm just saying that I don't. My point is that we all have the right to do what makes us feel beautiful without worrying what other people think we look like. If you feel beautiful and like the way you are then then keep doing you, girl!

You don't have to try so hard
You don't have to bend until you break

Last year I was completely and utterly broken. At rock bottom and beginning the long and painful journey to recovery. I had bent myself over and backwards trying to get myself to a weight where I thought I would be happy. But in the end all it did was leave me broken and empty. 

Wait a second, 
Why should you care, what they think of you
When you're all alone, by yourself, do you like you?
Do you like you?

Like I said, confidence and self-worth don't come from other people. It's a process that has to come from within you. The reason I can feel just as confident with my air dried hair and yoga pants is that I'm more myself. I feel more comfortable in my skin because I follow my own standards rather than what society tells me I should look like. I'm no longer trying to be something I'm not because truth be told, I'm not happy when I force myself to spend so much time trying to perfect my appearance. It doesn't make me any more of a better person or any more beautiful. We are all our most beautiful when we are ourselves, not trying to be something we're not. We don't have to try to be someone else just to fit in, to get validation from others, to wait for society to tell us beautiful. Because we are all beautiful when we're our most natural selves, the person we were created to be. 

So that's why I love this song and video. It's sends such a powerful and moving message that I hope it continues to spread and reach those who need it. 

You don't have to try so hard
You don't have to change a single thing

No comments:

Post a Comment