There was a time when I hated everything about my appearance. I would spend hours making note of everything I needed to change, pointing out each feature I lacked. In fact, I remember when I was eleven years old, each of my New Year’s resolutions were about changing my appearance. I was so critical about the way I looked that I stopped doing the things I loved.
Today, the idea that young girls aren’t confident or assured enough to pursue their passions is heartbreaking – especially if that stems from appearance insecurities.
To someone going through the same struggles, I’d like to say simply what I myself needed to hear: you are not alone. There are people who care and understand; people who will never let you forget how amazing you are. A huge constituent of self-love involves re-evaluating your surroundings. Seek out spaces that build you up rather than bring you down.
I’ve also learned that this struggle isn’t something you simply ‘grow out’ of, and that’s okay. Find the strength to wholly accept and love who you are – in a society where you are taught to do otherwise. It’s an ongoing battle but reward each step. Celebrate your growth, don’t criticize. Most importantly, make sure that everyday, the voice in your head gets a little kinder.
Bianca Taberna is of Philippine descent, born in Manila and raised in Toronto. She studied Political Science and Management at McGill University. Bianca is currently living in Manila and working for Ashoka, a global organization that identifies and supports high-impact social innovation.