When we’re young, we don’t really care about our hanging bellies or our dirty teeth, our slurry speech or wrong spellings, or anything messy or even zany. We are mostly just happy with ourselves, are we not? However, as we grow up, we start judging ourselves based on our perception of how ‘other people’ who are mostly faceless strangers will judge us. We also end up judging other people just because they seem different to us. The domino-effect results in the creation of a society wherein everyone is equally scared of being judged. Having buried their ‘authentic’ selves, they masquerade around, pretending to be the ‘best’ rather the ‘least prone to criticism’ selves. In the rut and rattle of the world, we often forget to listen that one little voice that keeps asking us to be hopeful and just continue being in love with ourselves.
This is why, when Converse, on the eve of the launch of their Love Fearlessly collection, came to Homegrown with the idea that ‘one like is all you need’, we immediately resonated with it. Social media has largely evolved to become an alternative world in itself and it won’t be incorrect to say that our real-life insecurities not only get replicated in this world but also get intensified, making the user a lot more vulnerable to toxicity. It’s important to understand that fear manifests itself in different forms and more often than not do we realise that it’s fear that inhibits us from expressing ourselves without any filters. To this end, it has become all the more relevant to think about the core concepts of self-love, self-compassion and being fearless within ourselves.
In light of the campaign, we picked three individuals who we knew could help us unravel the nuances that there are to loving oneself fearlessly. Even though they are young, through constant exploration of their selves and constantly facing their fears, they have learnt to arrive at a place where they know when to shut all the noise down and just listen to one voice - their own.
Toxicity can get the best of us. Criticism and sometimes, even abuse from anonymous strangers can damage a creator’s self-esteem greatly. In the four years that Angelina, a 22-year-old media student and social media influencer from Nagaland, has been creating content, she has received a lot of negative criticism. She tells Homegrown, “I know I reach more people on social media than the average person. The number of haters and trolls who are out just to bring you down. They have no reason to hate you except that there just want to. So, I’ve made it a point to build a strong foundation where such things won’t affect me and that foundation starts with me loving myself fearlessly. I’ve realized that the most important approval is my own.”
Self-love can be a highly-personalised process. While no one suit fits all when it comes to self-care, the support of our family and friends only makes the process easier. Gayathri, a freelance stylist would have continued studying in NIFT had she not listened to her inner voice to create something bigger and communicate through fashion and make-up. On being asked about the creators’ hesitation and the courage required to love oneself, Gayathri told Homegrown, “Social media being a big part of our lives, we all face different types of criticism from society pretty much on a daily basis. “Don’t tire yourself out trying to fit into different moulds. Living in a city you learn to tune out the loud noises until it turns into a faint whisper. Tune out what others think about you.”
Gayathri often collaborates with her friends and loved ones. She says, “I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by an extremely supportive group of close friends and they’re the main reason for my growth as an individual. It’s important to be around people who’ll love and support you unconditionally.”
The same goes for Angelina who says, “My friends are always super supportive. They are always hyping me up and excited for every little thing. They motivate me and help me do better but on the other hand, my family is not really sure about it yet because they don’t really understand my work but they are kind of supportive these days. Whenever I’m low, I usually end up calling/texting my cousins, friends and mom.”
27-year-old Joan from Kolkata says that fashion is his medium of communication. Coming to Kolkata from a very small town in Darjeeling, non-binary gender adhering Joan initially found it difficult.”In a place like Kolkata, it is difficult to be the way I am and not be judged or not be commented upon. However, I have taught myself to stand up for myself.”
It is important to understand that self-love is a continuous process and not all days are the same when it comes to loving yourself. Gayathri confesses, “I’m an extremely shy person but I’d like to think that over the years I have become quite confident especially in terms of what I do. But there are days where I feel absolutely unproductive or rather distracted. I can confidently say I’m surrounded by an incredible support system. A few hours with my friends and I’m good to go. My other option is a good movie and a bowl of pasta!” On days when Joan finds it difficult to love himself, he just tells himself that things happen the way they are supposed to happen. One can’t change everything, but one can certainly move on and do better things. He advises that it’s important to accept one’s flaws because only when we begin to love our flaws and our imperfections, do we actually start loving ourselves for real.
At the end of the day, it’s important to believe that we are a sum of all our perfections, flaws, our smiles, our tears, as also our fears. The only thing that we need to keep believing in tirelessly is that, at the end of the day, a million likes or the approval of a million people doesn’t matter. All we need is one person’s ‘like’ - our own. So, let’s go out there and celebrate the spirit of fearless self-love!
Join the conversation and tell us what loving yourself fearlessly means to you! Stand a chance to win your own pair of Converse. Leave a comment on the following Instagram post or DM us a video on our Instagram to stand a chance to win your own pair of Converse!
One like is all you need - Your own.
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