One of the things that I struggle most with is self-acceptance.
It’s not an uncommon problem. Every day I am inundated with images of computer produced perfection as well as insinuations that I cannot possibly be good enough as I am. Surely, I would need makeup or special hair products or a particular brand of clothes. How could I realistically be self-confident without these things? After all, if I were then I would be a narcissistic bitch. No one is good enough on their own, and how dare I consider that I might be, right?
Sadly enough, these are not the most damaging sentiments that are casually perpetuated every day.
Just today my husband and I were discussing the differing cultural norms projected onto males and females. Women should always be demure and genteel. They should take care to only expose the minimum amount of skin because an inch or two of midriff or a bare shoulder could inspire a male to act upon his uncontrollable instinct to mate, and he might forget that his chosen lady has choices and rights of her own. Alternatively, men should be strong, emotionless, always in control, know how to hunt, fish, work hard, and take his woman in a manly fashion.
Any deviation from what is ‘normal’ or ‘right’ can lead to being shunned or heckled until conformation is achieved.
Is this response to all things different appropriate?
From a purely evolutionary standpoint, yes. In the early days of our race it was necessary for the continuation of our species that the larger and stronger male protected the family unit or pack/herd while the women were impregnated by the strongest of the males for the furtherance of the line.
The issue is that in this day, we are no longer subject to our baser instincts. We have moved beyond the need to be a slave to our drives, and our brains have evolved to the point that most of us have the luxury to concern ourselves with things other than simple survival.
It is to our detriment as a supposedly higher evolved species that we even mentally reduce ourselves to those roles which we may have occupied before we climbed the evolutionary ladder.
Accept yourself for who and what you are. Each and every person on this planet is beautiful and worth being treated as a thinking, loving, and worthwhile individual. Embrace your differences. Celebrate them. The world would be bland and dull if everything in it was identical to its neighbor.
Teach your children as well as yourselves that they are wonderful for who they are, and that no on has the right to debase or take advantage of you.
You are all worth more than that.
You are strong. You are beautiful. You can do this.