Now, since the beginning I have wanted to cover self-love, self-care, self-acceptance and a lot of different things on overcoming some pretty shit things in your life. I went back and fourth on whether this was a "That Vain Gal" kinda blog or for my other - Lashes Lipstick & Living - kind of blog but after a lot of deliberation I decided that seeing as this is covering sassy areas, is a self-help and kicking your ass kind of blog series, then it probably does fit here after all! This blog series is all about how to love yourself, how to love the skin you are in, how to believe in yourself, how to build - or re-build - your self esteem and most importantly? How to just own your life and be a boss bitch! Who knows, going over all my own tips may just help me, too?
BEFORE WE BEGIN...
Now I am fully aware some may have read my new extension of this blog "Lipstick, Lashes & Living" and be thinking 'hun, you can't be preaching how to love yourself when you're an anxious wreck' and tbf, totaaally get that view BUT, anxiety does not define me and the 'me' I present on social media and in these blogs is the me my close friends and those closest to me in general see (maybeee a tiny bit more sassy tho xo) and also, it's just me when I am at my 'best' but this is me- they both are.
Yes, life is shit right now but what's new? Yes I feel every bit of my most recent mental health post but there is an important line in that about feeling 'confident but it is met with wariness'- some days. I still went through SO much to get to where I am today and I want to use this blog to help others do so too- the sassy way! Now that I have explained myself before anyone comes @ me, let's talk about...
...SELF-ESTEEM: THE BRIEFING ⬇
Now huns, have you ever met a 'vain gal' who doesn't have self-esteem issues? Like, hellooo we hardly caked the layers on because it felt nice on our skin?? Ofc, self-esteem issues are mostly at the root of it, everyone gets like that, right gals? But how do you change what was once such an issue; that made you feel crap about yourself, made you feel worthless, made you feel you couldn't face the world, made you feel guarded- how do you go from "I am vain because X, Y and Z feelings" to "I am not vain I freekin' love it all!"
I am using vanity or 'feeling vain' as my example here but please don't take this as me being well, extremely vain and ridiculous! I am going to go into more gritty, deeper, details about self-esteem but being 'That Vain Gal', I had to touch upon this first because I know it's an extremely common and also re-occurring issue for a lot of gals out there. So lets divide this blog post into 2 sections shall we? The Vanity side of self-esteem and that 'down the rabbit hole' effect it can have on us over and over again and also, the general low self-esteem side of L I F E.
VANITY & LOW SELF ESTEEM
Vanity and self esteem come hand in hand- even if you want to protest 'it isn't like that, i'm not vain like that' I spent years preaching "I get ready for me and me alone" and whilst part of that is totally true... I am also doing it to attract the attention of others or look a certain way to some extent. If someone had said I looked a mess or my make-up was shit, I would have been deeply affected and wondered why I had even bothered... but if i had got ready for me and had loved the outcome, why would I be hurt? Because gals, even if we are getting ready for ourselves it's ultimately 1) so we feel good about ourselves and feel hot! 2) a part of our make-up routine, outfit choices etc will always be down to social pressure. Now I am not talking about a burden, weight on your shoulders kind of pressure, but the kind society and social media makes us feel. The kind of pressure on us gals that makes us feel we should have the latest trends, we should be looking like these photo shopped influencers. and sometimes even like our trendier friends.
There is then that part of you who may post an Instagram photo that you feel you look really good in, your feeling confident. It's been up around 20 mins and has 3 likes, and someone else's has around 40; you wonder why, you start doubting the photo, doubting yourself. It can be a vicious cycle, one you can not predict. I used to get so caught up in likes when I would post the standard "off out" post on my Instagram every single weekend! Then I realised three key things:
1) I am posting the same stance/pose EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND- it's boring! If i were to do that on my business Instagram it would get absolutely nowhere, right? Your personal 'gram is no different.
2) Timing is EVERYTHING. Just like there is the right times to post on your business accounts, the same actually goes for your personal accounts as well. If it is a weekend, you post at 10 or 11pm, people will already be out therefore not active on Instagram. If it's a weekday, people will be working, getting dinner, they might just not be on.
3) The person your competing with, do they have more followers than you? If so then of course they're going to get more likes more quickly! Also they may have a much larger friendship group of "loyal" supporters and when they all fire on to like and comment on their friends photo for moral, it brings it to the top of others feeds and the 'liking' trend goes on from there.
Follow this strategy outlined above, the next time you question your post or if you are liked because the chances are it is one of these three things- nothing at all personal! I was shocked to learn that this mindset happens with guys as well, wondering why their photos aren't pulling in likes or why their friends aren't showing moral.
Finding The Balance
The next part of vanity and self esteem is how we turn to make-up and our best outfits we own to "cheer up" or feel better. Feeling shit? Put on 3 layers of foundation, strike your best pose and get the gratification of randoms on our socials! We have ALL done this plenty of times, probably still do occasionally. If you split up from a boyfriend you bet the sexy selfies are coming out! And for the most part? Of course it is empowering AF and a great confidence boost at a crap time! But it did stem from low self esteem initially, right? It may give us a high, a buzz but it does not solve the root of our problem, those layers of foundation, those fluttery lashes we are wearing? They are hiding or a better word for it - masking - sadness and a feeling of perhaps not being good enough underneath it all.
We have to find the balance of yes, empower away and use make-up and clothes to express ourselves and empower us but, to not rely on such to make us feel better and find other more healthier and reliable ways to do such. I admit, being That Vain Gal and all. I am my own worst enemy for putting on some make-up, making my hair look good all to feel better about myself when I feel anything but. However, I also have a balance now of this being a more self-assured "I feel better, I look good" as opposed to "okay if other people don't think I look good then it must be true" BIG difference.
I remember I used to not want to be seen being my 'true self' (ie: without make-up) as I was embarrassed. There is such a weird pressure with going out natural on us girls as if we aren't presentable and we can find ourselves automatically apologising to others who bump into us "omg I can't believe you are seeing me like this I look a state!" for looking normal- but why? Why do we automatically apologise for 1) looking human 2) when the other person may not have noticed/think you look great! It just seems to be drilled into us that no make-up = not presentable to the world and that isn't the case. Lockdown had a great effect on me in that I now feel comfortable going out without make-up on or very minimal make-up and I don't feel anxious about it anymore- I actually embrace it! And sometimes, I even prefer being au-natural (That vain Gal exclusive xo)
Of course, Vanity can bring so much joy to people's life. You could be in a dark place and playing with make-up or clothes could bring you out of it and give you something to channel that negative energy into, almost like a little project. You could even be struggling with your own identity and this gives you a way to express how you feel, who you are. Make-up and/or fashion could just be how you express yourself in general when you have no words and for that? Vanity is such a powerful thing! It gives us the space to express how we think and feel. just like an artist can use their art to express themselves and do the talking on their behalf with no words needing to be said. Vanity does not stigmatise, it is inclusive to all and when used constructively. it really can change or enhance your life for the BETTER. It really only is when we depend on others perception of these "arts" that issues will arise.
How do you find that balance and that confidence though? How can you use make-up to make you feel better, but not use it as an emotional crutch and have a dependency on that emotional boost from it that others compliments may give you? In part 2 of this series I will write about general self-esteem tips I have picked up along the way, how to bring/big yourself up and just some good 'ol self-love techniques!