Model, writer, mental health advocate. Instagram @eva_smite
This is by far one of my favourite subjects and yet I am still learning about it everyday. Despite being of an utter importance – it is a subject that is often overlooked and even more often misunderstood in our society. Self-love. I was familiar with the concept for years, yet it remained just that – a mental concept in my head with no idea on how to apply it in real life. And for some reason finding it out was not high on my priority list. Most likely because nobody told me just how important it is. It was a somehow mysterious thing, one that sounded vain and liberating at the same time and one that some people seemed to just magically have. It was almost like you had to be born with it in order to grasp it. Little did I know at the time – we were all born with it, it is our very essence and birthright. The problem is what happens after we are born – namely being shown and told we are not good enough. By our parents, by our teachers, by other kids and eventually by ourselves as we start to believe it. It has to be said that more often than not the message is not delivered on purpose and most of the time not in a direct manner either. It is more the case of us arriving to that conclusion just by living and observing the world around us. Every time we are told that we need to have good grades in school in order to be rewarded, every time we are compared to other children, every time we are punished for misbehaving – we learn that love comes with some conditions attached. And every time we fail to meet those conditions, we end up feeling not worthy of that love. The examples mentioned above are quite common and hence are something the majority of people can relate to. Then, there are those of us whose stories were far more traumatic and abusive and the consequences more pronounced, but the bottom line is that almost no one reaches adulthood without having had at least one experience that made them feel not good enough.
It seems that bullying has become normal. If you think it's something that only happens in schools — think again. I don't believe kids just become bullies for no reason — it's something they pick up from their environment, namely from adults. Children are just more vulnerable to the effects of it — hence we notice it more. But look around in the so-called "grown up world". The Media is constantly bullying celebrities, because well — scandals sell better. Advertising is bullying consumers by telling them what they should look like, smell like, think like. You don't have a six pack? You're fat. You don't wear designer clothes? Your style sucks. You don't fuck a lot of girls? You're a loser. The message is loud and clear — you are not good enough as you are, not until you spend some money on our products and become desirable to all.
This year has been anything but easy. It felt like all of my resources, all my resilience was gone. Battery drained and unable to charge. And I am aware that it has been a challenging year for many. But the challenges are often exactly what we need in order to grow, overcoming obstacles is what shapes us into a person we are meant to become. Without the pain of the transformation - there wouldn’t be a butterfly and a caterpillar would never experience the joy of flying. His model of the world would remain the same - a safe but a very limited existence. By never challenging ourselves, our beliefs and behaviours - we remain stuck on the same level, which might feel comfortable but is not very fulfilling. As a popular quote states: “A comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there.” We often play it small, not living our full potential for various reasons. Many of us are not following our true passions by sticking to the familiar and safe living, not taking any risks and not even exploring who we really are. Not who we are according to our society, our parents, or our own inner monologue, which is very repetitive most of the time. We all have unique talents and gifts we might not even be aware of. Or we are aware of them but keep postponing pursuing our dreams. We are too busy making a living to explore any of that. We are basically living on an autopilot, caught up in a rat race like so many others around us. Hence it is no surprise that sooner or later something outside of us will challenge us. Push us to the next level. Why? Because we are meant to fly. We are meant to step into our greatness. This is why we are on this journey called life, with all its ups and downs. This is why we keep going no matter what - on a deeper level we know it will be worth it in the end.