In a culture where cell phones and social media are at the tips of everyone’s fingers, it is safe to say that that the media has taken over and has affected many people in the process.
In 2016, 78 percent of the United States’ population had a social media profile. Social media has become an integral part of the culture we live in. Social media is used for personal and professional platforms and is encouraged by the job market.
However, with so many on social media it is easy to compare yourself to others. The media makes people believe that there is a certain way people should act and look. People have begun judging their self-worth based on the amount of “likes” they receive on social media sites.
With the pressures of the media and society it can be easy to compare the way you are and the way you look to the images of others based on what we see on social media. These pressures tend to lower self-esteem and can affect the way people view themselves and their self-worth.
Lisa Thompson, a Michigan State University alum, wanted to change this by creating the blog, Self Love Beauty, where she can share not only her own experience, but the experiences of others in order to inspire women to love themselves for who they are.
“Our mission is to empower women one story at a time so that they know they are not alone on their journey. A lot of women think that they’re going through this all alone when in reality; there are a variety of women that feel the exact same way as them. So I started writing about what I’ve been going through and kind of sharing stories,” said Thompson.
The way people view themselves can affect who they are in multiple ways. When people suffer from low self-esteem or a lack of self-love, it can also cause multiple health effects, according to Dr. Tenille Gaines from the Michigan State University Counseling Center.
“Those who may have lower self-esteem may tend to experience anxiety, depression, lack of self-worth, withdrawal from social settings and low self-efficacy and may feel as if they do not contribute anything,” said Gaines.
More than 90 percent of females (15 to 17 years of age) want to change at least one thing about them physically. With the negative effects that the media can bring, the question is, how do we love ourselves with all these pressures from society? For Thompson, empowering other women by sharing stories is what she hopes readers take away from her blog.
“I think society, right now, is in a very confusing state where one minute you’re getting an article about ways to lose weight in two weeks, and then you have another one telling you how you should be loving yourself, and it’s very confusing for any woman to read both of those and then try to understand what works for them,” said Thompson.
Thompson believes that people possess great qualities that they may not showcase because of lack of self-love and self-confidence.
Nicole Hill, a pharmacy student at Duquesne University was featured on Self Love Beauty where she shared her story about her personal struggles with weight and self-confidence and how becoming involved in fitness has helped her become who she is today.
“I want people to realize that you don’t have to hate fitness and that you can still want to accept your body and love your body, but still want to be healthy at the same time,” said Hill. “Fitness for me is a huge reason why I even spoke out about my eating disorder and fitness is what I say saved my life. Learning to take care of my body and still be healthy and active makes me feel better and feel stronger and when I feel strong I feel more confident about myself.”
Hill hopes that people who read her story understand that who we are means so much more than our physical appearance.
“It’s realizing that self-love is not one body type, it’s not one number on a scale, it’s what makes you wake up and feel happy and be able to do the things that you love every single day. It’s finding that middle ground where you feel healthy and when you want to live life to the fullest,” said Hill.
Self Love Beauty has partnered with Michigan State University’s public relations club, Public Relations Student Society of America. PRSSA is contributing to help promote Thompson’s “Beautiful Me Shop,” which is a t-shirt line designed to inspire women to love who they are.
Gina Peera, PRSSA’s vice president of member services, said that it is important for her to promote positive messages while working within the media industry.
“Everyone knows that the media can make you think a certain way about yourself, whether you want to believe it or not. I feel like, after reading the blog, it’s nice to know that people are going through the same things that you are,” said Peera. “Just having self-love instead of focusing on all these messages that are coming at us through the media about what our bodies need to look like and all this other stuff. It’s just been nice to have a group of people coming together and accepting who they are is nice to see.”
Who people are has a lot to do with how they view and treat themselves. The more people love themselves they more they are willing to help others in the process.
“Honestly because the more you love yourself, the more confident you are, you feel more empowered to help other people and kind of make the world better. It’s really just loving yourself first before you can put your heart and soul and passion to give back to others and to have stronger relationships with other people as well,” said Thompson. “It’s not always about your image, it’s more of all the other qualities that you can bring to the world.”