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Image by Yen Vu

Finding Self-Love Through Art

We all have our insecurities. Regardless of age, physical appearance, gender, intelligence, professional background, or personal finances, it seems self-doubt is a universal experience, and for some it can be more debilitating than for others.

I sometimes question my work, my decisions, my relationships, and even the very journey that is my life. One recurrent theme that comes up for me is insecurities about my weight. It's no secret that we are conditioned by the media to sustain certain expectations about what is considered beautiful and what we should look like. And like most human beings, I don't always necessarily fit into that picture I have been marketed to aspire to. Not even super models look like their photos displayed in advertisements, and I know that, most people know that, and yet this is the standard for beauty.

Not long ago at a family gathering I was told I've been gaining weight, as if I weren't hyper aware of the cellulite carefully concealed under the third pair of pants I put on before leaving the house. I bring this up to point out that our surroundings can definitely influence how we perceive ourselves, but to be fair, it is often our own self-criticism that can be the most destructive. I would never speak to others the way that I frequently speak to myself and unfortunately that is true for a lot of people. So what can we do to shift our perspectives and chip away at the things that chip away at us? How do we defeat our insecurities and embrace self love and compassion?

The answer to these questions will vary depending on the person and the struggles faced, but for me, self love and compassion is partly achievable through my art. Rather than feel guilty about that extra slice of cake, I decided to balance the sweets with healthier choices, and celebrate my body by illustrating it. Instead of hiding my unwanted bits I decided to paint them and share them for everyone to see; back fat, pudgy tummy, and all.

Perhaps my painting may not feel as revealing as I described it. Perhaps you look at me and think I am silly for being insecure about my appearance, but that is not the point. It's about the empowerment of finding a way to come out of your shell, be free, love, and accept who you are. This is MY way, and I will continue to paint and expose my insecurities until they are simply colorful studies of what once controlled me.

Through painting I have found a way to quiet my insecurity, and I challenge you to do the same! If painting is not of interest to you, then look for other ways to find the beauty in your flaws, or at the very least be kind to yourself. Consider that no one is perfect and that's okay.

With that said, I am not promoting complacency or laziness. Of course it is always good to set realistic goals and progress in whatever path you to choose to follow; just remember to pace yourself and celebrate your small victories along the way.

Feel free to comment below and share your insecurities and how you deal with them.

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