If you have ever looked in the mirror and felt unattractive or unsatisfied, you are not alone in this feeling of insecurity. A self-love crisis plagues women across the world, with 1 in 2 women experiencing more self-doubt than self-love, according to The Body Shop’s global investigation. Despite this, beauty remains an individual experience and perception. While Australian women rank among the top two countries for positive self-esteem, 53% still wish they had more respect for themselves, highlighting a complex relationship with beauty and self-image.

Australian women who actively engage in social media tend to compare their lives and feel dissatisfaction with their bodies, highlighting the complex relationship between beauty standards and online portrayals.

The constant exposure to ‘perfect’ beauty on social media leads to an unfair comparison, where people measure their unedited realities against others’ filtered highlights

We all know editing our physical appearances has become easy.

Advanced Photoshop techniques now allow for transforming half-closed eyes into wide-set Bambi eyes.

You don’t need expert airbrush skills to create a more attractive version of yourself.

Modern apps enable instant facial feature modifications with a few swipes, resembling digital plastic surgery.

You can achieve a smaller waist, eyebrow lift, smaller nose, more chiseled jaw, or eye bag removal effortlessly.

And we often capture multiple photos from different angles and lighting before selecting the ‘right’ one.

However, people often overlook the editing of our actual lives.

Consequently, social media posts usually don’t show the full story, effectively hiding the ‘in-between’ moments of despair and suffering.

For instance, you might see a shiny gold medal posted, but the journey of blood, sweat, and tears doesn’t receive the same attention.

Moreover, while we understand high fashion campaigns and glamorous magazine editorials involve staging by a large team, people often mistakenly perceive glamorous social media posts as ‘real life.’

This misconception can subconsciously make us feel like we are falling behind.

Madison Holleran was a freshman at an Ivy League university, who appeared to have it all. Friends say she was the perfect trifecta of beauty, brains and athleticism. Her school peers crowned her “the person every girl wanted to be, and every guy wanted to date”.

However, beyond the perfectly glossy exterior Madison suffered from severe depression and ultimately committed suicide.

Close friends believe social media worsened Madison’s depression.

Close friends say that social media contributed significantly to her depression.

Madison told friends she longed for a college life like the fun, liberating, and successful experiences her peers shared on social media.

She would scroll through happy snapshots, wondering why her college experience felt so stifling and stressful, feeling isolated in her struggles.

Yet, Madison’s own Instagram feed mirrored the life she wished for: lively social events, academic and athletic honors, and extracurricular activities with new friends.

When friends mentioned this, Madison replied, “It’s just a photo.”

She knew her social media posts didn’t show the whole picture, but struggled to apply this perspective to others’ social media feeds. Beauty.”

Self-love in the digital age presents unique challenges and opportunities.

Sara Kuburic, when she was the self-love ambassador for The Body Shop said: “If a woman is using social media as her primary means of building or outsourcing her self-love and validation, unrealistic expectations and comparisons can become detrimental and amplify struggles of self-acceptance.”

She emphasizes the importance of seeking self-love from within rather than from external sources.

However, cultivating self-love in the digital realm is complex. Each person’s journey is unique, and there’s no universal solution.

The Body Shop built a Museum of Self-Love showcasing stories from influential Australians who have learned to value their self-worth.

Jameela Jamil, also an ambassador, encourages us: “Self-love is an inside job, so let’s begin with one positive action toward loving ourselves.”

As a woman, being proud of yourself and believing you are ‘enough’ as you are is an act of social and political resistance.”

Self-love in beauty transcends just embracing flaws.

Who should define a beauty flaw, and why should we let their judgments shape our self-view?

When we limit self-love to defying perceived beauty imperfections, we critique ourselves and tie our worth to societal standards.

True self-love in beauty involves setting our personal standards, not succumbing to the pressure of subjective norms.

It’s about valuing ourselves, living authentically in our beauty, and standing strong against criticism of our appearance.

Life exposes us to a variety of beauty ideals.

If we constantly change our beauty to match others’ expectations, we embark on an endless transformation.

Trying to satisfy everyone’s different beauty opinions becomes an impossible task.

By Kristina Zhou. Holding Shot by Vogue.

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