But First, Self Love

But First, Self Love

Growing up everything seemed like a struggle to find confidence. I had been teased during my early teen years for being chubby. Kids are mean at that age; in the same light, you don’t know any better at that age so you fall victim to the bullying. Those years are pivotal in your self-development. These years directed the trajectory of my life moving forward with the lowest self-esteem. I would’ve done anything to be skinny and to be accepted. I even started going down the road to Bulimia, but was caught early on by my doctor and something in me knew that this was just wrong. My soul was strong but my mind would get weak.

I think despite all the bullying, I had always been a fairly-strong personality; maybe suppressing all the emotions and maintaining my ground. However, this changed when I went through a tragic period in my mid-twenties where I was extremely down on myself. All the suppressed emotions I had within myself came flooding in and I crashed.


Nehal Mehra Self Love Plus Size Influencer Nehal Mehra in Kyra & Vir
Image Credit: Hello June Studios

I have the world’s greatest family and friends, they love me unconditionally and support me even when I probably don’t deserve the support. Even despite, all of this it was challenging for me to get back up on my two feet. I knew that this was an inside job. I had to love and support myself back to life. I started researching and reading a lot of self-help/development books, and really implementing practices to consciously love myself.

My sister and my mom are my best friends. They have had a monumental impact on my self-perception. They are very quick to shoot down any negative comments I make about myself and always hold up a mirror to help me see my worth. Not to mention, I also have a group of badass friends who empower me constantly. I have been very selective with who I’ve let into my life and couldn’t be more thankful for all the people who are here that I am again very lucky to call my family.

Media has such a large impact on how girls and women see themselves. First let’s start off with the exponential growth of the Influencer culture and community. We see a lot of unrealistic beauty standards being demonstrated on a daily basis. So whereas once we only saw celebrities on TV and magazines in a specific light, now we see influencers, who are much more accessible, demonstrating those same unrealistic beauty standards.

Nehal Mehra Self Love Plus Size Influencer
Nehal Mehra in Kyra & Vir
Image Credit: Hello June Studios

When girls and women see only a specific type of beauty in the media and that too so often, it conditions them to think that the women being highlighted are the only important ones. It forces them to believe that if we don’t look like that, we are not good enough. 

Social media is an overly saturated place and we are constantly bombarded with content. In today’s world, everyone we know is on social media from our peers to our parents. This has normalized the notion of turning to social media for information. Now we look to social media as a source of news, information, education, entertainment. So when the people delivering this message confine to the unrealistic beauty standards – we the general public think this is the only way to go.

This doesn’t go without saying that there are some celebrities and influencers who see the need to empower and educate women. They are using their voices and the platforms to shed light on the unrealistic standards of beauty and the unattainable lifestyles. A very popular Indian actress, Sonam Kapoor, just released a statement about how it takes a village to get her camera ready. She talks about not “waking up like this”, a satirical innuendo towards Beyonce and her famous lyric, claiming even she did NOT wake up like this.

Something beautiful is happening in social media even with influencers dominating the market and marketing budgets for brands. Although there is an influx of insecurities there is also another side of the influencer game which is looking to empower and turn the face of social media. This might not be a huge percentage but there is a good chunk of influencers who are using their platforms to speak out and empower. I hope to be that influencer as well. I really want to use this platform, which to a certain degree made me feel like an outcast as well, to empower and make girls/women feel beautiful about themselves, to learn self love.  

Self-love to me means not needing anyone’s approval in how you lead your life. It is about doing things that make you happy and enrich your life, without sacrificing your own wants and needs. Self-love to me is accepting yourself as you are.

Nehal Mehra Self Love Plus Size Influencer
Nehal Mehra in Kyra & Vir
Image Credit: Hello June Studios

A lot of people mistaken self-love with self-obsession. That is not the case. I think self-love is taking care of your heart and your internal self. It is to pamper your existence, rather than only flaunt the superficial aspects of yourself. It means to respect your emotions, understand your thoughts and behaviors. Self-love to me is progression and growth which results from auditing myself and identifying areas improvement for a better me while I appreciate everything that I like about myself.

You know that saying that people who only care will point out the flaws in you and tell you where you went wrong, so you can succeed. Well why don’t we do that to ourselves? Why aren’t we our number one fan, telling us where we might’ve gone wrong so we can make the appropriate changes and become a better version of ourselves. Self-love to me is being kind to myself and doing good to myself first. When we are full and complete we have so much love within ourselves that we end up doing better with others.  

Nehal Mehra Self Love Plus Size Influencer

Nehal Mehra in Kyra & Vir
Image Credit: Hello June Studios

If I was to give advice to women, mine would be these:

  1. Dealing with insecurities is the hardest thing to deal with. Sometimes it is the social conditioning and sometimes it’s the people around you that you bring you down. Do an audit of your friend circle and the people you spend the most time with. I had been surrounded by bad company in my younger years. People I felt I needed to be friends with to fit in. It was a weird internal battle I fought, I needed their approval while telling myself I am fearless, I don’t need anyone’s approval. The truth is that I was asking for these people’s approval even when I said I was fearless. It is only when I started spending time with different people and met individuals who would empower me versus make fun of me, even though they claimed it was in a friendly way, that I started to see myself for everything positive that I am. Your company is very, very important and if you need to, then you need to make some tough calls while only keeping people around you who constantly remind you how amazing you truly are.
  2. Find 5-10 things you like about yourself, and write down or even better say them out loud to yourself in front of a mirror daily, preferably in the morning. Our minds can be altered – the beauty of neuroplasticity. So, positive self-talk can actually be very beneficial in helping you overcome your insecurities. Before anyone can tell you you’re beautiful, you need to tell yourself and believe in yourself.
  3. Do things that you’re good at or you think you’re good at. This cultivates confidence within you because you’re constantly practicing a mindset of winning.
  4. Set a deadline for yourself to do something that scares you. You can start off small and build your way up. For example, I’ve always loved fashion, but I was actually very insecure in wearing certain things because I was afraid I would be judged. But slowly I started wearing things that I felt beautiful in and wanted to wear. Guess what? Nobody judged me, and if they did it didn’t matter because I felt so great in what I was wearing. Doing something that scares you also helps you grow.
  5. Every time you think something bad about yourself, consciously try saying 2 things that you like about yourself.

Written by Nehal Mehra 


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