What does self-love look like through the eyes of a South Asian teenager?

Feb/16/2020 / by Sunjukta Vaidhyanathan
What does self-love look like through the eyes of a South Asian teenager?
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Self love and self empowerment are such difficult qualities to obtain with the constant oppression placed by today’s society. The need to fit the standards set can be so present that it can destroy someone’s self image. Teenagers face these problems harder than most. For me, being South Asian in a primarily Caucasian dominated school, it was much harder for me to feel happy and content with my self image. Up until the 7th grade, I felt included with my school friends and the society I was a part of, even though my racial, spiritual, and cultural beliefs differed from the majority. But middle school changed this tremendously. Suddenly my very noticeable differences began to set me apart from most of my peers. I began to have a poor mindset about how I looked and felt. The everlasting comparison between myself and the other children in my school began to have a negative impact. I tried to achieve the “normal 7th grade girl” image that I had produced in my mind. I would wear makeup and straighten my hair, but nothing seemed to work. These persistent efforts seemed to go nowhere. Just as my feelings towards myself began to worsen, I looked upon other South Asian women. Each of them embraced their differences and embodied the independent and confident woman that I wanted to be. Their strong representation of the South Asian woman began to shape a positive image of myself in my mind. I felt connected to my community, and this was a way for me to have an optimistic outlook on many things. When dealing with self love, the most important thing is to not compare yourself to others. Though this can be very difficult at times, the message to remember is that it is our differences that make us special, not our similarities.