As someone who has been working in PR and social media for a while, I wince every time I see a couple of words mashed together and turned into a campaign hashtag. There’s something in me that just wants to scream: “Stop trying to make #whatevzyoureselling happen. It’s NEVER going to happen.” And as a journalism grad trained to find stories and not to write about myself, I feel even worse at including my daily life or insecurities in my writing, because I hear my lecturers screaming: “No one fucking cares,” in my head. So why am I writing about WINK Models‘ #BackYourself campaign? Call it an exercise in fighting awkwardness, or an opportunity to talk about things I have learned and that might help somebody else. Or not.
What Is #BackYourself?
#BackYourself is an initiative by WINK Models for all people, but especially women, to build a healthy self assessment and to be a positive force in their own lives. Through #BackYourself WINK Models would like to show support to all people to reach a healthy level of self-confidence and emotional wellbeing.
What #BackYourself Means To Me
As an over-achiever through high school, a workaholic, somebody who wants to try and be as good as I can be in everything I do, it’s always terribly hard to recognise I have failed, or that I have been weak.
Yet, it was when I was about to crash and burn that I began accepting that being weak and insecure is a part of life that should be embraced and understood instead of being fought. After a particularly bad spell of anxiety and depression that I tried to bury for a year through punitive dieting and excessive working, the release came through accepting that it was ok to feel sad and hopeless, and to cry every day. I recognised that I needed help and I began seeking it. I finally told myself – and believed – that it was fine not to look and feel 100 per cent every day, because recognising it was the first step to get better.
Nearly one year later, I am finally doing what I have wanted to do all along. I am enrolled in my dream master degree in a top world university, challenging my body with new sporting activities – pole dancing, twerking and just recently surfing – I never thought I’d have the guts to try.
I still feel lost, I still sometimes shelter in over-eating and I still feel hopeless. But I have learned the difference between what looks good – e.g. Waking up at 6 every morning to go for a run – and what makes me feel good – e.g. Going for a run from Coogee to Maroubra to breathe in the ocean air and live in the moment. It’s not about punishing yourself with an early morning run, or working until late, or going to as many events as possible to show the world you have your shit together. It’s about not having your shit together and still having fun, being in the moment.
I have way too many unrealistic objectives that I might never reach. But if there is something I learned – through life, through therapy, through experiences – is that setting yourself up for unlimited happiness hurts you more than it benefits you. You will always want more and your life won’t ever be enough – no matter how amazing it is. Try setting yourself up to feel good instead, one small step at a time.
Getting involved with #BackYourself is a reminder for myself – and everyone who feels something similar or who could be bother to read this – that you don’t need to be successful, fit or happy 24/7, 365 days a year. You can try and feel good most of those days though. Over and out.