The New Self-Love

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A few of you have asked me to discuss some things about myself that make me feel self-conscious. First of all, I have to say, no matter who is in question, everyone has flaws and insecurities. Every single person. Whether it is their skin, the way they interact with others, the amount of money they have, etc., there is always something. This “something” usually stems from comparing yourself to others around you.  

Betty Draper (Mad Men), with everything & nothing



In study done by Brickman and Campbell in the 1990s dubbed “Hedonic Relativism and the Planning of the Good Society,” the two psychologists coined the term “Hedonic Treadmill.” Now I didn’t go into this expecting to lecture anyone on psychology, but it’s totally relevant, promise! The term Hedonic Treadmill explores the relativity of happiness to widely accepted “positive” and “negative” events, concluding that even if someone wins the lottery or has astronomical luck in another light, they will always return to a relatively baseline level of happiness (the level of happiness that comes from their original outlook on life itself). In other words, money can’t buy happiness! Even if you keep getting more material wealth or more praise for something, we all continue to have desires. Humans are primarily unappeasable, and this tends to grow exponentially in the seeking of material gains.

What does this have to do with self-esteem, you ask? Well – it’s taken me 22 years to realize this (and I’m always still learning), but happiness does not come from anything “out there” or even anyONE “out there,” but instead from within yourself. It is all about your point of view and how you see every moment of your life. You can either A) envy others, covet things, and feel ashamed of your own self, or you can B) appreciate the beauty of others, appreciate things without the need to have them, and be thankful for who you are. If you take a step back and realize that anything beyond something needed for survival is a man-made desire inflicted on us by social pressures, you see that you really don’t need anything but the bare minimum to actually be happy.

--For example: Many of us see the “glamorous” lives of celebrities and long to live up to standards like having fancy cars and residences, perfect skin and designer clothing, and an action packed social schedule. The thing is, so many of these people are still unhappy, even with those things. If they couldn’t appreciate the things they had when they had nothing, it makes no difference now that they have everything. If you can’t change your thought process from within, nothing can make such people truly happy. It is all about mindset. Do you see a pattern here?

When you see someone else who has something that you want, just know that it is not the object itself that brings that person, or would bring you, happiness. It is the satisfaction that the object brings that you are seeking. If you can learn to find satisfaction in your own life without that object, you will be exactly as happy as you would be with it. This will trail into various aspects of your life, and you can see how satisfaction and happiness actually come from wanting what you already have, not acquiring what you do not have and do not need.


Wanting what you already have is a huge step in relieving self-consciousness and covetousness. (I partially realize this is starting to sound like some kind of religious dogma, but stay with me, omg.).  There is a famous incident recorded by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, in which he is speaking with a close friend who is eating an orange. The friend puts an orange slice in his mouth, starts chewing, and before he finishes his first bite, puts another orange slice in his mouth. In this case, the friend does not take the time to appreciate what he already has, and simply moves on to what he wants next (a new bite). Without appreciation for what we have in front of us, we can easily skip out on our entire lives, and leave what we have already got “on our plates” unacknowledged.

It is easy to think "Well, if I don't have this body, then no one will want me." Which leads to "If no one will want me, then I will be alone." Which leads to "If I am alone, I don't mean anything." Which leads to "If I don't mean anything to someone, my life doesn't matter." We quickly escalate a desire to look a certain way to practically a life or death situation, which is so unrealistic. Even if the worst outcome did actually come true, you would be fine. It is good to have goals, but try not to feel anxiety and hate if you do not have it right away.

Looking at myself, I try to appreciate everything I have in my life, whether it is my physical self, those I love, or the material things around me. I am only human, though, and I have days where I am unappreciative of the people I love, I want things I do not need, and I do not like what I see in the mirror. The best cure though, I have realized, is not to envy envy envy and spend spend spend to fix these problems, but instead to reflect on why I did/do such things and why I am feeling these ways, and try to ameliorate the feelings by telling myself that I am fine where I am and that physical things will only bring me temporary pleasure.

I have been self-conscious about my crooked teeth, my pale skin, monetary instability, not being funny enough at the right moment, not having enough clothes, and on and on and the more things I mention on the list in words, the more I realize that it is all kind of silly. None of these things are putting me in real danger. Our sympathetic nervous systems react with the same stress triggers in having anxiety about social pressures as when, as early humans, we were being chased by animals. See how that is actually pretty ridiculous? We technically feel physically endangered when we feel socially related anxieties.

All in all, I want you to know that being self-conscious and feeling inadequate at times is so normal it’s crazy, so first of all, you don’t need to wonder if a certain person or celebrity has insecurities. I can tell you that yes, they do. (Even if they are cocky, they may be overcompensating!) Just remember that happiness and pleasure come from self-love, appreciating the beauty in everything and everyone, and not from material objects or “having” people or things all to yourself.

Hopefully this all makes sense. We live in a crazy world of human insatiability and I’m just trying to remind you of that! You are beautiful. It is really hard to find someone who isn’t. Love the skin you’re in. –Dove.

51 comments :

  1. are you interested in/are you knowledgeable in any type of mythology? just wondering

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    1. Not really :P Lots of mythology is certainly interesting, but I don't seek it out

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  2. ik this is none of my business but I really look up to you for multiple reasons (i'm not going to get into that0 but as a big fan of dylan I know, and noticed others realized as well, that dylan was with lisa less than a year ago. On her instagram the last photo she tagged him in was 42 weeks ago. And as dylan and yourself posted recently, you've been together for a year. clearly, the times overlap and I was wondering if their was some other reason for that because I really don't want to assume that you and he cheated together. Again, this is not business, but I'm really hoping this isn't the case?

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    1. Not sure what you are talking about, but nonetheless, my relationship is absolutely no one else's business but my own.

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    2. Take no notice! Someone is clearly trying to cause trouble. You keep doing you - I really enjoy reading your blog x

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  3. are you naturally skinny or did you not always have this body type

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    1. I've never been overweight, but I exercise about 3x / week to stay fit. xx

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  4. Happy Anniversary!!! how did you guys meet <3 xx

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  5. I love this post so much.

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  6. Recently discovered your blog - just want to say I think it's fantastic :), especially this post, it really helps put things into perspective, it's just nice to hear that everyone, even someone as pretty as you can have insecurities, I know on some level they do, but it can be hard to think about that when your wrapped up in your own mess. Thanks - looking forward to your next post! :) xx

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  7. I was in search for a blogger to follow who is a down to earth, vegan, chic New Yorker - perfect. Your so spot on with every post. Your so intelligent and captivating. Can't wait to read more xxx

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  8. I really appreciate this post and you articulated your reasoning so well. This is something we as women should always remember. Love your blog, Xx

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  9. Admittedly, I discovered your blog through Dylan's Instagram (I'm sure you hear that a lot!) However, I've been coming back so many times because I love what you write. You're honest and it shows. This post especially talks about things most people (like me) are always always thinking about. I cannot think of one person who has never had one of those days where they just wish they were someone else or had more. Thanks for your kind words and making me and others feel like we are amazing just the way we are (cue that popular Bruno Mars song). Wishing I had a friend like you to go to for advice on life LOL

    Vanessa
    xx

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  10. omg dayna I always see you in Betty draper!!! So odd that you'd choose a picture of her hehe. Any way, lovely post. Very uplifting and realistic! xo

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  11. Dayna, im really glad to read it. Today was not my best and reading it was purifying and inspiring. Thank for being so amazing. About your teeth, when I first saw your pics on Instagram the first thing I felt in love was your teeth. It's so cute and charming. AAAnd I think you kinda look like the girl of "that awkward moment". Xoxo I'm a big fan of you though, I'm mean idk

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  12. Love your teeth! It's gives you so much character and you work it so well!

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    1. aw thank you! some people can be pretty harsh about them on instagram and things, so that's nice of you x

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  13. I really love this insightful post! I myself am still looking for happiness, but I think I'm the closest to it as I ever have been. I love how you stress we are all so self-conscious it is normal. I think you look very very gorgeous. <3

    majatheaztec.blogspot.com

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  14. Thank you so much for this post Dayna

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  15. Best thing I've read on insecurity so far.

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  16. This post was great, just like all your other ones! Whenever I'm having insecurities, be it about appearance or social life or whatever, I go and exercise and it makes me feel so much better! You go in there without makeup on and work your ass off and you feel strong and confident in the end. Speaking of which, I think I saw you at Aerospace once! Do you still go? You should do a post on your work out routine or something, that'd be good! Also you should check out this blogger Ella, www.weneedtolivemore.com. She's all about that vegan life and her posts are so inspiring! Anyway I hope you're doing well and thanks for this post! Keep it up! xx

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    1. I was at aerospace! Haha I went a few times until I had another gym closer to my apartment. I'll check out her blog asap, thank you! xx

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  17. while I agree with everything you posted, and I obviously don't know your struggles, it's very easy for you to adopt the optimistic outlook on life when you're so beautiful and live and work in NYC. If even someone like you, who's a model, who literally has gotten paid for being beautiful, have days where you fall victim to the immense social pressure for 'perfection' and don't like what you see in the mirror and aren't comfortable in your practically flawless skin, imagine what it must be like for someone who society already considers ugly. You embody femininity, grace, beauty and all the cliche 'ideal woman' traits, so it's very easy for you to say that love, acceptance and beauty come from within, because for you, they come from society too. I agree wholeheartedly with what you said, but I think it's over simplified. If we loved ourselves for ourselves it would definitely be easier to overcome the obstacles that being ugly, fat, black and poor puts in our lives, but i think these issues and all that they accompany are far more complex than a mere 'mind over matter' thing

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    1. You are absolutely right to point this out. I am in no way going to say it is easy to simply say "poof! mind over matter! done." I'm just trying to say that the standards that are set by society shouldn't entirely guide us in deciding what we think of ourselves. it's very hard, but just know that no one feels perfect. i certainly don't. having a lot of instagram followers has not made me any more happy than when i was poor at home (very) or working in a restaurant when i first got to the city. I was happy then because i just learned to appreciate what little i had, and I'm happy now because i can appreciate the bit more that i have acquired for myself. The whole point is to not compare yourself to others, but yes it is going to be harder when others compare YOU to themselves in a negative way. The artificialities of society are all man made, and thinking of that just makes things a tiny bit easier to handle. I am not claiming I know the cure to anyone's insecurities, I just want to remind people that everyone is inevitably going to experience them in the superficial and unappeasable world we live in. I am no authority on alleviating or relating to the self-consciousness of others, but I'm just offering my opinion on why it happens.

      Thanks for your response x

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    2. Dayna, I love this post, especially since I have had experience in this matter. I also have been picked on all my life for my teeth, the way my ears stuck out and how I had a lisp. I went to great lengths such as braces, speech therapy, and even had plastic surgery to get my ears fixed to stop the bullying. Now that I think about it, it doesn't make me any more happier doing this. I still feel the same overall happiness and should have just learned to love me. So thank you for this post cause it reminds me how we're supposed to have imperfections, that's what makes us, us. Also you are absolutely beautiful the way you are! Do not let people tell you that you're not. We're all our own little perfections. x

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  18. Dayna can you post something regarding the music you listen to???? Or just comment with some music you're into ! I would love some music recommendations from you!

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  19. I love how open minded you are and you have a great style of writing. It's strange to think about how you can look at someone and find them so beautiful yet under the same light they can feel so uncomfortable. For example I think you're teeth make you, you. They're edgy and you really rock them... they honestly look great. Thanks for this post xx

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    1. You're so welcome! glad you liked it!!

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  20. Dayna- I love your blog but really haven't commented until now. This post was incredibly inspiring. Lately I have been very insecure about most aspects of my life- this post could not have been more relevant. Thank you so much for taking the time to write your thoughts down, they have inspired me so much and shown me a new perspective that may lead to a greater sense of self acceptance.

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    1. I'm so glad it was helpful! Thank you for commenting xx

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  21. Hey Danya! This is a little off topic but do you think you could do a post about moving to New York, your motivation, experience, ect. I am considering applying to college in New York and would really enjoy to hear your experience. Thanks so much and love your blog!

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    1. Sure :) I did write a little about that in January or December, so take a look :) I'll think of more things related to talk about though x

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  22. Dayna, I would love to hear about your experience in moving to New York as well! As I saw someone commented that too. much love xx

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    1. Sure! I have something like it written from Jan/Dec though if you take a look

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  23. Off topic, obviously, but I just saw your newest Instagram post and I was wondering what you use to add volume to your hair?

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    1. Just Suave hairspray and scrunch and shake a lot :)

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  24. Whatt? You met your boyfriend at a flea market? Can you please tell us that story. I can't even pick a guy up at a party. Please give me tips!

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  25. Wonderful... breakfast at tiffanys epitomises this so well I think, miss Golightly is certainly driven by self insecurities towards the wealthy "rats". I also think this is reminiscent of palais fight club. It has a strong message About consumerism and the self even though at times it can be paradoxical. Where do you get your inspiration/knowledge from?

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  26. You're a wonderful lady. This post has motivated me to have a healthier outlook and I just thought I should acknowledge my appreciation. So, thank you!

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  27. Love love love this. You are so well articulated and your writing just flows so perfectly, I hope to get to your skill level one day! I am currently 17 and you exude everything I want for myself in the next 5 years. You inspire me to better my life & think of the world in a more positive light with everything you post about. Would you mind talking about your exercise regime in detail? Also please keep it coming with the vegan recipes because the I tried the chocolate peanutbutting putting/coconut whipped cream recipe you blogged about awhile back and it was ah-ma-zing!!!! Being vegan is hard sometimes so I need all the help I can get! Again, thanks so much for this blog because it has really bettered my life and many others lives as well.
    P.S- Your teeth compliment you, whoever goes out of your way to pick at your insecuries are drowing im jealously and lacking in self security!

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  28. Love love love this. You are so well articulated and your writing just flows so perfectly, I hope to get to your skill level one day! I am currently 17 and you exude everything I want for myself in the next 5 years. You inspire me to better my life & think of the world in a more positive light with everything you post about. Would you mind talking about your exercise regime in detail? Also please keep it coming with the vegan recipes because the I tried the chocolate peanutbutting putting/coconut whipped cream recipe you blogged about awhile back and it was ah-ma-zing!!!! Being vegan is hard sometimes so I need all the help I can get! Again, thanks so much for this blog because it has really bettered my life and many others lives as well.
    P.S- Your teeth compliment you, whoever goes out of your way to pick at your insecuries are drowing im jealously and lacking in self security!

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  29. Sometimes, when I'm being really silly, I will do this thing where if I see a pretty girl who happens to have straight teeth I think, "She is pretty BECAUSE she has straight teeth, which means I am not pretty because I don't have straight teeth..." and so on. Luckily the feeling is fleeting and I can reason through it easily. :)

    Another thing I do though, which is quite helpful, is when I come across a wonderful woman that happens to have crooked teeth like my own, I remind myself how their teeth are never an exception to the beauty I see in them, so why would I think that about myself? It is reassuring! We're quite hard on ourselves sometimes those realizations are nice.

    You are one of the lovely women I adore that just so happen to have crooked teeth. I love when you smile, and it makes me feel like a dweeb for ever being hesitant about my own. So I have been doing it more recently. :)

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By Dayna Frazer

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