Whether we like to admit or not, beyond the limits of social media that is, the practice to love yourself is easier said than done. As we go through our own pace and process, Romarie Fonseca, Jeska Sta. Teresa, and Issa Pressman walk us through their stories of self-worth.
The message is clear: love yourself, harder even. However, no matter how much we see it or speak of it whenever we possibly can, sustaining this mantra is easier said than done. While there is certainly no lack of awareness, especially at a time when we are trying to consciously unlearn the unhealthy ways of the past, it still proves to be difficult to put into action. No amount of well-produced quote posts on Instagram or stories of affirmation and assurance published by the second on TikTok can fill the gaps in a person in terms of self-worth. Heck, real life is one thing, but on social media? Whether we like to admit it or not, being kind to oneself and yes, others is increasingly and exponentially difficult to navigate.
A struggle if there was ever one, everyday becomes a point of contention to chip away at what has hardened us by circumstance. In as much as it would make the dialogue in our head less anxious and stressed out, it isn’t a mere matter of willing things to change or shift for you. As we have come to learn, to love yourself is a journey—a painstaking but nonetheless progressive pace that ultimately reveals your better, if not best self.
Love Yourself Harder
No, we’re not saying that you should live a life of misguided positivity, because that isn’t healthy, too. Oversimplifying the process as just this or that, subscribing to the didactic dictates and baffling biases of an archaic time isn’t a means to love yourself. What is important here is to really respect and honor your body, mind, heart, and soul above everyone and everything else, no matter how conditioned we are to do otherwise.
An ever growing, dynamic, and all too important conversation, the process and promise to love yourself is one that everyone should get in on beyond just the surface level. Especially now when mental health is ultimately challenged and pushed to its human limits, it is imperative we dig deeper, no matter how uncomfortable it gets. We all operate on persisting preferences and preconceived perceptions that do more harm than good. And it’s time that changes.
Moving forward in spaces that continue to be obsessed with and frankly, held back by labels, we meet three inspiring and irreverent individuals who would rather go against the current of perfection that subscribe to the stereotypes of society. Challenging assumptions and anxiety, these young women are a lesson in how to really love yourself. Baring their bruises in as much as their beauty, Romarie Fonseca, Jeska Sta. Teresa, and Issa Pressman are pushing through the perception and encouraging you to look closer. In this story of paradigm progression, they are defining themselves for who they are and not the other way around.
You According To You
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“I get told that I am both too much and too little; too big and too small; too light and too dark; too confident and too timid,” these are the things that Jeska Sta. Teresa has been called and convinced to be by the rest of the world. Despite being made to feel like an outcast or an outsider, the mid-sized model and founder of Halubilo, a community organization of empowerment and care focused on mother figures and their children in response to the COVID-19 crisis, she decided early on to accept that no matter where she was, fitting in would not be an option.
Similarly, although a lot more introspective, there is a sense of wonder that belies a self-confessed fragility with the freckled beauty, Romarie Fonseca. In her journey, she has learned to accept compliments, thereby opening herself up to be loved. “Honestly, my insecurity was always my skin,” she declares. “But now, I can confidently show my skin as a unique person.” This way, she gets to be the inspiration she wants to be, especially at a time when many are unkind to themselves.
For Issa Pressman, whether it be a change in her hair or a more introspective shift in the process of maturity, she is always moving forward, one step at a time. Realizing what is important to her early on, this intimate course of cleansing and care is a manifestation of the value for self-love. To love yourself, she says, “You gotta know who you are taking care of to be able to give the right care you need…Change the way you receive, process, and react to things. Be wise. BREATHE. Keep creating. Keep giving.”
Bare and beautiful, this is decidedly and definitively who Romarie, Jeska, and Issa are. Without the punishing perceptions that do more harm than good, this is their point of clarity. Liberated and living their truth, they are encouraging the good change, compelling an attitude to love yourself harder, no ifs and buts. This is who they are, world—raw, riveting and real.
How do you react to how the world sees you?
Issa: I actually don’t know how the world sees me, wouldn’t wanna know actually. I think being conscious on how people see you is already a limitation in being able to show who you are. It proves that what they think matters, that then will keep your mind distracted on either maintaining or avoiding that pre conceived notion about you instead of just naturally being you. Uninfluenced by anything around.
To each person, we’re someone else, how you know yourself, will always be different from how another person knows you. At the end of each day, you gotta be true to YOU. And yes, I think we get called a bunch of things. If it’s constructive and for the better, I learn from it. If it means nothing but harm, it comes in one ear and goes out the other. You can call me anything, I’m in control how I take it (or not take it at all) just don’t call me too early in the morning…because I’ll be meditating.
Jeska: I’ve developed a general sense of anxiousness, in response to a society that can’t keep their damaging opinions to themselves. I was constantly insecure that I might do absolutely anything wrong. I was so insecure that at some point I felt like my existence was the flaw.. which slowly turned into “maybe thinking that way is the only flaw” I wholeheartedly disagree in perceiving natural human variations as “flawed.”
Instead the fact that its a common way of thinking is the flaw, it is holding us back and we need to fix that. We must remember to embrace diversity and remember that it’s essential to life and existence.
Romarie: I think the world see me as a inspiration and confident person. I assumed they will called me as their inspiration because I want to be inspiration to something especially to their insecurities. Yes, Honestly my insecurities is always my skin, but now i confidently show my skin as a unique person. I used to hate my skin but some people tell me i am pretty, and i’m pretty sure that i am especially my family.
How do you love yourself harder?
Issa: You gotta know who you are taking care of to be able to give the right care you need. I only found out how to love myself when I found myself… and that only happened when I started from with in. Give yourself what you need. It’s one thing to spoil yourself with tangible things, but those are wants and that’s fine, but you need to give time and attention to your well being.
There are so many ways to be more in tuned with your mind and body. Find which one works best for you and practice it. Build up good habits. Wake up an hour or two earlier for things you wanna do. Stay as close as you can to nature. Change the way you receive, process & react to things. Be wise. BREATHE. Keep creating. Keep giving. Remember find that love inside, so you can send it outwards and keep loving.
Jeska: I learn to take care of myself as much as I would somebody else. Patience, deep connection, and understanding is what I’d wish upon anybody and anything. Exploration and discovery fosters grows and familiarity and we learn to love what’s familiar. The more I get to know myself and the world around me, the more I learn to love and embrace it.
Romarie: Self-love is most important nowadays. I love myself harder I think when I accept some compliments and the confidence from it is to make myself loved. Now, I love my skin because my skin gives me some confidence to be true to myself and when I am true to myself, I am happy. I feel so grateful…I feel so pretty in my skin.
Who are you as defined by only you?
Issa: Just myself. Ever growing, always learning.
Jeska: I’m whoever I believe to be at the moment. I am multi-dimensional, I am more than any identity, more than any label. I am mindful, I am growing, and I’m someone who minds her business and knows how to respect boundaries. I am different and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Romarie: I am a fragile girl, as well as I am genuine to everyone.