Beth: Self-Acceptance is a Journey, not an Image.

Beth is a beauty blogger, content creator, and Lupus advocate from Yorkshire, England

“I have a red butterfly rash across my face that comes from Lupus. I have a type of Lupus called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Having Lupus SLE makes my joints swell, and because the skin is the largest organ, it attacks it and makes a big, red butterfly rash on my face. It comes across the bridge of my nose and onto my cheeks in a butterfly formation.”

Beth shares her journey with self-love and self-image whilst having Lupus.

“Depending on the day, I’m skin positive. I’m not going to pretend like I’m confident all of the time when I’m not. So, most days, I’m skin neutral or body neutral. I say skin neutral because I’m not going to mandate myself or others to be proud of their skin if that’s not where they’re at right now. That can be toxic and invalidating. It’s okay to not always feel good. And when you try and force someone to feel good about themselves, you invalidate them. The last thing that I would want to do is invalidate someone else’s experience. People know themselves, and how they’re feeling better than I do. That’s why I love the idea of continuing to champion someone even if they’re feeling their worst. When we don’t like the body that we exist in, we still need to be lifted up, and it’s so important that we listen to other people’s feelings.”

“For example, not everyone understands Lupus. And when people who don’t understand my journey tell me to be okay with it, that doesn’t sit right with me. There are so many different hoops that I had to jump through before I became okay with having Lupus. When I was 18, I started getting symptoms of lupus. At that point, my whole world changed because I went from looking at myself with clear skin to being like - “what’s this on my face?” When I was 21, I started posting on Instagram again. It took that much time for me to accept the changes that were happening to my body. Even to this day, I sometimes don’t accept that my skin has changed. As humans, sometimes self-acceptance goes back and forth. Some days, I’m really confident, and then other days I’m like - “hey, this is what my face looks like...I don’t know what to tell you.”

I 100% believe that you should strive to be okay with yourself, but we should always allow ourselves to tap into and explore our feelings even if they’re negative. Growing up, I always felt bad about crying growing up because I thought crying wasn’t a positive thing. However, over time I’ve learned that while I can mask my sadness by pretending I’m happy, I have to address how I really feel in order to unlock true happiness and self-acceptance. I’ve learned that valuing my journey to happiness and self-acceptance is essential as well. Moreover, self-acceptance is about so much more than accepting you’re physical appearance. Being a kind person and believing that I have good intentions is so much more important than my body.

Beth explains how this realization helped create her platform.

“That’s why I started Beth Does Beauty. No one really talks about it, so I wanted to talk about issues of appearance and self-acceptance. I also wanted to show that there’s more than one way to talk about these issues. When it comes to confidence, we should encourage of range of emotions on the topic. I wanted to open up a dialogue on social media that included everyone’s feelings because people shouldn’t feel alone.”

“Diversity is a beautiful thing on social media. You can reach so many different people on social media, but at the same time, social media can also be really toxic and filled with comparisons. With social media, I worry how everyone’s mental health will suffer, especially young people.”

“If social media was toxic when I was 16, what does life look like for teenagers now? I’m 26, so I grew up in the age of social media too, but it wasn’t the way it is now. When I was in secondary school, I was constantly on Facebook scrolling through my phone. I saw all of these trends that demonstrated how I was supposed to look. I would have bouts of depression because I didn’t look like the celebrities I liked. I literally looked like no one. I’m a plus-sized woman, which I was bullied horrifically for at the time. While I’ve made peace with my body now, people would tell me that it was wrong or that it was ugly when I was growing up. Airbrushed images only seemed to confirm the negativity coming from others, and that deeply affected me psychologically.

"On the other hand, I understand that some people want to airbrush and photoshop their photos to get through the day, so we shouldn't judge everyone.We don’t know what a person is going through internally. When it comes to filters and stuff like this, these situations need to be assessed person-by-person. When it comes down to it, we have to be careful about judging people, and we just need to know that regardless of what we see on someone’s Instagram, perfection is unattainable. We shouldn’t worry about meeting perfection anyways because the goal post of perfection is always moving. There’s not a permanent or timeless definition of what people think looks perfect or beautiful. Beauty is such a broad spectrum, and therefore a fixed idea of perfection is very confusing and toxic. Anyways, our bodies are not meant to be perfect. They are a vessel to get us by, and we need to be kind to it. We can’t control the body we’ve been born into so it’s important to appreciate our journey with it.