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My ‘Glow Up’ Will Look Different This Year - Aley Arion

Everyone loves a good before and after.

In the age of social media, documented shifts in weight, facial blemishes, hair length, and even follower count have become the only social proof of “true” progress. But there isn’t always a grand reveal in real life. Sometimes the most authentic glow-up you can have is inward.

That’s why my “glow up" is going to look a little different this year…

Glow up from toxic beauty standards.

Thanks to “Manifestation Tok” and Pinterest mood boards, there’s been an onslaught of messaging to become the “best version of yourself” through 30-day challenges that reduce us to projects that have to be constantly worked on, perfected and curated. But we are not DIY projects. And growth isn’t always documentable. When you decide to make steps towards becoming a better you, allow yourself the space to make those changes not for the gaze of others, but because you want to make yourself proud.

Glow up from old ways of thinking.

One way to be kinder to ourselves starts with how we think about ourselves. At times, the dialogue of our inner critic can be louder than that of a loving and patient voice that tells us it’s okay if we don’t always get things right on first attempt. Glowing up from toxic mental loops that put you in a funk is one of the best ways to let your inner light shine. Practice mantras that affirm you in difficult moments and give you a mental hug.

Glow up by accepting a softer life.

As Black women, many of us have been conditioned to think that we have to “do it all” and “be everything” to everyone. But that trope can affect our mental health and cause us to isolate. Give yourself permission to ask for help. Know that you don’t have to carry everything on your own. Allow yourself to receive the support of others who want to pour into you and fill your cup up before it gets half empty. Living a softer life means putting down the baggage that weighs you down and accepting the help that you deserve.

Glow up by taking time to rest.

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you can’t out grind capitalism. For that reason alone, it’s important to prioritize rest in a way that fits your needs, time, and capacity. For some, that can be as simple as scheduling a nap every day. For others, that could be turning off all distractions, saying “no”, or tapping into your hobbies. It takes practice to recognize what your body, mind and soul needs in stressful moments, but overtime, you’ll hold the fact that rest is something we deserve, and don’t have to earn.

Glow up by giving yourself grace.

Perfection is a construct. There will be times when we might fall short, miss a day, or need to take a break. In those moments, look into what you need from the perspective of self-kindness, as opposed to an eye of scrutiny. Monitor your progress through thoughtful journaling and focus on the moments when you did show up for yourself. “Glow Up” culture would tell us that we need to have a perfect track sheet, but your future self will be result of how you tended to your present self, today. 

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