The Social Template

As I’m infinitely exposed to beauty standards on almost every possible media outlet, I can’t help but remind myself: I used to be a size 3! Given that I’ve been drifting sizes all my life, size 3 serves as the template I want to work towards. To me, it best resembles what beauty should look like according to the social standard.

Striving to become an ideal self can be a difficult task, even more so when social templates are standards made available for us to work towards.

When it comes to crafting our better selves, years of social reinforcement can pressure us to live according to the maddening standards of human excellence. Often, the standard may become something that we are not particularly fond of, yet we find ourselves forced to pursue it in order to avoid social discomfort. It reinforces the manufactured belief that we ought to pursue these precise ideals and strive towards a potentially flawless social existence. That is, we are supposed to shape our lives according to a standard and follow it mercilessly to become part of a successful social community.

As an undergraduate student, I quite often find myself overwhelmed by the particular ideal standards that a person of my age, race, and gender should personify, which represent the standard I need to work towards.

Often, we may seek social templates, however, some of us have mistakenly let ourselves be molded by unrealistic expectations be it career, body image, relationships, or social media for so long that when it comes to challenging such standards and letting our true selves surface, it will not come that easy. Personally, I let the standard mold my identity and allowed others to define me for so long that who I really was remained hidden for many years under this layering of social identities.

Within the journey of defining who we are and what we will ultimately stand for, comes drafting, editing, and removing unnecessary social layering.

Currently, the template that I’m working on is what I THINK should be MY IDEAL SELF. In the process, I’ve realized that it may not necessarily fit the standard- and for many of us accepting that will not be attained that easily–but that is okay too. Every single person is different and redefining the standards themselves will take time, but it’s definitely worth it.

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