Ending the pursuit of perfection | Iskra Lawrence | TEDxUniversityofNevada

Reviewer: Riaki Poništ It’s funny because my speech
actually starts with: “We have a problem.” We nearly did, because I just had hiccups
and they were quite violent, so luckily we’re all good now,
so I can start. We do have a problem though, and that is, the most important relationship
we have in our lives is the one we have with ourselves
and we are not taught about it. I want to challenge you to think about if we were taught how to look
after ourselves using self-care, could we help enrich our lives,
make us happier, combat our insecurities and enable us
to reach our full potential? For example, have you
ever blamed your body? “Oh my god, that dress is so cute!” “I can’t wear it, I’d have rolls.” “I know why he didn’t call me back. It’s because I put on
ten pounds last week. Damn those burittos!” (Laughter) The thing is, body image is often associated
with teenage girls. But in fact, men and boys
are affected too. Eating disorders and mental health
can affect anyone at any age, at any time. And that’s why this is so important to me and why we are here today
connecting with you all. So many guys now are going to the gym
and they’re even abusing steroids, because maybe their selfies
would get more likes if they had a six pack of abs, not beer. (Laughter) I know that when I was younger,
I would look in that mirror every single day,
and hate what I saw. “Why don’t I have a thigh gap?” “Why does it look like
this thigh ate the other one?” (Laughter) “Ugh, more pimples?
Are you kidding me?” “I hate myself.” And that’s so sad, because I can’t get those years back of self-loathing,
calorie obsession, and jealousy. So I decided to use those
experiences that I’ve had, to gain a better understanding
of the relationship I have with my body and myself. And by practicing self-care,
I was able to change my life. I hope, today, I can encourage you all,
If you haven’t already started, to start that journey of self-love. It’s crazy these days. We have so many pressures,
and now we have social media. With the rise of social media,
we literary have a weapon of mass destruction
to our self-esteem 24/7. You guys, you consume social media. Have you ever lost one, two,
maybe even three hours of your life, deep in someone’s profile? Yeah? Thinking, “Oh, wow, look,
they’re so in love.” “Oh, they’re going to all these
amazing holidays!” “They have the dream job!
They have this perfect life!” “Why isn’t my life like that?” The scary thing is, that’s not real. Social media is a curated,
filtered, often airbrushed, and sometimes even lifestyle illusion. That’s why we need to be taught about it. That is why we need
to be taught how to cope with these pressures in schools. And it’s become my mission,
to teach self-care and get it into the education system. Because we need to be taught
how to look after ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally. I’m very grateful; I have
over three million followers online and I commit to being authentic,
honest with them, and not retouching my pictures that I own,
because I have to forgive myself. I’ve been in the industry for 13 years. And I would get images back of myself that my family couldn’t even recognize me
when they flipped through the magazine. Literally couldn’t find me! I would look at these pictures and think, “Oh, wow! Where did half of my arms go?
My legs are so much skinnier!” “I’ve got zero flaws.” “Is that how I’m meant to look?” “I’m meant to be that perfected image?” “Wow! Well, I can’t even
look like that and that’s me!” That’s wrong! So, why is it that we feel
these insecurities in the first place? Because from a very young age,
we’ve been conditioned to believe that our success and our happiness
is highly dependent on our attractiveness. Think about all the prince
and princesses you saw: slim, toned, tall, proportional features. The magazines – and celebrating severe
weight loss that’s actually unhealthy. Or those who have been nipped
and tucked to look 20 years younger. Because if we are insecure,
we are a motivated consumer. We can be sold an anti-wrinkle
cream by a 13 year old, a push-up bra that looks
absolutely ridiculous, because I’ve been on set years ago,
where they were actually wearing a bra under the bra to give
unattainable cleavage. (Laughter) Yeah, that happens, so do butt-pads. The butt-pads are in all those
jean adverts you see, just saying. (Laughter) And I recently was trained by the National Eating Disorders
Association of the US, whom I’m an ambassador for,
in something called “The Body Project.” It’s the first
scientifically-proven course to help prevent eating disorders
in young people. It’s just four one-hour sessions, the impact on these pupils
was outstanding, and it confirmed to me
that we need to be talking about this. So I thought I’d shared with you
some of that today. The main concept we teach
is the “beauty ideal myth.” We get all the kids to have magazines
and they pick out the perfect body We then break it down for them. “OK, so what’s the perfect body then?” “Well, it’s tall, big boobs, small waist, or it’s ridiculous abs,
it’s a tan, straight hair, no flaws.” “Is that real?” “No.” “Is that achievable?” “No.” So what are the sacrifices and costs
for you to try and attain this? It’s so detrimental to your mental
and physical health. And guess what? Who wins from this battle? The brands, the magazines,
the pharmaceutical industry. And who loses? We lose! So, we need to embrace
our bodies for more than that. We need to stop trying
to attain perfection, because we are good enough already. If we could start redefining
the beauty ideal, imagine celebrating
someone’s achievements, their accomplishments, their personality,
their morals and their values. To me that’s beautiful. I recently was challenged
to get three women, who would have refused
to ever be in a bikini, to go in a bikini, live on national TV,
in front of three million people and on the streets of London
in front of crowds. These were women who –
I generally talk to kind of school kids – they were older. There was a lady in her 70s, who had recently lost
her partner and had excess skin. There was another lady, who was a mother
and she’d had an eating disorder and really struggled
with body image her whole life. The other woman had been horrifically
body-shamed by an ex-partner. So, we go backstage and I’m like,
“OK, I hope I can do this.” They call me and they’re like, “Iskra, you need to get
in the changing room right now. They are all breaking down.” Well, no wonder! They stuck three women in a room
with one mirror and five bikinis and said, “You must choose one of these
and you’re going to go out there in it.” Come on, that’s a lot of pressure. So, I went in there and taught them one of my biggest areas of self-care,
which I call my “mirror challenge.” Initially, they’re standing
in that mirror; the first thing they do – and I’m sure many of you do as well –
is see your insecurities. We need to change that discussion. So, I get them in front of the mirror
in their bikinis, and I tell them, “Pick out five things
that you love about yourself.” I gave them a few examples
and they started. “Well, I’m the life of the party.” “I’m an amazing friend.” “I’m creative, I’m independent,
I’m hard-working, I’m courageous.” Then they started thinking,
“Ooh, I’m pretty cool!” They started feeling proud of themselves. Then I told them,
“Now, pick out five things that you love about your body
for what it does for you.” Because we want to change that discussion,
not just about what your body looks like. Your body is an incredible thing. So, they started saying …
it was so inspiring for me as well. because you never know
what people are going to come up with. One woman said, “These stretch marks, even though I’m really insecure
about them, they enabled me. This stomach enabled me
to birth my children, and now I have grandchildren,
and that’s the best part of my life.” Another woman said,
“I’m grateful for these hands, because I was able to be a seamstress,
and provide for my whole family.” The last woman said, “Well, I love my legs because I love running
through the English countryside; it calms me down,
and it’s what makes me happy.” These women were smiling. They felt value. They were so proud of themselves. I then proceeded to tell them that not only is it going
to change their life, being able to embrace their bodies,
and go out there and be confident, but the women and men at home,
who feel just the way they did, it’s going to help them too. For them to stand up there
and be able to do it, it’s hopefully going
to empower them as well. I still didn’t 100 percent know
if they were going to do it, but we go out there,
right by the Thames in London, and sure enough,
all three dropped their robes. There was tears; there was hugging, two of the women didn’t even
put their robes back on. They went all the way straight
through the TV show, back up to the dressing room, were like, “Well, here I am now,
I’m doing it, so I’m not going back!” (Laughter) It was life changing. I never felt so purposeful,
so filled with hope. That’s why I’m so excited
to be here with you today to share those stories. That’s one of my main ways
that I practice self-care. The next one is called “a gratitude list.” I have an example;
I had to use it not that long ago, I was in LA with my boyfriend,
and we went shopping. We went to the store, and I saw
these gorgeous designer jeans, and I was like,
“OK, I’m going to treat myself.” So, the store associate said,
“What size are you?” I said, “Hmm, like a 12. I don’t know
what that is, maybe a 31.” And she goes, “Well, the biggest
size we have is this one, and it’s a 29, but it’s so stretchy. It’s definitely going to fit.
Everyone fits in it.” So I was like, “OK.” I go in the changing room,
which is the worst place in the world. A: It’s claustrophobic as hell,
it’s usually hot, the lighting is from above,
the mirror is just awful, and then it feels like
your inner demons are there waiting to pounce on you. (Laughter) So, I’m in there with these jeans
and it’s like me against the jeans. And I’m there, and I’m like,
“OK, it’s not going well.” Then she’s shouting in,
“I bet they look so good!” I’m like, “Not yet! Getting there!” (Laughter) And I kind of got to here, and I was like, “Iskra, you just have to give up.” And that’s when it hit. I broke. That 15-year-old me came back and said, “You’re unworthy of being in these jeans. “You’re too big. What’s wrong with you?” “Why can’t you fit into the biggest
pair of jeans in the store?” That’s when I was like, “Come on, Iskra, come on!
Use that self-care, go, go, go!” I brought out my gratitude list. I want you all to start your own
right now, tonight. Because it saved me in that moment. “Wow, OK, I’m on holiday;
I have a real boyfriend, who loves me at this size,
so clearly, that’s good.” (Laughter) “I’m in LA, I’m from England,
that’s awesome.” “I’m healthy, I’m alive,
I have clean water.” And then I started to think,
“What the hell? These jeans right here,
this piece of fabric is trying to break me right now. These are not going to ruin my day. I refuse, flat out refuse to let this
ruin how I feel about myself.” So I used that self-care, that knowledge;
thank god I had that. because otherwise, I would have
gone out there, a blubbering mess, and my boyfriend would ask,
“What’s wrong with you?” That is my other piece
of self-care I’m giving to you. If we go back, the reason
why this can seem shallow to some maybe, but is actually really important, is because there is some
shocking statistics out there. Did you know, as a teenage girl, you are 12 times more likely
to die from an eating disorder, than any other illness? That there are over 30 million of us, in the US alone,
that have an eating disorder. And that 90% from all children
who die from suicide have a mental health condition. As I mentioned earlier,
social media is only growing. The pressure’s only getting worse. And 52% of US teens now say
they have been cyber-bullied. I have experienced, first-hand,
hate online, trolling online. We also need to talk about that.
That to me is also part of self-care. Because the bullies are just putting their insecurities
that they have onto you. I know that when someone says something
nasty about me, it’s a reflection of how they are feeling inside. But we need to educate people,
educate the victims and the bullies, so that this stops happening. One way I like to do it is:
ignore it, report it, block it, delete it, act like it never happened. But I found another cool way. I recently got a comment,
and for me, it was hysterical, but a few of my followers
got really upset about it, because they said, “You’re the reason
that the healthcare system is a mess. You need to put down your McDonald’s
and stop eating crisps.” How ridiculous is that? I happen to be on set in my underwear,
doing a shoot with crisps around me, and I thought, “Hmm, this seems like a good opportunity
to show them what I’m made of.” So, I decided to do a picture of me
covered in crisps, eating the crisps, as in “F-U,” like “Hell no! Are you going
to bring me down? I’m going to keep eating crisps
even more now actually, I really really like crisps now.” Because … (Laughter) I wanted to empower myself. I wanted to be able to use
something that was negative and turn it into a positive. Sure enough, I think that video
got like 18 million views or something because that’s what we want to see;
we want to build each other up. We want to empower each other. I’m so grateful I’ve been here today,
and been able to connect with you all, because I want to encourage
every single one of you to invest in yourself right now. I want you to understand
that if you learn self-care, practice self-care,
you can then gift self-care. Imagine being able to give
your loved ones the gift of self-love. Speak to your body in a loving way. It’s the only one you’ve got, it’s your home,
and it deserves your respect. If you see anyone tearing
themselves down, build them back up. And watch your life positively grow when you give up
the pursuit of perfection. Because the real beauty ideal
is being imperfectly you. Thank you so much, everybody. (Laughter) Thank you. (Cheers) (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Ending the pursuit of perfection | Iskra Lawrence | TEDxUniversityofNevada

  1. I agree. Schools should be teaching kids to have a self positive image and a healthy mind at least once a week. Positivity changes the world.

  2. If the largest size of jeans they have only fits a 29 inch waist… they are NOT catering to a large customer base 🙄🤦🏻‍♀️

  3. I'm crying right now because I do blame my physical appearance. Like I always questions myself why I am small, I'm 23 y/o but I'm 4'9", why I have this kind of face, I look like a 17 y/o little girl, I wanna be a teacher but my height, my face, my blah blah don't fit for what i wanna be, what am i gonna do??

  4. Thank you for showing your concern madam. If we, the True and Eternal Collective, as a part of the Father, could be taught the truth about who we really are, the beauty and potential within each of us would shine forth as a unique beacon in the darkness. We need only look within ourselves for our true seat of potential and live as we know we should. There is only one truth upon which to focus….love, light, and life. We need not be held captive audience to specific manners of thinking but embrace the uniqueness and individuality of our Divine spark inside each of us

  5. I had to repost Art altmans Quote from Iskras ted talk "If we are insecure, we are a motivated consumer." 9 words to make one of the truest statement ive heard in a long time

  6. Your amazing Iskra. We need more people like you in the world and on the internet. 😊Keep going girl. I

  7. Your way of inspiration is too much fabulous👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

  8. Lewrence soyadını görünce bu işin içinde bir iş var diye hemen düşündüm. Bu kadın İngiltere'ye bağlı resmi bir kurumun bir Projesi. Kadın konuşmasında ilaç şirketleri gıda ürünlerini zengin edersiniz bu şekilde bilmem ne ama kendisi bu makyaj malzemesinin ilaç şirketlerinin yiyeceklerinin reklamını yapıyor. Zenci biriyle birlikte oluyor. Zencilere karşı beyazların ön yargılarının kırılması için böyle davranıyor. Zencilerle beyazlar arasında Abd'de Avrupa'da halen problemler var. Siker geçerim. Bununla fazla muhabbet edilmez. Cebimde telefon cüzdan olmadan siker geçirim tehlikeli bunlar.

  9. THANKYOU SOO MUCH….you made me realize that I don't need to stop eating chocolates because I'm already fit and perfect..❤

  10. beauty is in the features. Her face is perfect, I wouldn't care about my body and being a little bit overweight if I had her face. Furthermore, you can lose your weight but you can't change your face. Sad truth.

  11. Lol it's almost like Brad Pitt talking about his struggles with looks and rejection! Lmao can someone not good looking talk about insecurities and such!

  12. I'm sorry but im pretty cynical about Iskra. In my view she wasn't able to make it as a regular sized model and noticed that plus-size was a space she could be a success in. She doest represent 99% of women.

  13. I needed this I remember my mom use to say my chest was to big and people in high school use to call me totty boy. So happy someone is talking about body image issues .

  14. Great 👌👌👌👌👌🙏😊😇⚡ mam👍👍👍👍👏🙏👌✌️😇😊👩‍❤️‍👩

  15. So you ended the persuit of perfection………….by wearing a shitload of Makeup, high heels, hair products!!!!!!!


  16. This is awesome! 💕First step to accepting yourself is stop comparing yourself to others, do you. Love yourself, most people have struggled with this at some point in their life x

  17. I love myself. I workout and eat (somewhat) healthy out of respect for myself, not to impress people. 💗

  18. I know that I am beautiful. Growing up with Slavic heritage in North America I had to quickly embrace my giant jaw, thick thighs, husky build and narrow eyes. Beauty is subjective and relative.

  19. Interesting a modelos talking about her body.Yes is very importantes accept our body Sometimes I don't like my body

  20. 90% of children that die of suicide have a mental health condition? I would say it’s a 100% and therefore not really worth mentioning. Other than that, her speech was great

  21. this city-mouse says;
    Civilization is very stressful…Self care starts with unplugging from it without going broke (you still need to buy stuff), or missing being with friends and relatives. Keep everything else simple & on your own time. To ward off regret now that i'm 58, i plan on RV'ing 24/7, near casino buffets the day I retire.

  22. Nice thing about sec guard. I get paid to think about me myself and I for hours on end. After 15 years I have two voices that discuss the day's issues politely together. One is the devil's advocate, the other whines about errands and issues. By the end of my shift I know what I am going to be doing when I go home and am organized in the head so i can relax on youtube.

  23. But her body is perfect. Like im insecure about being skinny and nobody recognizes that it’s valid. I would kill for that body. She’s beautiful

  24. I honestly have no words to describe what she is doing, I feel very proud of you, I wish there were more people like that in today's world, she is an angel. and at the same time the strongest and most determined woman I've ever seen, I admire you very much iskra! and you are very pretty, god bless you never change

  25. She's one of the most beautiful, charismatic models on the internet. But I have to say, when I hear her speak, it strikes me as the same old regurgitated Instagram/selfie culture, "love yourself" drivel that pervades social media and Millennial culture. — Yes, it's important to have confidence and a good self image. But this generation is obsessed with self-love, sometimes, seemingly, to the exclusion of connection with others, hence their inability to grasp classical knowledge and hear constructive feedback from external voices and possess an understanding of the self as it fits into a much larger picture. — So when I want to be dazzled with beauty, I'll check out Iskra. But when I'm seeking wisdom, I'll check out Eckhart Tolle, Rumi, Taoism, Buddhism, and the great Sufi poets.

  26. Iskra's speech reminded me of my aunt's words decades ago before she passed away " Girls what are you doing with that weight scale? Let me tell you a story…. a young girl came to the hospital about a year ago, she had passed out during class in school, when her parents arrived at the hospital the doctor explained their daughter was bulimic and she needed to stay at the hospital and receive 24/7 care. After six months of therapy she came back to the hospital — she came back to thank the doctors and nurses for bringing her back from the brink. You see it's not about losing or gaining weight but about "How comfortable are you in your own skin? Own it, live it, and take care of yourself".
    And auntie was the person who nursed the girl back to health. #❤you Educate yourself and others.

  27. Ngl her body is nice 💯 she looks good and it’s true what she is talking about. Advertisement is a war waged on contentment

  28. One of the most sincere ted talks I've ever seen. She's simple and natural and talking from the heart but still professional. I'm happy to have seen it and be inspired. Thank you Iskra!

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