It’s time to let go of 'glowing up'


By Caitlin Palmer O'Shaughnessy, Second year, Sociology and Social Policy

The Croft Magazine // As soon as January hits everywhere you look is the idea of becoming a 'new you'. A fresh start presents an opportunity for fresh change; to achieve new goals and set yourself new challenges. But, is this a good thing?

This rhetoric of ‘glowing-up’ can actually be incredibly toxic and harmful. Whilst the new year is definitely a chance to set yourself new goals, for many the pressure to change yourself results in many of these goals being unattainable. These 'goals' are often appearance focused. Pressure to completely transform ourselves and pressure from social media can make you feel like a failure if you don't completely change your appearance, to fit into the perfect beauty standard. When we don’t reach these unattainable goals were left with a sense of failure, which not only makes you feel bad about yourself but also deters you from carrying on with your goals in a more realistic way.

The rhetoric of glowing up can be incredibly toxic | Epigram / Emily Fromant

The new year is portrayed as if we all undergo an 'incredible' metamorphosis between the evening of the 31st of December and the morning of the 1st of January. In reality, the only thing that’s changing is the date.

The ‘glowing up’ philosophy also often comes from a place of being unhappy with yourself and wanting to change parts of yourself you don’t like. Of course, we’re all only human so it’s natural for us to be slightly self-critical and have parts of ourselves we would like to change, but can a philosophy that is underpinned by disliking oneself really be very helpful?

Dealing with ‘ugly’ emotions

‘I hated myself completely’ - Bristol student speaks out about body image struggles

However, the new year does present the opportunity for positive and realistic change. The changing of years can act as a mental refresher to move on from the past year and go into the new year with a fresh headspace and the motivation to reintroduce healthy habits and embrace the possibility of forward-looking change.

Although, if you’re content within yourself and don’t feel the need to make any changes then simply don’t. You do not need to "change yourself" or seek out flaws to improve, in 2022 it's time we start to celebrate simply who we are.

Featured Image: Unsplash / Scott Butcher

How do you feel about the idea of 'glowing up'? Let us know!