PRIDE meeting discusses Self-Love

Nicholas Garisto Women and Gender Issues Reporter

PRIDE Kent! discusses an issue that spans across all genders, sexualities and cultures : learning to love yourself and your body.

Many stories involving people’s own body imaging issues were told during Thursday night’s meeting. PRIDE Kent’s own president, Brandon Stephens, told of the body image issues he struggled with growing up and how he learned to love himself through that struggle.

“We all have our problem areas on our body, at least one, and I think we can all safely say that… for me, it was my weight, it was everything,” Stephens said, “for someone [else] it might be a birthmark, it might be some other physical aspect of your body that you might hate, but that’s ok because you don’t have to hate it forever and you won’t as long as you try.”  

“It was not easy learning to love myself. I spent a great deal of time being depressed, starving myself when I was a teenager and not telling anybody about it,” Stephens said, “but I don’t regret those because it helps me become the person who I am today.”

“For me, and it’s something I tell anyone that asks, it was easier for me as I got older and forced myself to stand in the mirror and tell myself I love myself,” Stephens said.

He said he did this about 10 times everyday and it worked for him because he internalized those positive reassurances to himself, it made all the difference, but Stephens also said it depends upon the individual. For some it will be easier to love themselves, for others it will be harder.

“I guess I would end everything by saying that we, each and everyone else in this room, are special. We all have something about us that I believe is truly a gift to the world and I think if we spend less time focusing on what we don’t like and focusing more on who we are and who we can become, I think we’re going to be a lot happier,” Stephens said, “What I want you all to know is that every Thursday you make it all worth it.”

PRIDE Kent! also discussed constructive complimenting. While compliments may be made with the best intentions, if not done constructively, they can come off as offensive. PRIDE Kent! executives made the point to always be aware of what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. 

PRIDE Kent! Treasurer Brian Thompson said, “Please don’t gender your compliments, they don’t need to be.”   

This applies greatly to the LGBTQ community where many members can be questioning their own gender and sexuality.