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Why online trolls cannot detract from your self-love and self-care

Fear of judgment holds many men and women back from being themselves, especially in the social media age, but true personal growth can only come from leaving the comfort zone and facing issues head on, argues an Australian wellness advocate. 

Hollie Azzopardi, a popular online wellness influencer, writer and speaker, was recently undertaking a live 'story' on social media, and was asked by a female viewer: "Why do you always have your tits out? Don't you have a husband?"

The comment was demonstrative of the need to call out certain behaviour, Ms Azzopardi feels. If we – either men or women – aren't speaking up and defending ourselves, then we become part of the problem, and any issues or fears we may have about our own appearance or sense of wellness will only be exacerbated. 

Speaking to Wellness Daily, Ms Azzopardi said that such online attacks from trolls, particularly those who spout sexist or mysognistic comments, can have a detrimental impact upon one's health and wellbeing. 

"Being spoken to in that way is a form of bullying, and on a public and live domain, it can elevate the intensity of emotion and pressure felt, lending to feelings of lack of self-worth, anxiety and especially fear of judgement from others," she explained. 

"If not dealt with in the moment, with emotions processed as they come up (like I did in my Live – feeling and processing sadness, crying, anger) then we can hold on to these emotions, and they become bigger blocks for us to deal with later in life – potentially emerging as damaging social patterns (for instance, 'I will no longer go on lives because I will be attacked)."

Such incidents play into the fear of judgment that many people have, she continued, and act as a disincentive for both men and women to put themselves out there and be comfortable in their own skin.

"One of the biggest blockages I see in my life of work, holding men AND women back from living their dream lives – pursuing what really lights them up and makes them feel good – is fear of judgement. What will people think of me?" she explained. 

"Incidences like the one I experienced can further validate the belief that to pursue what lights you up, and to be vocal in 'putting yourself out there' no matter your beliefs, it will lead to an attack of some kind. People find it more comfortable to play it safe, and you know what they say about comfort zones – the real growth doesn't happen there!"

What such incidents do highlight, however, is the need for all of us to better embrace not only our aesthetics, but also the appearances and choices of others. Self-love and self-care are lifetime journeys, she posited, and aren't things that can simply be changed by ticking certain boxes. 

"It really starts with becoming aware of how we treat ourselves. Noticing the ways that we speak to ourselves, and how we look after ourselves – mind, body and soul. For me, this has looked like therapy, energetic healing/kinesiology, meditation, regular self-care dates (like salt baths, massage, saunas) and the list goes on. Taking care of me FIRST is my number one priority as I am no good to anyone when I am not," she outlined. 

"When we are living our lives from a place of love for ourselves, this love then ripples out to our relationships with others. We approach interactions with people from a more loving and compassionate place, because we feel that love and compassion in ourselves."

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“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain