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This Valentine’s Day, Mary Young wants people to focus on self love rather than feeling lonely.
“Knowing your worth and your value isn’t defined by whether you get a bouquet of roses or you have a partner to be with, it’s about how much you love yourself and who you surround yourself with,” said Young.
The Gladstone Hotel hosted the first-ever You’re a Babe: A Lesson in Self Love with Mary Young last week.
“Personally, I think it adds to your overall happiness as a person and at the end of the day, if you aren’t happy with yourself then life is very difficult,” said Young.
Young first created her namesake brand during her thesis project for Mass Exodus 2014. She did research on the lingerie industry and noticed a missing gap in the market, body positive intimates made for everyone. Brands such as Lasenza and Victoria’s Secret make garments that recreate the female’s body according to Young.
“I think it’s really been on my heart to encourage women that they don’t need to prescribe to one look or style to be sexy,” she said. “To feel confident in themselves is what makes them sexy.”
Young says that social media isn’t reality. Platforms like Instagram went from capturing candid moments to content that’s curated.
“From the perspective of a lot my followers, my life looks relatively easy or that I look a certain way therefore I must be extremely confident and I must have never had an issue,” she said. She gets comments like “You look so beautiful,” but she says she could have felt terrible that day and no one would know. Photos are 2D, you don’t know what’s behind the surface.
During her time as a Ryerson fashion communication student, she had a bad break up in first year and spent time alone to understand herself. “Learning how to love yourself means being happy alone,” she said at the event.
For about eight months, Young built positive relationships not for male attention and learned how to self love as a part of growing up.
“I’ve definitely struggled with self love not only in a physical way, but who I am as a person,” said Young. “It took time, but it was really hard to focus on myself throughout my education.”
Outside of Ryerson, she created the Self Love To Do List in order to love what she saw in the mirror, surround herself with positive people, stop comparing herself, write five things she loved about herself and do one kind act every day.
“Learning how to be OK, not being the same like everyone else, is a huge adjustment,” said Young.
Young was hard on herself in university. In a busy environment, she said you end up putting yourself last. But when she reflected on her accomplishments in the third person and celebrated the little things, she learned to cope.
“I was really, really hard on myself. I expected more out of myself that I should be doing more. I learned to be easier on myself,” she said at the event.
Young recommends that students should prioritize time for themselves. “Being able to pause from the chaos of school and life is really important because outside of school, life will still be very stressful and no one is going to give you the time off to catch your breath.”
The Gladstone Hotel’s sold out event had a turnout of about 50 people and Young plans to host more self love sessions.