How Love Island Can Teach Us To Love Ourselves

It's been the hit of the summer and I have to admit that at 9pm every evening for the last two months I have been glued to my screen for the latest instalment.

This year's Love Island has made us laugh, scream at the tv and even cry (yes I have cried!) and many have debated why it's been so addictive. Is it the gorgeous half naked cast that keep us tuned in? Is it the cheeky challenges they are set every day? Or is it to see if the public agree with us on who should be "dumped" from the island? Well I actually think the reason we are so hooked is because we see ourselves in the contestants.

Poor self esteem can turn us into a melt

Remembering that over 50,000 people applied for Love Island, the contestants beat off some pretty stiff competition, so you'd think they'd be pretty full of themselves. In fact we've seen Gabby, the cute blonde fitness instructor, crying on the balcony that she didn't feel pretty enough, and actually was considering plastic surgery to help boost her esteem when she leaves the villa. I'm sure I wasn't the only one recognising elements of Gabby in my own world, many people compare themselves unfairly to others and have a poor self image as a result of this.  It's so important to keep a healthy perspective of what our "ideal self" is. Gabby is probably one of the most natural looking girls in the villa and suddenly felt like she needed to change herself to be accepted and liked by others.

What's my type on paper? Confidence

No girl has had as much attention in the villa as Camilla. It's no surprise either, she's naturally stunning, always supporting anyone who's having a bad day, is clearly highly intelligent and is a bomb disposal expert. She's also rumoured to have dated (and dumped!) Prince Harry which she's kept very quiet about and she's been the subject of three different boys attention. 

So why have I never witnessed someone so under-confident on a tv show like this before? She ticks so many boxes that any guy would describe as his "ideal girl" but she just doesn't see it. Her massive under-confidence actually played into the breaking up of her first "couple" with Jonny, I think he just realised no matter how much he tried to boost her, it would never be enough.

Actually, as I write this, her fans and even fellow islanders have begun to wear thin with her over-sensitivity and her inability to see her potential. I totally understand. Most of us have enough of a challenge boosting our own self confidence, let alone having to persist with someone who has all the potential to be a bad-ass Lara Croft on a humanitarian mission. Why can't she see it? 

Negative self talk can spill out into muggy behaviour

Olivia has been the contestant with the most press - for all the wrong reasons. Her temper and erratic behaviour may be partially blamed on clever editing, but again we have a girl who is very hard on herself when she's talking freely to the beach hut camera. 

Clearly holding on to negative emotions and feelings from the past, she channels that negativity not only on herself, but on her boyfriend Chris, resulting in heated arguments where she appears to be criticising him for behaviour she is guilty of herself - it's no wonder she's not popular with the general public.

The truth is, any time we are constantly putting ourselves down or having a negative conversation with ourselves in our head, it has the potential to spill outside of ourselves and on to others, normally affecting those closest to us. It's a vicious circle; no doubt it will result in more negative self talk and criticism, and the only way to change that is to change the way we talk to ourselves. Swapping the negative for positive may not work overnight, but recognising the triggers is a good place to start.

Being salty or being honest?

Montana has been the favourite girl for most of the season, probably because she hasn't displayed the behaviour I've discussed above. Despite waiting the longest to find a connection with someone she's held her own, not let it affect her self esteem, and when Alex walked in the villa she had the confidence to go for it. She's the girl we all want in our gang because she's kept it real.

However over the last few days her honesty about the other girls, including that she found Camilla's insecurities draining has resulted in her being dumped from the island right before the final along with boyfriend Alex. So what happened? Did she really "show her true colours" and become smug once she found her man, or do we just not want to hear our reality BFF straight talking about other girls we like? 

Love Island can help us all assess our values

The truth as to why I've found Love Island so addictive, is because it's made me assess my own values, and as every scenario is played out on screen I can't help thinking about how I'd think, feel and behave if I was in that position. I don't just mean the obvious question about whether the "carrot would see the hummus", It's a great experiment and I think many are unaware that they're doing the exact same thing. 

So when you watch this evening for the final time and shout at the tv when you're seeing gorgeous girls talking themselves down or not valuing their truly great qualities, take a moment to reflect on yourself. Could you do with a pep talk sometimes? If so, there's no better person to do it than you.

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