What "My Mad Fat Diary" taught me about self-acceptance
The popular British television show we hold so dear to our hearts, My Mad Fat Diary will be back on TV in the UK this summer for its third and final season. (Netflix, take note: We want these new episodes stateside, please!) MMFD’s official Twitter account recently updated fans on filming, also mentioning that we’d get a little sneak peak as more photos from shooting continue to come in.
The show, based on the book My Fat, Mad Teenage Diary by Rae Earl, takes place in the ’90s and follows Earl, as she grapples with bestiehood, body image issues and mental illness recovery. MMFD explores important messages, teaching viewers valuable lessons that can be relatable to so many. (Actually, see for yourself: episodes from season one and two are available on YouTube for a steady dose of binge-watching.)
In honor of the third season on it’s way, here are some of the important life lessons MMFD has taught me:
The idea of being out of someone’s league is completely wrong.
First of all, let me just say that there is no league and no one person is better than the next. We are all human beings, and as human beings, we have the right to have feelings and emotions and attraction towards others, regardless of appearance. This is especially evident for Rae, who is portrayed as an unconventional teenage girl with various insecurities. “Leagues” are something we create in our own heads, because we place so much value on how we think other people see us. Rae shows that there are no barriers when it comes to love. And everyone is worthy of having it.
Sometimes it’s OK to have others love you before you can love yourself.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting that sense of love when you’re in negative state of mind towards yourself. Finn is absolutely in love with Rae, but Rae isn’t in love with herself. Finn’s feelings towards Rae almost serve as a platform for Rae, setting the foundation for loving herself. People like to say, you can’t be loved until you love yourself, but this show counters that sometimes frustrating message. It’s OK to admit that the love of someone else could very well be the passage to self-love.
Self-harm and mental illnesses are real, and we need to talk about it.
A lot of us have different means for coping. Some things are more extreme than others and MMFD demonstrates how serious mental illness can be. Rae is a real person with real feelings. Sometimes our feelings can flood our well being, leaving us in an overwhelming state of mind. Though self-harm is an extreme way of dealing with problems, it’s sadly used as a coping mechanism, and it’s important to understand that in order to recover. A lot of people don’t have the means of expression to manage how they’re feeling. What’s necessary is to have compassion and an open heart towards those who are struggling just to survive.
It’s important to remember that a lot of people are fighting their own battles.
One thing that really struck me in the series is how deeply they explore every character’s feelings, not only Rae’s. There is a broad spectrum of issues people could be going through and we wouldn’t know it if we just stayed consumed in our problems.
Never settle for anything less than what you really deserve.
Rae and her best friend, Chloe, go on dates with guys who are jerks. Eventually, they realize that they deserve way better, and as a resolution, separate themselves from toxic and negative people. Don’t let anyone give you the idea that you can’t get what you deserve. Your wants don’t need justification from others. If you really want something, go get it and don’t worry about how others will react or treat you.
Self-acceptance is power.
Overall, accepting ourselves for who we are is something we never stop learning how to do, but we have to keep trying. This idea is hard to grasp because a lot of us are susceptible to the assumption that we are not “good enough.” The truth is, our level of worth is not dependent on others. We need to be aware of negative stigmas, and like Rae, defy them in order to tamp them out. How we see ourselves ultimately shapes our outlook on ourselves, on the people who surround us, and what we strive for in the future.