Meet Ashira Paraskevas

Meet Ash, a content creator, mental health advocate and yogi from Melbourne.
Tell us about yourself...
Since I can remember, I have struggled with my mental health and self-confidence. 2 years ago, I started to share my experiences online in a very open and honest way.It all started when I decided to go 100% natural in my appearance. I went from having a head full of $2000 hair extensions, massive Russian volume XXL eyelash extensions, long fake nails done weekly, and designer bags I couldn’t afford; to stripping myself back to being, well, just meNot the “me” I thought I had to be for love and approval. I shared this in a “before and after” photo template online, and it went, for lack of better words, viral.So many people worldwide started to connect with me and my experience. The experience of not feeling good enough as you are, therefore hiding your true self under layers and layers of societal expectations and standards. This community that was building inspired me to keep going down this self-acceptance and mental health healing journey, and here I am!
I stand in 2022, an entirely different version of myself. I am now a woman who speaks her truth, doesn't suppress the scary sides of life, has openly recovered from an eating disorder, and who shares her life experiences with her community online in hopes of breaking taboos, stigmas, and creating humility in a space where it can feel the complete opposite. I define MY standard of beauty and don't let others' expectations of being a "woman", “feminine”, or "successful" stop or change how I live my life.
What advise would you offer to others who are learning to love the real me?
Respectful Physical Touch
When struggling with body image issues, it's easy to disrespect our bodies. We poke them, grab them, and pinch them when looking in the mirror or randomly when we might feel insecure. Just ask yourself, would you want to see someone you love do that to their body?Also, would you do that to their body?Building a respectful relationship with your body, even if you may not “love yourself”, is the first way to accept yourself. Acceptance means respect and gratitude for my body and how it works for me, showing it appreciation at all times. 
Following inspiring content creators makes you feel better about yourself, not worse.
It's easy to go down the social media rabbit hole of comparisons. Following people that you lookup to is great, but following people that you “wish you were” or “had their life”, “had their body”isn’t healthy. Why?Because it's very easy to fall into the trap of thinking you are not good enough, your life isn’t good enough – the way you are RIGHT now. Comparisons truly kill joy.
Talk to yourself as you would a friend. 
I know you probably heard this a million times, BUT it's SO TRUE, and it WORKS when you put it into action. When we talk to loved ones, would we tell them they are fat, need to lose weight, dumb, not good enough, and all the negative thoughts that our brains trick us into thinking about ourselvesNO WAYSo why do we do it to ourselves?
Putting yourself first and setting boundaries. 
I do this by making sure my clothes fit me!There is something so toxic about keeping those jeans that you know don’t fit in hopes that you’ll fit them again. It is a constant reminder that you need to change or you’re not “worthy” right now.
Be your own cheerleader. 
Make a mood board of all the things you are proud of; Give yourself credit for how unique and extraordinary you are.