As women, we tend to be hypercritical of ourselves and especially of our bodies. We look at social media, magazines, TV and compare ourselves to other women. What is the effect of comparison? We think they are better, which makes us feel like we're less than enough. But who decided what this supposed golden standard is? There is a great quote by Eleanor Roosevelt; No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
So really, its YOU. You are the one deciding what the standard is and then deeming yourself not worthy. I was always the chubby kid being made fun of by kids in school and even some of my own family members. I wasn't taught healthy eating habits and yet I was still shamed for being overweight. As if it was my fault for not knowing better as a child. This shame stayed with me for years. My weight was my armor, my protective shield. As unreasonable as it sounds, I felt like my weight protected me from being seen and not being seen equated to not being hurt.
As someone whose weight has greatly fluctuated over the years, so has my body image and shame. Until the day I decided to love myself no matter where I was in the journey. The reality is women of all sizes struggle with body image/shame. I know women who are small and have the healthy, toned, "ideal" body and yet still struggle with body image. They won't wear tank tops cause they don't like their arms or won't wear short skirts cause they hate their legs or want to hide their varicose veins. Then there are women obsessed with losing that last 5-10lbs and it consumes their life. They cannot find happiness until they reach that goal on the scale.
Men struggle too with body image. I recently had a long conversation with a guy who was afraid of putting himself back into the dating scene because he had put on a few extra pounds. I asked him if he wanted to find someone who only cared what he looked like externally or if he wanted someone to like him for who he is, his character and values. My advice was if he wanted to lose weight for his health, great. But if he wanted to lose weight because he felt like he wasn't enough, then he needed to spend some time reflecting on what that meant and where it was coming from.
The moment I found love for myself, was the moment my entire life changed. I began walking taller with my head high, my wardrobe changed cause I was no longer trying to hide myself, I began to glow and my smile became genuine instead of forced. And people started to notice and comment. I recently had two friends tell me I was elegant and refined; two words I would never have used to describe myself, but that was their truth in how they saw me and how I carry myself.
There's no handbook or "proven system" for you to follow. You must simply make a decision. Your true beauty will emerge the moment you decide to simply love yourself wherever you are in your journey. Let go of this false "ideal" image. We are all flawed humans, we all have those things that bother us about ourselves, but that's what makes us uniquely us. This world would be a very boring place if all humans were alike. Celebrate your magical uniqueness and share it with everyone around you! I promise, you will notice a difference and so will those around you.
Here's to another week of living your life by design, not by default!