I have been on a tear lately. My energy level is on excess and I feel great physically and mentally. I have been working on many different projects, experiencing really soul-searching and wonderful conversations with my clients, and ramping up to get my CrossFit Level 1 certification! WOO HOO! Life is good! Right?! So why is it, given all the fantastic progress I am making, that the simple act of putting on a bathing suit can make me forget all of that in an instant???
All I was trying to do was meet a friend at her gym to swim some laps (which sounded GREAT given the heat wave we’ve been having!) and ended up a crumbled mess in my bathroom! I am unrecognizable in those moments; a weak, weepy shell of myself. Why would I, as an otherwise intelligent, self-actualized woman, shrink in terror at the thought of someone else seeing my body as it is? Am I that unaccepting of my shape that I only feel comfortable with it at home??? What is the deal with my fear of wearing a bathing suit in public? It even SOUNDS nuts when I read this back to myself! I LOOK FINE!
Does this sound familiar? If so, answer this:
Why is it so hard for us women to believe we are beautiful? And even more, why do we still feel like we need to be beautiful in order to be a functional part of society?
To be clear, I see myself naked every day and I am fine with how I look. It is the prospect of others NOT liking how I look that makes me run for the hills. It’s literally CRAZY to behave this way given that I am completely comfortable looking at myself in the mirror! CRAZY I tell you! Ladies, we so distort our self-image. I couldn’t care less what the media puts out there as “beautiful” nor do I spend any time wishing I had HER boobs or HER legs when I pass by a magazine rack or other women on the street. But something seeps in, somewhere, because even without paying much attention, I am still so bombarded with images of what is sexy or beautiful or desirable all the time. All of us are. And for most of us, that picture of beauty is NOT who we see looking back at us in the mirror. No, what many women see are sagging breasts, cellulite, crow’s feet, blemishes, fat tummies, hairy upper lips, graying hair, large pores, stray eyebrows, crooked teeth, crooked noses, knobby knees, and – my fave – “matronly” upper arms.
WHAT ARE WE DOING???
When you look at your son or daughter, or your pets, do you pick them apart this way? “I love my son Johnny, but I would love him more if he didn’t have freckles?” “Sparky is the best dog in the universe…or would be if he had a longer tail?” “Socks rocks, but if he was black & white instead of tabby, he’d be a gorgeous cat!”
Of course we don’t! We save this ferocious & irrational judgment for ourselves (and perhaps our significant others 🙂 ) and for no good reason.
So how do we stop this TRULY ridiculous behavior?
Love each other.
WE HAVE TO STOP HATING ON OURSELVES. We are all beautifully flawed creatures, all with individual strengths and weaknesses. Such is life. BUT WE ALSO HAVE TO STOP HATING ON EACH OTHER TOO. It is not the men who are looking at us in bathing suits and silently criticizing us! It is womankind who is notoriously not so kind. We have bought and sold this horrible idea that we need to be thin to be beautiful, or blond, or tall or tan. We are ashamed of our stretch marks and cellulite (FYI: PLEASE click here: get the truth on cellulite & get over it!) and even our body fat (which is ESSENTIAL to LIVE!) and many of us feel better when we see another woman in her bathing suit who looks “worse” than we do. That is FUCKED! What are we doing???
The long and short of it is that all of us are in the same boat; we are always trying to discover & accept our own beauty. It is a rich journey and one we need to have, but we should go further and recognize & accept the beauty in everyone else too. As a society we focus so much on the negative. The stuff we don’t have; we always want to be thinner, wealthier, younger and prettier…Life is so much more rewarding when we can focus on all that is good – because there is SO much good in life sitting right there in front of you waiting for you to respect and appreciate it –
Just take a look in the mirror!
She is you. She is lovely. She is more than laugh lines, moles, or hairy arms. She doesn’t need to be a supermodel to be beautiful, nor does she need to fit some mold in order to exist comfortably in the world and in her own skin. Accept her flaws and love who you see looking back at you in the mirror.
Oh – and as for me, I decided that spending time with my friend and exercising in the pool was far more important to me than being afraid I was not beautiful “enough” to be seen in public in my swimsuit.