Body image. Ugh. What a horrible topic. But let’s just dive right in. (oh, also, I’m back! Thanks to those of you who stuck around even though I haven’t posted in an embarrassingly long time!)
Body image has always been something I’ve struggled with. It’s something that most women, (and men, too) I believe, struggle with. It seems impossible NOT to struggle with this. We’re bombarded each and every day with thousands of images of beauty and perfect and what we should aspire to. (I know I’m only about the 4,103,381,193rd person to write about this topic, so I may not be saying anything new or earth-shattering – BUT I might say something that actually hits home with someone, and that’s why I’m going to continue with this topic.)
So, let’s just take a minute and look at the standards of beauty that we are supposed to a) believe are real and attainable and b) aspire to. Perfectly toned EVERYthing; perfectly proportioned hips, waist, bust, neck, thighs, arms…; perfectly straight and gleaming white teeth; perfectly coiffed hair (sleek, curly, tousled…whatever the style, it’s got to be perfectly pulled off); perfectly sculpted chin, cheekbones, collar bones…; perfect, blemish-free skin. And that’s just the start.
Now let’s take a look at who our role models for this level of attainable perfection are, who we can look to for guidance, support, advice on how to reach this perfect beauty. Oh, wait…there is no one because that level of perfection is only attainable though artificial means. Thank you, PhotoShop.
By now we’ve all seen multiple articles, memes, and videos of the lengths that people go to in order to project this image of perfection. We all know that what we’re seeing isn’t real…but it LOOKS so real! It’s insanely difficult to look at photos in magazines and NOT compare yourself to them. I get it. I do it! I get frustrated with myself because I’m doing it…and I get frustrated with myself because I’m not attaining it! How messed up is that?
Here’s what I’m doing to counter this epidemic of false beauty and poor body image for us “regular” women. I’m no longer commenting on how pretty, skinny, etc. Celebrity X is. I’m no longer looking at magazine photos as anything more than an advertisement for a product or a celebrity personality. I am looking around me, and the real women I see in my daily life, and focusing on their beauty. Their real-life, day-to-day imperfect perfection. I’m talking about the women who live each day to the fullest: they get up each day and say, “I’ve got this. Today is going to be. And I’m going to live it.”
It doesn’t matter what today is going to be. Not every day is perfect, not every day is a party…but every day IS. And you don’t have to love everything about every day, but you do have to live it.
I’m talking about the women who MAKE each day one they want to live. They have a love, a passion, a goal. They have hobbies and friends and family who bring them joy. I’m talking about the women who may not get to the gym as often as they’d like, they may have baby food in their hair at noon, or they may be in a stressful board meeting at dinner time, but when girls’ night comes, they throw on their Spanx and their LBD and they OWN IT. They MAKE their lives what they want them to be, and they are happy. And that’s where their beauty comes from.
Beauty comes from living a life you love, surrounding yourself with love and positive energy, and exuding joy. Those are the women I look up to. Those are my role models for beauty.
Those are the women who should inspire us, those are the women we should look to as role models. I’d like this to be the beauty we all strive for. We are all beautiful. YOU. ARE. BEAUTIFUL. I’d like to challenge each of you to find at least one real person each day who you find beautiful…whatever defines beauty for you – courage, kindness, generosity, etc. and focus on that for a few minutes. You can tell the woman you think she’s beautiful if you want, but you don’t have to. This isn’t a challenge to put anyone in an awkward social situation or to be creepy, but it’s a challenge to redirect your ideas of beauty and perfection.
Imperfectly perfect. That’s what we all are. Part of my journey has been to accept that. It’s time to own it. It’s time to Own Your You.