The world can be a mean place. It does not take a lot for someone to judge you, just take Lady Gaga at the Super Bowl half time performance. She was scrutinized brutally for her body, but she had the best comeback for all the body-shamers:
I heard my body is a topic of conversation so I wanted to say, I’m proud of my body and you should be proud of yours too. No matter who you are or what you do. I could give you a million reasons why you don’t need to cater to anyone or anything to succeed. Be you, and be relentlessly you. That’s the stuff of champions. thank you so much everyone for supporting me. I love you guys. Xoxo, gaga
As women, almost all of us have had a battle with our bodies at some point in our lives. We have let a comment or a look affect how we feel about ourselves. We have let the number on the scale or the size of our jeans determine our worth. We have criticized other women for their bodies. We feel we are either too fat or too thin, but we never feel right. Striving to be what we see in the media can damage women’s self-esteem. And what kind of example are we setting for the young girls who look up to their mothers, aunts, or older sisters? We need to show young girls that it is more important to have a healthier attitude, not a lower weight.
After years of struggling with self-image and weight, I know exactly how it feels to be that woman who feels guilty, unworthy, and unloved. I have been thin and I have been very fat, but now I consider myself ‘about average’ and I am finally happy with myself. My biggest problem was ‘self-acceptance.’ Instead of trying to be the best version of myself, I wanted to be someone else. But I finally learned to honor and respect my body instead of seeing it as a punishment.
The first step is to change your mindset. Now how I feel about my body is more important than how I look. Don’t get me wrong, I still have days when I question myself – did I really need to eat the whole pizza? Instead of dreading that decision, I just tell myself: it happened and it is not a big deal and I will try to not to do it again. Learn to cut yourself some slack.
When I worked with adults with mental health illness, I was constantly around people who had lived their entire lives in wheelchairs. It made me realize how lucky I am that I can walk, because it is all a matter of perspective. There are so many people in the world who wish they could use their limbs to run, dance and climb – things we may not even think about.
Your body can do amazing things. Appreciate that and do not forget it.
I believe life is too short to keep focusing on your flaws. I started counting my blessings, and not my imperfections. I stopped being mean to myself because it is nice to be nice. You should try it too. Compliment other women around you. Smile at them. Encourage them.
As I grew older, I started to accept my body shape and I stopped comparing myself to others. For me, it is most important to be the best version I can be, not an idealized version of someone else. It took me years to not care how other people see me. Their opinions do not change my life in any way because I am comfortable in my own skin.
Many women grow up wishing their waists were smaller, their legs were longer, they were thinner – pretty much wishing they were someone else.
I never compare myself to celebrities because they have personal trainers, nutritionists, makeup artists, and hair stylists who make them look the way they do because it is their job. And it is not our job to look like them, but if you can dedicate that time and money – go for it. Just don’t obsess about it so much that you stop enjoying living.
Once I gained 45 pounds in three months. I have the stretch marks to prove it. I also had to learn to take care of my body. I could not get upset with myself if I decided to eat every unhealthy food and stay lazy, and then blame my body for not doing what it is supposed to. I started to focus on health rather than just how I looked. I started to treat my body the way I would treat a loved one.
Don’t get me wrong – I have days when I feel bloated and fat, but I am not going to starve myself or lose sleep over it. Hormones and feelings, ladies. If I am not happy with my weight, I know I need to do something about it. I don’t like going to the gym and I like drinking beer, so I make myself go to the gym. I would live off of chocolate chip cookies but I need to nourish my body with fruits and vegetables as much as I don’t like them.
I started to surround myself with people who brought me happiness and did not bring me down. Negative people are the worst. So many women cannot look in the mirror without finding some fault in their appearance, I am still guilty of at times. (Do I see a muffin top?)
When you look at the grand scheme of things, how we look is very negligible, but it is hard not to let it consume our lives. If I had to define beautiful, it would be a kind heart with a pure soul and a smart mind. Cliché but true beauty comes from within, the outer beauty is just an accessory. Accepting who I am stopped me from trying to fit into the unrealistic archetype of what a woman should look like.
Recently, I read this quote: “You are so used to your features, you don’t know how beautiful you look to a stranger.” It is true; you have no idea who is falling in love with your flaws. So be kind to yourself. You may not know it, but you are beautiful and you have no idea how lucky you are.