There are beautiful people all around us. Walking down the street, at work, in line at the grocery store, working out next to us at the gym…on TV, in magazines, movies, advertisements…it’s impossible to go through even the most average of days without being bombarded with beauty.
Images of beautiful people can be inspiring for many different reasons, but when it comes to the physical beauty that we see in the media, we all know that we’re rarely seeing what these people actually look like. Between lighting, special cameras, angles, Spanx, make-up, hair extensions, designer clothing and of course, Photoshop, getting the celebrities we know and love (or love to hate) to look the way they do is a lot of work (not to mention expensive)…and hardly ever natural.
It’s amazing to see the standards of what is considered to be “beautiful” constantly changing. In previous years, one body type was typically revered as the standard of beauty, but now we’re seeing all different body types in the mainstream media.
“Body Love” movements are gaining popularity and many companies, most famously Dove, have exposed the heavy-handed use of Photoshop in advertising. You would think that this would have us feeling more empowered than ever to embrace who we are and love the bodies we were given, but it doesn’t seem to be happening as much as it should be.
Alongside the “Body Love” movement, we’re also seeing the “thinspiration” trend, a trend that takes us in the exact opposite direction of loving our bodies. Having people to look up to and ways to inspire and motivate ourselves can definitely be a positive thing, but when we start comparing ourselves to these people we can bring down our self-confidence in ways we aren’t even aware of in the moment.
Once we start comparing ourselves to other people…whether it’s celebrities, friends or those beautiful strangers at the gym…our thoughts can shift from positive and inspired statements to things like, “I will love myself when…” and “if only I had so and so’s body…” and this type of thinking only takes us farther away from reaching our goals.
When you start comparing yourself to other people, you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment, and here’s why: the only person who is ever going to have Kim K’s ass is Kim K, no one will ever have Gisele’s legs except for Gisele and [insert your favorite celebrity here] is the only person who will ever look like they do because there is only one of them. There’s only one Kim K, one Gisele, and most importantly, there is only one you.
You have to remember that you are the only person who will ever have your personality, your kindness, your body, your imperfections, your everything. And trust me, that’s way better than having exactly what someone else already has.
Now that we’re in the age of body acceptance, we need to drop the comparison game and not only accept the bodies we see in the media, but start accepting our own bodies, as well.
Stop looking at other people and wishing you had what they had. Be nice to yourself. Stop putting yourself down and start appreciating who you are and everything you have. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend. You would never tell your friend, “I mean, you look good, but you don’t look like Gigi Hadid” would you? I don’t think so. If you wouldn’t say it to someone else, don’t say it to yourself.
We can love ourselves now and still want to change. There is nothing wrong with wanting something more for yourself, but you’re never going to be happy if you can’t appreciate what you already have. Accept and love your body for what it does for you and then get excited about your goals. You can’t have one without the other.
We only get one body, so we have to take care of it and treat it with respect so that it will continue to support us and carry us through life. Work hard for the body you want, but don’t make it about wanting someone else’s body. Make it about wanting your body at its absolute best.