It has been awhile since I’ve talked about body image on a blog and probably for the reason it is something I am constantly self analyzing. Apparently 96% of women have an “I hate their body moments” according to a recent study. And now that it is January, most of us are looking in the mirror and taking stock of our shape.
I am sure I’m not the only woman who looks in the mirror and sees the cellulite on their legs, the curve in their belly, the stretch marks new and old, and the general softness. The feeling of no matter how much I exercise or eat right that my body won’t go back to the way it used to be.
It makes me wonder where I get my idea of “beautiful”. I know my husband calls me beautiful daily. I have no doubt in my mind that he finds me attractive however even after almost two years of marriage I still feel self conscious, and I am still aware of what my body looks like at all times.
But what in this world do I find to be the standard of beauty? I feel every time I go to the mall I am bombarded by what the world tells me their standard of beauty is: thin, usually blond, abs, beautifully dewy skin, and dressed perfectly. It hardly feels like a standard I can live up to.
Even when I speak to my beautiful friends, most of them have the same mind battles (even the size 2 gals). They all have things they don’t like about themselves and I’m shocked they don’t see their natural beauty. Why is it so much easier to see the beauty in others and not in ourselves?
Here are my thoughts on our worlds view on skinny…
1. Do What you Can: Until lately I have decided it’s not a standard I am going to try to fit into. It is my goal to be healthy not skinny. For health reasons I have decided to cut out sugar, wheat, and dairy (I only recommend going on this diet if it is recommended to you from a health professional). I have decided that is difficult as it is on my fibro joints I will exercise in a safe way. This may not make me look like Heidi Klum but it will improve my quality of life. To me it’s about being fit and healthy rather than being skinny.
2. Beauty is Relative: Society’s view of attractiveness had changed over many centuries. At one point, curvy women were thought to be attractive. Years ago women with super dark tans was preferred where as now we focus more on keeping our skin healthy by avoiding the harmful affect of the sun. Even individual ideas of beauty vary especially among men. I am comforted to know my husband finds me attractive. I see my friends of all shapes and sizes and see they are the apple of their husbands eye (the way it should be).
3. Beauty is Skin Deep: I won’t give you the preteen version of “it’s on the inside that matters” but honestly it is what on the inside that matters. It’s on the inside that is the building blocks of who we are. Things like a compassionate spirit, kindness, gentleness, determination, joy, the way we love others. To put life in perspective, in 50 years we are all going to be a saggy version of ourselves and all that will be left is the inner beauty. Our families will value us based on how we treat our adult kids and our grandchildren. When outer beauty can no longer be relied on it is the inside that shines.
This year I know most of us have goals to get fit and be our best self. Taking care of our bodies is such a positive thing and it keeps us healthy both mentally and physically. My challenge is to not just focus on what keeps our bodies in shape but that we also grow our character. Read books, write in a journal, make goals, and focus on how to improve yourself as a person, wife, mother, and friend. Your world will be a much happier place.