We love those doctored up, perfected images of stars and celebrities. Those images of what we see as physical perfection. We aspire to be that. We try all the latest diets, we use a myriad of skin products, and we follow the latest fitness craze to get that perfect body. But how crazy is that? How in the world can we be perfect in a way that isn’t possible? Even the stars don’t have the perfect skin or bodies or figures that we see in those images. Why do we spend all our time and money idolizing this and trying to recreate it in ourselves? And really, why do we all want to look the same? Aren’t our differences WAY more interesting and awesome?
There’s also the issue of the people around us who may pick at us and want us to be different or ‘better’ – or more like those perfect pictures in magazines. I know I have had friends, family, past boyfriends and a husband who always commented on my appearance – yes, in positive ways, but also in negative ways.
Why do people feel that holding you (or anyone) to these standards is realistic? How can we ever be happy when we are held to something we can’t achieve? When we are always beating ourselves up for being less than that perfect image? And truly, do you really think the perfect body can bring you happiness? Why can’t we just be happy with ourselves the way we are?
Our Changing Bodies
In the last 10 years my weight has fluctuated and been higher than it ever has in my life. Part of it is my age and hormones I’m sure, but I’ve also been much more settled and happy in my life, and maybe in that comfort put on some extra pounds. But really, what’s wrong with that? And why is it that people expect you to always look the same?
Recently I got together with old friends (several of them). And you know what their comments were? “I barely recognized you.” “You were so beautiful when you were young.” “Oh I’m sure you can lose the weight.” Seriously?!? While I love these people (and I know they meant well), I knew them in my 20’s and I’m in my 40’s now. I certainly wouldn’t expect them to look the same (and they don’t) – so why do they expect me to look the same?
These comments REALLY bothered me and made me angry for a long time. But then I realized that people I meet in my life NOW think I’m beautiful as I am. They don’t know how I used to look, so they don’t know any different. Keep that in mind. I try to remember how many people comment on how great I look in my life now, and just how great I feel. Because really, it’s about how I feel about myself. And it’s also about surrounding yourself with people who DO see your beauty (inside and out)!
Airbrushing it Away
Last week I had pictures taken for my website. We are always critical of ourselves, and there were things that I didn’t like – like the ones that I felt made me look awkward or something. But I think that’s ok as long as we don’t knitpick ourselves to death. There were A LOT of the pictures I really liked! It made me feel SO beautiful seeing these lovely pictures of myself! I even sent the link to friends and family to help choose their favorites. I was so thrilled with these photos! But then, when I made my selections, the photographer ‘touched up’ the pictures and sent them to me. I gasped when I saw them. I looked 20 years younger! All my wrinkles and blemishes were gone!
While many people might have jumped for joy – I wasn’t sure I liked it. It took away my sparkle and my character. My laugh lines and smile lines were gone. It didn’t look like me anymore. They looked like the perfect pictures you see in magazines. It actually made me sad knowing that most people probably love this. Right away I sent an email to the photographer and thanked her, but also asked if I could have the originals (untouched). And you know what, I loved the originals! With my wrinkles, scars, smile lines, blemishes,….that was ME!! I’m not like anyone else and I don’t want to be made to blend in. I don’t want to be smoothed over and made to look like the magazines. I want to celebrate who I am and embrace that.
I am Beautiful
For anyone who says I “used to be beautiful”, you are so wrong. I am beautiful. And I will be when I’m 80 years old too. I’m going to celebrate and embrace that. I am myself. You cannot make me more ‘perfect’, because I already am perfect, as I am – perfectly imperfect and like no one else.
Embrace Who You Are
Embrace your differences. And embrace the differences in others. And don’t look down on the scars, wrinkles, blemishes – they are the signs of a true road warrior. As I told my dad, I earned those wrinkles – I’m not hiding them! You are so beautiful as you are right now. Don’t try to change that. Don’t try to be ‘perfect’ in the eyes of our society, or as you see in the media. No one is perfect, and you are seeking the unachievable. Instead, embrace who you are. Love every line, every scar, every stretch mark, every ounce of you. It’s what makes you YOU.
Don’t listen to the others. They usually pick at people because they are showing their own insecurities about how they feel about their own appearance. Behind every bully is someone who feels deeply inadequate and insecure. So remember that. Find that love for yourself and make it STRONG. Because when you have that, no one can tell you that you aren’t good enough. You know you are. You are BEAUTIFUL!!!
I would recommend reading this book – You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay