Yes, I went there with that.
And no, I’m not talking about it in a narcissistic way, but a healthy value of who you are and what you bring to the world. Confident in your skin and loving yourself, warts and all. However, we can often be our own worst enemies when it comes to valuing who we are.
You don’t have to look far today to be inundated with magazines and the internet showing you pictures of “how” you should look and what the “ideal” image is. Media seems to scream at us from all angles.
It largely seems directed towards women, but I know you guys get it too.
Almost seemingly, perfect, flawless, toned and non-defective bodies glare back at us.
No stretch marks. No loose skin. No scars, blemishes or imperfections. Thighs with space big enough to drive a truck through. Large breasts, tiny waist and equally balanced hips are offered up on the body buffet challenging us to up our game to reach that goal.
Guys, you might deal with the perfect 6 pack abs, (big) strong arms and shoulders all the while being challenged to not have an ounce of extra flesh around your waist… you have your own challenges too… I get that…. and don’t leave you out of this equation.
Honestly, it can mess with those of us who have the best self-esteem and confidence levels.
How does one achieve such standards of perfection? More importantly, does it even exist ? And bigger question yet, do we want it ?
A few things that are obvious and clear but I’ll go ahead and state. These people often make a living by their bodies and what they look like, they have been in fitness/health industry awhile so it’s important to maintain a standard. They have to absolutely live a particular lifestyle to maintain their bodies and what they’ve achieved.
Nothing wrong with that, it’s just a higher calling than most of us will ever embrace.
Ok, and then, let’s not forget, photo shop does a pretty good job at shaping things up too before our eyes view it.
Whatever…. we see it. And it can leave us feeling defeated before we leave the starting gate.
Getting comfy in your own skin really does let you appreciate others beauty without crippling your own self-esteem. That is a process that takes time and certainly not learned over night.
I think in life lessons learned it’s important to get ok with who you are. Your flaws (real or perceived) imperfections, or other things that make you feel “less than” valuable or worthy.
Please pay attention: none of those things make you broken…. or lacking…. or flawed.
It does reflect your life and what you’ve lived and gone through.
Your story. Your own one of a kind story.
Every mark or scratch, scar, birthmark, the way your body is shaped, the angle of your jaw and set of your eyes…. all those things make you uniquely you.
Yet… we can struggle in it.
Watching my teenage daughter grow up is vastly different from having teenage sons. Body image is obviously huge among these young girls trying to grow into their own confidence and budding self-esteem which is often at an all time low.
If there is one thing I want for her is to teach her to love and embrace herself and not fall into the comparison trap, the trap that leaves us feeling like we aren’t good enough, adequate or whatever, although I know it just goes with the teenage years, heavily.
Opportunities can abound in daily life for teaching…for instance…. one day we are driving along and she says…
“Do you think my thighs are big ?”
It is the moment in life when you think… “OMG do I have to answer this?” and for a brief moment I feel pain for all the dudes who have ever had the female in their life ask them “do these pants make my butt look big?” and they get that deer in the headlights look about them….seeking escape….
But I’m driving…and can’t escape….
I take the easier way out…. and say… “How do you feel about them? And why would you say that?”
She launches into how her friends have thinner ones and one had commented on hers…. the reason now for the question… the question that has caused her to view herself in a different light.
I ask her if her legs let her dance, kick and jump? run? walk? Were they strong for the things she did in her life?
She answered yes….
I reminded her I didn’t have “skinny” legs but I was ok with that…. they were strong and muscled and had carried me many miles running and done several long distance races. They were big, but powerful, and I liked the strength they had. She has always been proud of my running accomplishments and immediately got what I was saying.
I told her she needed to be proud of her strong legs and know that all of her life she’d be seeing women who would be shaped in different ways and that she couldn’t compare herself and decide she was “lacking” in some way. She needed to love herself and appreciate her own unique beauty of who she is.
I can admire another woman’s beauty, without compromising my own self esteem or feel like I’m inadequate. I can appreciate the gifts she’s been given while not devaluing my own.
I want my daughter to be able to do the same. To know her own beauty and worth because when she does she will be able to build other women up and not tear them down. To love herself means she will be able to love more fully.
The same goes for you, my faithful reader.
I personally believe I have a Creator.
I love a particular verse in the Bible that says “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”
I take that to mean…. I’m just rather cool and awesome how I’ve been put together….. and so are you.
Be comfy in your skin…. love yourself. Maybe you’re on a journey with some specific goals…it’s ok… love who you are and where you are right now as you travel along.
Have you ever struggled with these issues? Do you now ? How do you deal with it ?