I wanted to take a moment and just say that YOU are BEAUTIFUL.
I am at a point in my life where I should be more comfortable in my own skin; however, I still struggle with body image and the fact that I am aging. What society thinks is "beautiful" can put a little pressure on one's self-perception. These days, whether it’s someone you follow on one of the social networks or someone you deeply admire, it's hard NOT to compare yourselves to these people..
Oh those beauty standards...
I think what most people don’t realize - whether they’re consciously thinking about it or not - is that, when it comes to the images you see on the internet, magazines, etc. is that they are curated. You don’t necessarily just put any old image out there. There is a process and everything is carefully thought out.
One example is when you see someone with an amazing, out-of-this-world physique on Instagram and you think “oh my gosh I want to have her body!” But, in reality, the person you’re seeing is posing uncomfortably - sticking her butt out so that her waist appears smaller and her bottom looks more full and shapely. I’ve done enough photoshoots, where I see the model pose in an unnatural way to exaggerate their features and, many times, it looks amazing in the final photos.
All the same!
People that you admire (and may know personally) might appear so put-together but may be experiencing internal struggles. We ALL have insecurities but many of us don’t necessarily want to put it on blast. We want to appear like we know our shit and are owning it. For example, I have a friend whose style I love - her look, her clothes, her aesthetic in general but she admitted that she struggles with keeping up with the trends and actually doesn’t like her skin and even thinks her arms and thighs are a little on the “big” side. By talking to her, I’d never know otherwise that she’s insecure about things I thought were some of her best assets.
Wearing the same top but packing on a few extra lbs....
In the photos below, I wanted to try on a top I wore for my 40th birthday trip - just because - to see if I could still fit into it. I admit, it’s a little snug but I don’t look too bad. Now I’m not always the healthiest eater but I am still incorporating workouts. A work-in-progress, I am, but still fly (or as the kids say these days, “snatched”)!!! HAHA
Self-perception can be a b*tch!
I sometimes come across photos of when I was younger (at a time I always thought I was “fat”) and think “whoa what the hell was I thinking?! I actually looked good!” I remember always comparing myself to others and I know now that was certainly not healthy. Sadly, I still catch myself exhibiting the same behavior! When I do, I shut myself down real quick by silently chastising myself and thinking about my daughter witnessing my self-loathing.
Friends and/or family that tell you you’re anything less are not who you should be around and it’s ok to disassociate yourself from them. Most likely, they are hurting and need to find a way to help themselves. Those that hide behind a computer screen and decide to be cruel are also going through some kind of struggle but you have the luxury of the “delete” button. You shouldn’t have to deal with small-minded people.
We are Beautiful, in every single way
The bottom line is, we ALL have insecurities but, if you’re a good person, you wouldn’t go up to someone and tell them they look horrible so why tell yourself that you look that way?!
It’s unlikely you will gain the confidence in a short span of time. It takes experience and a realization to recognize your self-worth and to accept yourself as you are. I am constantly trying to work on self-improvement because I want to be the best I can be by facing my faults and insecurities head-on while handling it all with grace.
I hope that we all can one day see the beauty in ourselves as well as the unique qualities we each possess...traits we might see in a good friend. So be good to yourself and to each other.
~ XOXO, Mari