"I'm waiting until I lose that 7 pounds. I want my bangs to grow past this awkward stage. My teeth aren't white enough. I really need to tone up."
JUST STOP IT!
I don't always love everything about myself either. Some days are worse than others. Some days the negative self talk is brutal, and no matter what I do or try to practice, those thoughts just sneak in from time to time. One day I might feel GREAT: my hair is perfect, those jeans fit just right and I am on top of the world, but the next?
Ha. Who knows..
- My eyes are too narrow.
- Those extra pounds turned into the shadow of a second chin overnight.
- How long has that wrinkle been there?
- My arms aren't toned.
- Is THAT what I look like from that angle?
- What shape is this?! Why didn't anyone tell me that this shirt makes me look like a baked potato?
- What is this magical makeup routine everyone around me seems to have implemented to create the illusion of insanely perfect cheek bones.
- Oh, and I hate my smile.
You get the gist.
Negative, I know, but let's not misinterpret this. I’m not waking up every morning saying horrible things to myself about my appearance, in fact, I take great strides to not dwell on these thoughts. It isn't my job to be pretty, and more importantly, when I really think about it, I don't actually care (at least I don't want to care) what someone else's definition of pretty is. It's not my job to wake up every day and try to shove myself into the shadow of perfection that has been imprinted on me over the course of my entire life through advertising and the media. It isn’t my job to live up to these standards and it is certainly not my priority. Okay okay, let me get back on track before this becomes a post on feminism (although, would you really be mad?).
So why do I sometimes feel a ping of physical pain in my gut when I catch a glimpse of a snapshot where I don't look “my best?” Well, I really can't answer that, perhaps its because I'm human. Perhaps it's a hint of guilt for choosing to have that glass of Pinot Noir last night instead of hitting the gym (actually, strike that, I’ll never, ever, regret that decision). Maybe it’s because no matter what I believe and know to be rational the negative thoughts just linger sometimes. I love who I have become, but sometimes it can still feel impossible not to carry the weight of what you’ve been taught to compare yourself to.
But here’s the thing:
When you push that all aside, when you stand in the center of a world that boasts such outrageous beauty standards and you realize that you are enough, that you are freaking marvelous, inside and out. That’s when true change happens.
See this photo?