Accepting ourselves for the physical features, characteristics, body types, and genetics we were born with is harder than ever because of these faux-tos (aka fake pics) racing across our phones and into our perceptions of “normal”. Instead, we find ourselves flustered and feeling lesser-than… ready to jump ship from the gloriousness we are to be something better… something we can accept.
But these changes, some of them on a daily basis, are they really for us or for someone else? I believe it depends on the “why” behind the change.
Getting Ready for the Day
Plenty of time is spent in front of the mirror preparing our faces and minds for the day; searching for that “perfectly placed” woman to gaze gently, kindly, and silently back at us. There’s one BIG problem here… No one is perfect. And we are not always silent, kind, or gentle to ourselves. Because we are real humans, perfection is unattainable. That’s right, perfection is not attainable, so even if you try to fake it, it’s just that, a phony persona that overshadows your authentic self. When we block our true selves from the world, we are giving others permission to not see us, ignore us, and even project what they assume we are like onto us.
Now, there is nothing wrong with doing your hair and makeup if it’s something YOU enjoy doing, makes you feel more confident, or empowers you to say no later on to someone who needs more boundaries from you. It’s wrong when you feel you have to or should because it’s what’s expected. I personally love being in comfy clothes, no makeup, and having my hair up and away from my face.
Straight to Success?
I want to tell you a story about an experience I had about my physical appearance and it has to do with my hair. I have naturally curly hair- very dry curly hair… It’s something I have become self-conscious about because of the difficulty to tame it plus it’s a feature I don’t share with my family members. But as an adult, I became aware of the markedly different ways people treat me with my natural hair vs when I’ve straightened it.
I was at a Podcasting Conference with my then podcast co-host Mike, who is a tall, gorgeous, kind, and charismatic man. I found myself telling him that I hadn’t been able to really break into conversation with the people at the conference. But every day he came back with connections and been asked to be on several podcasts. I had not. Truth be told, for the first two days the only times t I felt like I had been seen were the few times I spent with Mike and the ever present group of people that surrounded him. I told him it was my curly hair and that I needed to plan a time that night to straighten it. He thought I was being silly.
I was determined not to do anything different other than my hair the next day to test out my theory. As Mike and I ate supper that night he was eager to hear how the day went for me. The shock on his face was priceless as I told him about the free coffee the lady in line behind me bought for me. How people approached me throughout the day and even made efforts to wave me over to them. I was never alone and people were more at ease with me. The only thing different was my hair!
What I gained from this experience isn’t annoyance or rage, it’s understanding. I can now choose to make this change or not. I can give myself a little extra help being seen, or if I’m scared, I can let my curls bounce around my head… It’s my decision, it’s my confidence.
Body image seems to be something society is trying to make right but has a long way to go before we fix the stigmas and unfair stereotypes placed on various body types. In truth, a lot of damage has been done as it continues to hurt both men, women, and children around the globe.
For me, it took years to fully accept that each person’s body has its own definition of what is healthy. Healthy doesn’t equate to a specific number on the scale. Healthy is about lifestyle – the foods you eat, the ways you move your body, and the way you feel and connect to it. It’s no secret, at some point (probably multiple points) in our lives, we all make a weight-loss goal. And that’s a good thing if you want to make a change for the right reason… to be healthier. Not to fit the mold of what photo-editing commands of us. We are still the real people in charge of real life. Lose weight for yourself, for your long-game heath, not because you feel shamed by media faux-tos around you!
I did the extreme, I had gastric bypass surgery to give my body a fighting chance at not becoming diabetic. I did not make this decision lightly and I didn’t do it for just the idea of easy weight loss; it was to be healthier and break bad lifelong habits.
Accepting Your Why
After some introspection it can be eye-opening, sometimes devastating to realize the why’s behind our actions. But don’t get down on yourself- this is not an article to shame you… it’s one to build your awareness so you can make informed decisions and not apply guilt and shame to yourself.
Accept that you are human, imperfect, and beautiful like everyone else, and will always have new challenges to squelch. Accept that you can make changes in your life when you are ready and willing to do something new. It’s intimidating as all get out but the first step in accepting you for ALL that you are is by understanding, accepting, and sometimes adjusting the motivation behind your choices.
P.S. You are worthy just as you are. You are beautiful just as you are. There is no one else on this planet exactly like YOU and there never will be!