I was just talking to a friend about different current events, mainly Rachel Dolezal and her claim to self-identify with a race that is unmatched to her genetic makeup. We also talked about the increasing awareness of people who struggle with gender identity. It is not my intention to create a heated debate on gender or race identification, nor am I saying that one is related to the other, but discussing these issues with my friend did lead us to a discussion about an even broader scale of self-identity: Our own self worth.
OK, women (and men), how often do you look at other people and size them up? Without being critical or judgmental toward them, you are assessing their condition for the sole purpose of scaling your own physique. Thoughts like “My arms are bigger than hers”, “Her waist is smaller”, “I’m thicker”, “She’s thinner”. You might compare skin tone, hair texture and any number of qualities that you have no control over (height, frame, bone structure). You can think yourself into a lousy mood and a completely false reality as to what truly matters about being you.
Prime (Time) Example
On The Today Show this morning, they showed a picture of Kate Hudson lying poolside in a bikini.
This picture is not a crime. She looks great. The location is pretty. It’s gotten over 50K “hearts” on Instagram. What brakes my heart are the comments that followed by the news anchor on The Today Show. Jenna Bush Hager saw the photo and commented, “Now I’m depressed”. The other anchor reminded her she was pregnant, not to worry and Jenna replied, “Even when I’m not pregnant, I don’t look like that”. Now, I’m definitely not picking on Jenna Bush Hager for her comments. She’s just thinking out loud the same thoughts that run through so many minds when we see images like this. This is a representation of how girls, women and even men (yes, men have body image issues too) can be so self critical. Ms. Bush Hager is adorable and fit. She has a lucrative career and the journalistic reach to impact the thoughts and ideas of many. She has political connections and a resume filled with meaningful experiences, yet an image of Kate Hudson in a bikini can instigate an impulsive comment about her own body image.
I’m not suggesting we all go eat a Big Mac and resign to the couch in surrender. Our physical health is of utmost importance. I encourage everyone to eat well, exercise often and practice healthy daily rituals. But the ideal body image for each individual cannot be found in a magazine, on E! or in someone else’s Instagram feed. You’re frame and features are specifically unique to you. Your body and mind is capable of achievements that you can’t even imagine. I’m all for vision boards and imagery as a form of inspiration, but do have some meaning behind those images. How do you want to feel? What do you want to be able to do, physically? As soon as you let go of “looking a certain way” and shift the focus to accomplishing goals that act as milestones on your journey, you’ll feel empowered. You’ll smile in the mirror and like what you see. Of course, you will be more toned and have that healthy sparkle in your eye. That’s just a side affect to treating your body right. It’s perfectly OK to enjoy that. But let go of the comparisons. The rest of the world is not your competition. They are your teammates. Let’s lift each other up.
Each day do something that makes you feel strong. It might be finishing a challenging workout. It might be sticking to your healthy nutrition plan. It might be silencing the voice of self doubt. Each day do something to help you find the calm within you. Pray, mediate, walk, cook, read, practice yoga. Do what works for you. Have a plan. Don’t look at fitness and nutrition as an evil form of torture to try to turn you into a fitspo pic on Pinterest. It’s so much more meaningful than that. Let it be a tool, a guide, a resource and a system of support that helps you feel good, proud and strong.
Try one (or all) of these 8 Minute Meltdowns for your daily dose of strong 🙂