Raise your hand if:
You only wear your most flattering leggings to work out in public (because the shame! You might have cellulite that someone can see).
You don’t wear leggings for workouts at all, and it’s not a comfort thing, you just don’t think you can “pull them off” (Spoiler alert: you can).
You come up with something negative about yourself to counter just about every compliment you receive, especially from other females.
You start important conversations with “this may be a dumb idea but”…
You can’t go outside without your “face”. (Eyebrows, false eyelashes, full contouring, what have you). And not because you feel beautiful wearing it, but because you’re terrified of what you look like without it. (Spoiler alert: you look great.)
You feel badly about yourself on a regular basis because of something physical.
You look in the mirror to mentally pick apart your self perceived flaws, not to celebrate yourself.
You use workouts as a punishment for food, not food as fuel for workouts.
Looking back on this list, I think it’s safe to say that there are many, many women out there who can check off multiple things on this list. And unfortunately, this is not an all inclusive list of the ways that women knock themselves down daily. And for some, these are daily occurrences, more the norm than the exception. So the question here is:
Why do we feel that we are offending the world if they see our cellulite? Why do we feel the need to mentally preface our ideas and comments in the work world? Why do we think that we are not worthy of public visibility without a full face of makeup? And why oh why do we punish our bodies with workouts and mentally tear ourselves to shreds just because we are not “picture perfect”?
To be totally transparent here, this post came about because I almost didn’t post a workout video in my Moms Empowered Facebook community the other day because the leggings I was wearing in the video are less than flattering, especially on camera. A place that I preach is a safe space, an uplifting place, an EMPOWERING space for myself and other moms, and I felt that I wasn’t worthy of posting my video. Why? Because thighs, that’s why. And I’m slightly ashamed to admit it. But the thing is, no matter how much we work on our self worth when it comes to aesthetics, for many of us there will always be that nagging voice in the back of our head that pushes us to hide these videos, cover up those thighs, dress in all black just to hide the imperfections.
The key, though, is not to necessarily learn how to shut that voice off completely, but to be able to reason with it. For me, I had to come back to the video after a few days and re-view it with new eyes. I had to remind myself of what I preach to others — of progress, not perfection, and re-shape the way that I saw myself in that video. We’re all working towards something, and I’m certainly no exception. I’m not perfect, not by a long shot.
But that practice of rehashing your thoughts is one that can help a lot of us through these negativity practices that we have so deeply ingrained in ourselves. Stop avoiding clothes (especially workout clothes) just because you think other people might not find them the most flattering on you. Stop putting on make up because you think that other people need to see you that way. Stop looking in the mirror with preconceived notions of perfection and then berating yourself when you don’t measure up.
Make a plan, revisit the way that you think about these things, and set small action steps to change the way you are treating yourself.
Pledge to go just one day at work without negatively prefacing any of your ideas. Promise yourself for just ONE DAY that for every compliment you receive, you will simply smile and say “thank you” (and on the inside, you can jump for joy and shout HELL YES!! because you have worked hard for those arms, darn it!). And you know what? It might be really uncomfortable. The urge to demean compliments about ourselves is so ingrained, it can become physically uncomfortable to accept (and maybe even celebrate) a compliment at it’s face value. But to embrace that discomfort is to begin to see your own worth, and that is one of the most valuable things we can offer ourselves.
Do a grocery run without your full face of makeup. And while you’re there, smile at people, walk with your shoulders back, and act like you’re the mother-effing queen of that grocery store. You don’t need contouring or eye liner to make you worthy of being out in public.
Stick some positive post-it notes to your mirror, so that for every negative thought that creeps into your head, a positive or uplifting message will be shouting right back at you.
These things are just small steps, but they could be the small steps that add up to a few of you feeling a little bit more worthy, a little bit more confident, and a little bit more kick ass (because you are, all of you are.) And what I’m not saying is that we all need to burn our bras, stop shaving our legs and go make up free forever. I do love some good eyeliner, I’ll tell ya! And when something makes you feel good about yourself, it’s a wonderful thing. But the thing that does need to go is that negative mind set.
The only thing you need to remember is that you are enough just the way you are. And if you want to be better in your own eyes, then by all means, do what makes you feel good. But do it for you, not for them.