Let’s face it, being a woman is hard.
I feel like there is no other way to start this post. It’s a truth that for some women gets easier over time but never quite goes away. Scrolling through Instagram, I’ve trained myself to think.
“I love her edgy rocky looker but not for me.”
“Dang, she is rocking those stiletto heels, but I’m not going to bother because I’m sure I would trip.”
“She’s so cute in that nautical print, even though I don’t own many preppy clothes.”
We need to accept that other women who have completely different body types, sense of style and ways of thinking are perfectly unique and worth being celebrated.
“‘Good for her! Not for me.’ That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. Good for her! Not for me.”
― Amy Poehler, Yes Please
I was inspired to write this blog post after a very dear friend in my life recently opened up to me about experiencing body image issues. The truth is, we rarely ever see ourselves the way others see us. Instead, we are so quick to cut down our intelligence, beauty, or brains after believing lies society tells us. I know this is a different type of post for my site but I think it’s a message that needs to be repeated again and again.
Even some of the skinniest girls I know say their size doesn’t make them any happier. NO ONE has a perfect body. And if you think they do, they won’t believe you. That’s the twisted game from the beauty and fashion industry with toxic messaging where no one wins. There is SO much more to us than our jean size.
But here’s the thing about being nervous at the pool or class or even your workspace. No one else is looking at you as much as you think they are. We truly are our own worst critics! Your cellulite or stretch marks should have absolutely no control over how hard you laugh or how big you smile. We all deserve happiness and a number on the scale should be the last thing holding us back from living our best life. Whether you’ve been told you’re too big or too small there is always a spot for you at my imaginary pool party!
People’s reaction to me is sometimes “Uch, I just don’t like her. I hate how she thinks she is so great.” But it’s not that I think I’m so great. I just don’t hate myself. I do idiotic things all the time and I say crazy stuff I regret, but I don’t let everything traumatize me. And the scary thing I have noticed is that some people really feel uncomfortable around women who don’t hate themselves. So that’s why you need to be a little bit brave.
― Mindy Kaling, Why Not Me?
True Life: I am a recovering people pleaser
If I’m being totally honest with all of you, I am guilty of being a people pleaser. I have improved by leaps and bounds but I still suffer from sometimes caring too much about what other people think about me. I have been a size 8 for as long as I can remember. My friend Hannah and I joke that we skipped the Justice phase altogether and went straight to juniors clothing. Therefore, I have never ever ever been a size zero *or anything close. But now, I really don’t care. I’m not going to lie when I say that really bothered middle school me. In fact, I don’t think I could have written a blog post this transparent anytime before college.
However, I have learned that I am not the only one and that by letting others hold me back from my goals, I am just giving in to their power. I once read a quote that went something like “instead of walking into a room and wondering if anyone likes you, question whether you like any of them.” Yes, it’s blunt but it was mind changing for a freshman in college like me that went through life trying to get perfect grades, fit in with any crowd, and just follow the rules. I hope the following tips can help you no matter where you are on your self-love journey.
Tips to cut negativity out of your life
- Unfollow toxic people
If there is a certain someone whose posts always make you feel down about yourself then you have no reason to be reminded of them on the daily! This applies to celebrities you follow on the gram or people IRL. It could be anything from bikini pics of an unattainable body image or negative talk about others. If there is someone that does nothing but bring you down maybe cut your time with them and see if your mental health improves. By surrounding yourself with truly happy and motivated people (or who are at least trying) on and offline you will see yourself become challenged to grow.
- Start making positive change
What are some of your biggest dreams? Who or what has been holding you back from tackling those projects? Sure, face masks are great! Like, really I love a good cucumber mask. But self-care is about more than taking time to pamper yourself. Sometimes, it can be really hard. We will never achieve our biggest goals without first pushing ourselves to fight on. What would you chase after if you know you couldn’t fail? Whatever fuels your fire, go after that.
- Set an example
It’s true that you attract your tribe. If you don’t want to be around people that judge others for trying, then stop doing it yourself! We are all guilty at times but the only one in charge of your own happiness is you. Own who you are and don’t let anyone try to belittle you by making you think you are too short, too loud, or too anything. Set an example for those who come after you that they can win by being themselves too.
What if you have been given the circumstances you are facing because you have a gift to empathize with and help others going through a similar issue?
Wow, let that sink in. I know growing up I hated anything that made me different. Whether it was my bright red hair or that my cheeks turned rosy after anyone pointed me out. But as I’m growing up I’m realizing what makes me different sets me apart. Whether it’s that I perceive things differently than others, am trying to continue to see life with a creative lens, or that I’m striving for a life I love. But most of all that I show others they can do it too.
This is real, this is me, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, yeah? Just kidding, that’s a Demi Lovato tween anthem. But really, think about what lies society or people may have had you believe to try and knock you down. Then crush those thoughts and become the person you dreamed of.
Also, ditch the idea of ever getting “bikini ready” because you’re ready to tackle life right here, right now. And there are a lot more things to get ready for than what strangers think of you on a hot summer day.
Alexa, play Biscuits by Kacey Musgraves. Cheers!