I recently wrote an article for work, and while I was doing research, I came across something that’s really changed my perspective. I can’t remember where I saw it (though if I find it, I’ll post the source), but it said something along the lines of, “Never say anything about yourself that you wouldn’t say to your sister, mother, or your best friend.” And it had me thinking.
I’m part of an accountability group on Facebook with Beachbody coaches and new Internet friends who are on a journey to change their body, their health, and, in turn, their lives. They log on every morning and post what their day was like before, and they spend the rest of their days eating well, working out, and filling their bodies with fresh water. We often share “sweaty selfies” either as proof of working out or as a way to show how hard we are working. We encourage and motivate each other in the evenings and put out the reminder that with hard work, the results will be worth it.
When I scroll through the group, I sometimes catch myself jealous of my friend Maja’s incredible, flat stomach or so-and-so’s perfectly tones arms or another so-and-so’s amazing, makeup-free skin. Of course, I admire their hard work and their clean eating, but it’s so hard not to be jealous of the body you wish you could attain immediately. I try not to fall into this trap often, but I’m just as guilty as the next woman of comparing myself and picking apart the different parts of other women’s bodies and wishing I could simply switch them out with my own as easily as I change my clothes or style my hair.
But then I remember that quote. And I think about my daughter, Isla. And I realize I don’t want her to say things about her body that she would never say to me; to her future sibling; to her best friend.
It seems so innocent to say we hate our thighs or wish so badly that our butt wasn’t flat or that we don’t understand why we just can’t get our shit together. But it’s not innocent. Remember “Mean Girls” talking about girl-on-girl crimes? Well, it still counts if you say it about yourself. You’d never tell your sister that she should really do some squats or tell your best friend that her arms look huge in that Facebook photo. You’d never tell your daughter that her body is just a total disaster. Ground Zero. An unfixable mess. So why do we say it to ourselves?
It needs to stop.
I posted this photo of myself—makeup-free, unedited, gross and sweaty from my workout, and totally vulnerable with my least favorite part of my body, my stomach, on display—to the Facebook accountability group this morning. After my c-section a little under a year and a half ago, there’s loose skin that I wish was tighter and stretch marks where I wish there was perfect skin, but there are things I can’t change and things I can. So while I learn to eat better and exercise more, I’ve realized I can be a little gentler with myself. I don’t have to talk about the things I hate, but rather, I can talk about the things I like. My stomach may not be close to “perfect,” but I have a core strong enough to hold difficult yoga poses. I may not be the strongest person who can run the furthest distance, but my petite frame never tires of holding my daughter, and I don’t get exhausted from playing with her for hours on end.
We all have something we love about ourselves, so let’s focus on that. What do you love?