Loving Ourselves — and Our Bodies
Show me a woman with no insecurities and I’ll show you a cat with a dog’s personality.
Even those most confident and successful with self-image, I feel sure, see bits about themselves they pick apart from time to time.
My arms are flabby.
I’ve got to lose weight.
I’m not tall enough.
The pores on my face aren’t small enough.
My stomach is not sexy.
My ears are too huge.
My boobs are too tiny.
I’ve got a weird mole. A gap in my teeth. Hairy forearms.
And so on… These things are said under our breath, or are common in our thoughts, and they become more than detached observation. They grow big enough and strong enough to feel wrong, and to distract us from our greater beauty, and our wholeness.
We spend unnecessary amounts of time fixated on our blemishes, when in truth, we’re usually the only ones who absorb them.
Why are we so critical of ourselves?
Think about your daughters. Your sisters. Your best friends.
Does Becca Jane’s double chin overshadow her tried-and-true integrity?
Is Sonya’s Comedy Central-worthy sense of humor threatened by her overbite?
When was the last time you rolled your eyes at Tina’s thinning hair, or crinkled your nose because of Dominique’s funky toes?
Why should our own imperfections be so big? Weigh so much? We shouldn’t love ourselves any less, or be any less forgiving of our flaws than we are of our daughters’, sisters’, friends’ imperfections. It’d be pretty duplicitous of us.
On our favorite people we see tummy rolls, pock marks, wrinkles, with only detached observation. It doesn’t figure into our assessment of them, because we love them regardless. We love them for their loyalty, for their excellent listening habits, for never hesitating to help, for mad creative skills. Their giant blue eyes catch our attention. We ogle their gorgeous hair. We appreciate the softness of their voice, the strength they show when tested, the way they juggle so much in life like the best of experts.
We see our loves ones’ physical flaws — if even aware of them — as only a small part of their whole being. It’s part of their realness, that’s it, nothing more. And this endears us to them.
Who would Nina be without her trademark frizz? Would anyone recognize Sabrina if she laughed without the snort?
I would never want my girls to be as hard on themselves as I’ve been on myself over the years. One of my daughters has some warts, the other some scars from a childhood virus. These are physical flaws they’re aware of — much in the way I’m aware of the keloid on my ear, and the excess of my body that I see before anything else when I look in the mirror — but my girls are so much more than their “defects.” And so am I. None of those things should get a second thought from us. They add up with lots of other things to make us who we are.
Loving my girls for so many reasons, definable and not, and knowing the kind of confidence I want them to have as they come into their own, has taught me to go easy on myself. Why would I ever talk to myself in a way I’d never think to talk to my sweet girls or my dearest friends?
Why would you?
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” — Buddha