“I have struggled with my body image for the past couple years. I don’t think that I am fat, I would just like to be thinner and more toned. All I want is to be less insecure about my body, I would love to look like you! It’s just so hard being surrounded by all these girls who are twigs all the time.”
I get emails like this all the time. Heck, most of us girls have conversations like this with ourselves more often then we let on. But jealousy and insecurity are ugly little emotions that we aren’t supposed to show, so we keep up the negative talk with ourselves and wish to be like the ‘perfect’ girls with confidence and flat abs.
But is the skinnier girl working out next to you in class perfectly confident and happy with her body? Chances are, you are not as different than that girl as you might think.
I am a self-declared perfectionist, and with that comes higher expectations of myself then any sane person would ever ask of me. To say I’m my worst critic is an understatement. I cringe when asked what my favorite part of my body is, yet I have a readily available long list of my faults if you were to inquire. Yet, I am in a position (and a career) where some girls look up to me and aspire to have my physique-like the girl in the email above.
That got me thinking. If I don’t think I’m perfect regardless of how many others think I am, where does that stop? Does the same go for the A-list actresses, Victoria Secret’s models and other ‘perfect’ creatures? Maybe everyone can get a comparison hangover after idealizing someone else at the expense of our own body image.
The other day I was sitting in a room all day with gorgeous models (we were all hired and in a holding room waiting to work) and it hit me. I was the new girl to the bunch, so I quietly observed and subsequently beat myself up because they had skinnier legs and bigger boobs and thought to myself, “Man, if I just looked like that…”
And then it started. They learned what I did and the questions (that went on for hours) sounded like this “how do you get your butt like that? What exercises should I do? I want my stomach to be flatter, what can’t I eat?” And on and on. I was shocked that these girls with the bodies I admired had their own set of insecurities, and a wish-list a mile long that they would change about themselves.
The secret to being less insecure about your body isn’t to get the body you think you want, it’s to love the body you have-and work hard to make it the best it can be.
Remember these rules (and some tough love) to set your mind free:
It takes practice. If we could fix a habit with the snap of our fingers, life would be a lot easier. You are not going to wake up tomorrow after reading this and all the sudden not have the urge to critique your stomach or thighs. BUT FIGHT THE URGE. Practice complimenting yourself every time you look in the mirror, find something you like about your body, and check yo-self out girl! Tough love: If you don’t love your body who will? Wasting time on all that negative self-talk is only hurting yourself-it doesn’t make you skinnier and it doesn’t make skinnier girls fatter, so what’s the point? When you are 35 you will wish you had more confidence at 25 so have it now!
Embrace your genetics. I have athletic legs and a round butt. I will never have a 4-inch gap between my legs no matter how clean I eat or how much I workout. It’s time to accept it. Genetics plays a large role in our musculature (a six pack vs. that line done the middle of a flat tummy, athletic legs vs. long and lean) and although healthy eating and exercising can maximize our physique, certain things are beyond our control. Tough love: Stop putting pictures of physiques that just aren’t possible to attain on your vision board. Look for motivation in pictures that actually resemble your frame and strive for attainable yet ideal goals. If you are 5’5″ (like me), longing for Victoria Secret four-foot legs is a waste of time and just not gonna happen. So stoooppp it.
Don’t think about it, be about it. It’s time to use your mental energy towards working on your best body rather than thinking about what you wish it was. If you are busy being active, working out, enjoying your life and nourishing your body with healthy food you won’t have as much time to compare yourself to all of the Instagram selfsies that clog up your feed.
Remember everyone has a story. “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone’s else’s highlight reel”-Steve Furtick. Don’t be unnecessarily hard on yourself looking at edited photos of their favorite shot just because you know what your worst shot looks like. Tough Love: Break up with your story, it’s holding you back. And don’t compare yourself to other people because you don’t know their story. If you admire something about someone, compliment it- it might make their day because they may be hard on themselves too.
I dare you to love what you see in the mirror.