Here’s the deal. If we’re lucky, we’re going to grow to a nice, ripe, old age. Even though I imagine most of us are grateful for that, it seems we are also in a constant battle with the consequences. As a result, our body images can take a major hit.
Most of us struggled with certain elements of our body, starting when we were young. And at that age we could be so insecure and wigged out over so many things. As I’ve aged, I’m happy to have found some level of acceptance with my body. Yes, I have Barney Rubble feet, and my never shapely arms have definitely become even less shapely over the years. But getting hung up on those things does nothing to change them. In fact it can turn into a hamster wheel of driving you crazy.
That said, there are things that I can do to make myself feel better … and feel better about how I look. I’ve met women who put a lot of effort into trying to turn back the clock; and I’ve met women who’ve clearly given up and let themselves go. And neither seem to be really happy with where they are.
I guess I land somewhere in the middle of that. No, I’m never going to have narrow, pretty feet. Even with a bunch of exercise, it’s unlikely I’ll have Kelly Ripa’s arms. And I’ll always have a pot belly. Frankly, I’m okay with that. I have accepted those things, and instead of beating myself up about them, I focus on being the best version of me. I remind myself that I can always recommit and I can always bring what I have let slip back to an acceptable (for me) place.
For me, it’s not so much about how I look, as how I feel. I know that I feel better – physically and mentally – when I’m good to my body … when I exercise regularly and eat healthy. And, I always put a priority on hygiene and taking care of myself … of what I do have. I get regular pedicures and manicures (or give them to myself at home). I take care of my skin. And while I don’t always wear makeup, I do find that when I actually take some time to get ready (vs. running around in my workout clothes all day), my whole mood shifts. Those little things do matter and can go along way in maintaining a happy, healthy body image.
But it doesn’t stop there. Beauty really does come from the inside out, so you have to take care of your soul too. Do things that make your soul happy. My mother in law dances – sure, its great exercise, but she’s not in it for that. She does it for the sheer joy it brings her. And that joy just exudes from her. Sometimes I just stand outside, with my face toward the sun, and take a deep breath and appreciate the day, my life, my family … fill myself up with that warmth.
Sometimes being good to me means being good to someone else. As I’ve shared here before, I am a big advocate of giving back … finding a way (ever so small) I can give back. In doing so, I’ve discovered the added surprise bonus is it helps to focus my energy on someone else. Sometimes that can change your whole perspective. Volunteer for a charity or do something for someone else. For me it’s CASA. When I spend time helping other people and get the focus off myself, I feel like my whole world opens up. I’m too busy to worry about the minutiae of my own life or whatever else is bogging me down at the moment, and it seems to put my life in a better perspective.
I’ve never been much of a planner, but I have also found that when I’m feeling blue or have lost the normal spring in my step … I just have to set some goals, make a plan and recommit. I did that a while back with exercise – I committed to going 30 day in a row, no matter what. And man, what a difference that made.
You can get paralyzed in funks or feel like a victim in a situation, which ALWAYS makes me feel TERRIBLE. But I have found that in all things in life, if I’m proactive things will get better. The way out for me is that I make a long list of things to do … too many to actually get done. And then I get started crossing them off. Usually, before I’m halfway down the page, my funk will have passed.
We live in a time that is social media driven. How often do you see people, out in public, posing for what you know is their Facebook or Instragram post. I think it has made us slightly obsessed with how we look in photos, etc. Something to think about …
Speaking of social media, I saw an Instagram post this week that really got me thinking about the role we play in our children’s body images. When I was growing up, my mother was always heavy, but she never talked about it. She didn’t complain or obsess about it, so I didn’t grow up thinking about it. And with my own daughter, my husband in particular would always tell her how bright and capable she was before telling her how cute she was. I think those things matter, and I think it’s important to put a positive image forward … and I have always tried to lead by that example.
This month, as we see hearts and love all around us, I thought we could turn that love around and give a little (or a lot) to ourselves. So I am excited to have partnered with Skin Deep Laser Medspa and Kathy Schuh photography to promote positive body images and celebrate self love in a social media campaign. Let’s focus on ourselves in a positive way.
And as you all join in on our little love fest, PLANK will be focused on it too. We’ll have some fun guest bloggers and I encourage you all to join in on the conversation.
The bottom line is we have one life and one body, and we have to do more than accept it … we have to love it!