This past summer I was at a bbq pool party. As we sat down to eat I noticed a woman wearing a thong bikini.
My initial reaction was, “Omg, why would she wear that to a community bbq” and then I thought, “Omg stop, she can wear whatever the hell she wants. It’s not my place to judge”, and then, “Omg, her ass is literally perfect, as is the rest of her body”, and finally, “Omg why am I the frumpiest fitness coach alive”.
All these thoughts crossed my mind in a matter of 1.5 seconds. And soon after the guilt and disappointment set it. Disappointment in myself for:
1. Judging this woman for what she chose to wear, when it’s absolutely none of my business what she puts on her body.
2. Yes, her ass was good, but I mean what constitutes the “perfect” body anyways?
3. For thinking such negative thoughts about my own self worth. And that my abilities as an health and fitness coach could be based on how I look.
Gah! It’s not easy being a woman, right? These types of thoughts go through our head All.The.Time.
We find ourselves judging other women.
We cling to the ideal “perfect” body and then feel bad about ourselves for not looking that way. At some point in my life (maybe from years of playing with Barbie?) I told myself that the ideal woman was tall...with long legs. And yes, the woman at the pool party had long legs. I on the other hand do not. So there are days when I feel “less than ideal” or not quite “womanly” because of it. But then I remind myself that they may not be long, but my legs are strong. And they’ve helped me climb up mountains.
We lose confidence when a taller, thinner, more toned, younger, [insert desired adjective here], woman walks in the room.
I’m here to remind you, it’s all okay.
This kind of acceptance, gratitude for our bodies, loving what we see reflected back to us in a mirror, doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a practice that we need to work at every single day. It means letting go of “shoulds” and unattainable expectations we’ve put on ourselves. Working through (and breaking down) food issues and dieting beliefs. And most importantly, calling ourselves out when we start thinking bullshit like I was at the pool party.
To help you “tone up”, scratch that, “bulk up big time ” your self esteem muscle, I want you to do the following things for me.
Write down all the stories you’ve told yourself over the years of what the “ideal” woman should look like. This can be words, adjectives, or just a huge brain dump.
Reread what you wrote and then I want you to release it. Burn it. Rip it up. Shred it. Whatever you need to do. Release it.
Write down 3 things you can tolerate (or gasp), maybe even really (really) like about your body. Yes, these can be things that your body is capable of, but I also want at least 1 of the 3 to be something about your appearance.
Hang up what you wrote down in #3. Somewhere where you’ll see it each day (bathroom mirror?) And reread it every time you see it.
Every few weeks I want you to make yourself a new list of 3 things. Hang it beside the previous list.
Will this make you instantly love yourself? No, not immediately, but it’s a great place to start.
Your (and mine) reminder for the day, we’re literally the ideal women. Just as we are right now. My wish for you is that you soon start to see it.