I've been a player in this self-love journey for a while now. I'm no rookie. But there are still moments, days and weeks where I feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I'm thankful that I am aware of these moments rather than a constant unconscious state of being as it used to be, but it still leaves a sinking feeling in my gut when it happens.
Most recently I tossed on my bikini to hang out at the pool while on a mini holiday in California. That was fine. I have surrounded myself with imagery of real bodies and strictly limited the amount of photoshopped and unrealistic images from my daily life. I can rock a bikini, no problem. As I settled into my lounge chair and pulled out my book, a beautiful blonde caught my eye. Flat stomach, lean body, no stretch marks, and all the makings of a southern California surf babe. I took a deep breath and reminded myself that she's young and doesn't have kids so we can't possibly compare bodies or lives (Yes, looking back I know that I shouldn't compare because I shouldn't compare, but hey, even I get caught up in the moment). Then she came around to the small pool directly in front of my chair WITH HER THREE YOUNG CHILDREN. Oh boy did that ugly feeling start bubbling up inside of me.
I felt embarrassed. I felt jealous. I felt judged. I became hyper aware of my stomach rolls and stretch marks. I adjusted my body to try to smooth out my belly and thighs. Then I caught myself and the whirlwind of emotions that was surrounding me reminded myself.....
Yes, she was indeed thinner that I am. She carried less body fat and fewer stretch marks. She has beautiful long blonde hair and belongs in an advertisement for Athleta or some other expensive beach shit. But so what?
That does not make me any less of a human. Her beauty does not make me a crappy mom or unloving partner. All the wonderful things about me exist because I am me. Not because anyone else determines my worth. Yep. My belly was rolling over my bikini bottom. But so what? No puppies were injured during my trip to the pool. My stretch marks didn't contribute to global climate change and my thighs didn't cause any physical harm. So why did I feel so terrible about myself in that moment when I was beaming with happiness and gratitude just a few minutes before? Any negative thoughts I was having were mine and mine alone. If they only exist in my head, why should I allow them to make me miserable? Friends, there is starvation, sex trafficking, and endangered animals. There are hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing their war-torn countries with nothing but the dirty clothes on their backs. Our bellies simply don't matter in the grand scheme of things.
Next time that you start to feel upset at your reflection in the mirror, ask yourself "so what?" If you can sort through the thicket of emotional baggage, the answer is usually that your [fill in the blank] doesn't meet the arbitrary standards placed on us by society. And ladies, you are SO MUCH MORE than a body. You are a mother. A friend. A smiling face to strangers on the street. Someone who is raising and molding the next generation of humans. Now that is what really matters.
If you are ready to embrace your inner "zero f*cks given" rebel self, join our community of women on the same journey as you. This whole health and happiness gig is a lot easier with friends! Join us here!