Let’s face it: we live in a body-obsessed culture. On one hand, extreme thinness has been a beauty trend for decades, and it sometimes seems like long, lean limbs will never go out of style. On the flip side, there’s been a lot more inclusion of curvy girls in the industry lately, and the bit of diversity is long overdue. But my concern is that some of these curvier images we’re celebrating aren’t setting a realistic or attainable ideal for everyone either.
Don’t get me wrong—I’m all for women doing what they need to do to feel confident in their appearance. But things get tricky when that confidence is wrapped up in society’s definition of what’s beautiful. After all, that definition is a moving target, so can we ever really achieve “perfection”?
In a word: no! So instead of striving for a constantly-changing goal, I think it’s time we all take a hard look at our individual relationships with ourselves rather than trying to change our bodies to appeal to others or fit the “look” of the moment.
My Body Confidence Journey
I originally got involved in sports because they gave me a tribe and a place to fit in—not to mention, they’re a lot of fun! I was six-feet-tall at 12 years-old, and I reached my full-grown height of 6’3” by age 15. Needless to say, I didn’t fit in, and I didn’t see anyone with my physique gracing the pages of Vogue. The combination of entering the sports world and being a “big” girl created a perfect storm; a storm that could’ve either kicked my butt or pushed me to re-think my idea of beauty and body confidence.
I chose the latter. Instead of agonizing over the question, “How do I look in these jeans?,” I started asking myself, “What can this body do? How high can it jump? How hard can it hit that white ball? What kind of adventures can it take me on?” I realized that I inhabit my body, but I am not defined by my body. My body is my avatar for this journey called life and a miracle machine that does awe-inspiring processes.
If I really stop and think about what the human body accomplishes each day, I get flashes of amazement. And don’t even get me started on the mind-blowing experience of having my daughters!
Make 2018 Your Body Confidence Year
All I’m trying to say is that as we plow through our days, judging ourselves and how we look, or struggling to lose that last ten pounds or achieve a flatter tummy, maybe we could give ourselves a break and look at our whole selves. That idea of embracing all parts of who we are is the reason every great guru or expert discusses mind, body, and spirit—each one of us is made up of so much more than a “bikini body” (whatever that means).
Do I catch myself acting vain sometimes? Sure. But having a deep, forgiving, and compassionate relationship with my whole self helps liberate me from being ruled by my looks, my age (which I can’t control), or what others think about my body.
And reader, you are a beautiful spirit and a badass machine too, so don’t you ever forget it.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.