Shifting perceptions on how you see yourself in the mirror
“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.”
-Steve Paraboli: Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
We thought that the television was already bringing enough images of super model looks making it so prominent that many women across the world feel insecure about themselves. More and more, bodies and images are flocking everywhere, not just on the television now but in social media as well, causing pressure in females and males included to look a certain way to embody what they think “skinny” or “fit” truly is. “Fitspo” accounts throughout all social media platforms idolize fit, shredded figures making people who aren’t in that route feel less than worthy because they are not that fit or skinny (I’m clearly not a fan of that word).
What is this doing to our collective consciousness?
It makes us unhappy as we sit there and dream to have someone else’s body, someone else’s life and evidently someone else’s journey. Discriminating and criticizing our own without realizing that
The only place you can start with is Self love. The journey isn’t someone’s else, the journey belongs to you.
When you come to love your body and the skin you’re in at any size and any shape, you’ll start to notice some very interesting things about the perspectives of the world you live in. I thought it would be eye opening for me to personally share a series of events that took place this past month that may perhaps shift your perception.
So I took care of a family friend’s dog for a few days while she went on vacation, and she happens to be an amazing masseuse. Instead of paying me money, she invited me to come to her spa so that she could me a sweet massage. I saw her over the summer right after I did the first ever fitness and fashion show of my life as I was seeking to burst out my own bubble of hardships. I was the most toned, lean and fit I’ve ever been in my life. When I came into her place recently, she immediately commented on how much my face was glowing. Then I proceeded to remove my sweater, and she said “Wow, you look amazing! More than 98% of America would kill to look like you. And to be honest, this look suits you more than how were over summer .” ( I put on some healthy gains since then)
So fast forward to this week, I went to a massive meeting in school (2 more months to go, whoop!). I had on my workout capris and a regular sweater. After the meeting, some beautifully thick Puerto Rican girls that I haven’t seen in a while went up to me to say hi as they stared me up and down, with their jaws dropped and asked to touch my thigh. “Omg, that’s all muscle right there. Omg, that’s crazy. Turn around, Turn around. Omg your butt. How do you that? Teach me.”
Of course I appreciated the kind complements and felt rather humbly flattered. (But when you rest inside your core being, it’s easy to not get inflated) Then yesterday, my mom made some soup and had some friends over so she asked me to come hang out for a little. When I walked in, sure enough, this beautiful Vietnamese women who is very thin were talking about how fat she was and how she’s been fainting because she hasn’t had much to eat in an effort to “diet”.
I send my warm hellos and in return I get this, “Woww Kim Chi (my Vietnamese name), you got soo fat. What happened?”
I just laughed in sheer irony and said “It’s winter, the body naturally holds a little more body fat percentage for insulation, and well my body doesn’t need to be looking great and perfectly leaned out all year round. It’s nothing i’m concerned about. I eat healthy, I work out and I feel great.” =D *smiles*
Then she returns to her conversation about how she’s afraid of food.
As I sat to review the interesting comments that I received from people of different views, it leaves me to this;
No matter what you think you look like, someone else will always think different and you absolutely cannot please everyone.
To a holistic masseuse, I was very healthy looking and fit. To thick, strong boned girls, I was muscular, toned, and firm. To a thin Vietnamese women, I was simply fat and so was my booty (that I don’t mind).
Every set of eyes comes with its own perspective. Therefore, if we focus on trying to perfect the little parts in our body, if we try to chase the physical, if we try to pick out every little “flaw”, we will only wear ourselves down. The journey in health lies in finding out what works for you and being comfortable in your own skin absolutely, no questions, no matter what. Getting fit to please others, or getting fit just to look good or to impress the man in your life will only cause you much fatigue and weariness in the end.
I’ve seen so many of my girlfriends fall into that trap and it leaves them with little to no self worth. And trust me, once in my life, I have surely been there myself. I’ve been on stage with the worlds fittest people and even then, they were extremely tough on themselves despite their rather “perfect” looking figure.
Self confidence comes from being connected with who you are inside.
So the lesson for us all here is to do what works best for who we are in this moment in time and to know that just because something works best right now, doesn’t mean it’ll always work later. More importantly, to focus our attention on doing what makes us happy and not to please others.
I personally enjoy lifting weights because building lean muscle adds prominent benefits to my health versus being overweight or skinny. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment and achievement when I see any kind of progress and it teaches me much about life. But I don’t pick out parts of my body that I don’t like and then proceed to “fix” it. I give my best shot in my workouts, I move my body often and I allow it rest when that’s what it’s telling me. I don’t need to be lean and super toned all year round, and I allow myself to simply flow freely and listen closely to what it wants so that I can serve it. By no means does it matter to me how people perceive me.
To one person, you may look “perfect”, to another you may look “fat”, to another you may look “skinny”. If you keep yourself in response to other people’s perspectives, you’ll easily fall out of place.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
This shocking photo proves that even your own eyes can fool you. It’s sad to see that this is all actually real. That some actually think of themselves far, far off of who they are and what they actually appear to look like. To the point where it brings them deep into the bones, physically and emotionally.
Does it really matter?
What you see in the mirror or what you see on the scale isn’t a representation of who you are and what really, truly matters. It doesn’t tell you how beautiful you are, how funny you are, how intelligent you are, how sincere you are, and how big your heart is. The importance lies in working out because you want to be healthy and because you want take care of yourself so that the older version of you will thank you later.
For this week, practice what it means to love yourself unconditionally for every particle of your being. When you invest your energy and direct them to your inner world, your outter world will look a lot more beautiful because your reasons for doing the things you do involves your own desires and no one else’s. What counts is who you are inside and how big your heart is. Commit to fitness and health because it makes you feel amazing, not to impress anyone else.
Celebrate that you’re alive and well.
Celebrate your flaws and “imperfections”.
Celebrate your curves if you’re thick and your skin if your skinny.
Celebrate simply that you have a body for it’s the only place you have to live.
No matter your size, your shape, your color, you are beautiful in your very own special way. Love yourself for it.
That’s where some of the greatest changes took place in my life, I started with Self love and I hope that today, you can too.
Love and light,