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I was reading this article and it said, “To display cleavage in a setting that does not involve cocktails requires that a woman be utterly at home in her skin.“ And I thought “What? Really?”
See, I show my cleavage in the gym and there’s no booze involved, just a tank top and a protein shake. Also, I show my cleavage at the pool, and sometimes on a regular old weekday in a v-neck for really no reason at all. (Shocking, I know. Just another Mammary Monday.)
Then I realized, “OH. I am utterly at home in my own skin.” That’s what the writer was talking about. And while I think I carried most of that self-confidence from early childhood, it’s also been a process because society does bombard all of us (women and men) with messages about our bodies and how those bodies are “supposed” to look.
And this made me think about all those women who cover their cleavage or their legs or their arms not because they’re religious or naturally modest or in a workplace or school setting, etc., but because these women have some ambivalence about their bodies or some part of their bodies. They’re not utterly at home in their own skin. I can understand that. I’ve been that way. There are times in life when I’ve been embarrassed by my badonkadonk or not overly proud of my sturdy peasant ankles. (I had cankles when cankles weren’t cool. Oh wait. They’re still not.)
Yet, here’s the thing: you can reach a point of being utterly at home in your own skin, even if your skin and your body are not what society would deem “perfect.” It takes some work on your own mindset—and the more you adjust your mindset, the more you’ll feel at home in your body and the more you’ll want to move your body. And then the better life gets all around.
So, here are 8 things I would love to say to women who don’t love their bodies:
I know it doesn’t feel that way all time. “Me? Beautiful?” But you are. My guess is that your loved ones see you as more beautiful than you see yourself. Borrow their eyes if you need to, and make a mental adjustment. You are beautiful.
2.) Whatever part of your body that you dislike? There’s probably someone else who envies it.
I was on the Reverse Hyper at the gym the other day, which means I was face down on a piece of equipment with my prodigious buttocks on display to the world as I grunted and moved the weight with my legs. Not exactly the most confident pose for anyone. As I slid off the equipment somewhat self-conscious, my young and beautiful training partner said, “Wow. Your ass and hammies are huge. Amazing.” She didn’t see my ass-ets as too big, she saw them as powerful, which they are.
3.) Whoever contributed to you feeling bad about any part of your body? They were wrong.
Delete those files from your brain. Why are you saving them? You get to determine how you feel about yourself, not somebody else and their careless words. Delete those files.
4.) Try this instead: Find one good thing to say about a part of your body that you don’t like.
If you don’t like your ass, think “It helps me to squat more.” If you don’t like your stomach, think “It was a soft place for my baby to nap.” Use anything you can. The trick is to stop disparaging and start appreciating. You can’t change your body as quickly as you can change your mind. Take advantage of that opportunity.
5.) Working works better for your mind than complaining, so get up and get moving.
If you’re out of breath or you have 200 pounds on your back, it’s harder to get down on yourself. Go for a walk or a run and let nature and movement change your thoughts. Appreciate that your body helps you to do these things.
- Squat often.
- Squat heavy if you can.
Squats can be like magic, but you have to believe.
If you can’t squat? Find something else as potent for building mental and physical strength.
7.) You know what looks good on every body type? Happiness.
Happiness looks good on everyone. Find out how to be truly happy, and your body image will improve too. As Eckhart Tolle writes in “The Power of Now”, “If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.”
8.) Remember that you are not alone.
No one has avoided body image issues all of her life. We all struggle at some point. You have company. Talk to other people. Seek out the ones who have light in their eyes and seem to be really enjoying life. They can help.
Here’s to feeling utterly at home in your own skin with not a cocktail in sight!
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