A study was done by Glamour magazine a few years ago, but the results are just as relevant today as they were in 2011. According to their research team, women have around 13 negative thoughts about their bodies daily. The magazine decided to ask women across the country to note every negative or anxious thought they had about their bodies over the course of one full day. The results were surprising.
A staggering 97% of women admitted to having at least one “I hate my body” moment daily. But there was a disturbing number of women who confessed to having 35, 50 and even up to 100 hateful thoughts about their own shapes each day. Think about that for a second. Up to 100 hateful thoughts about their own bodies every single day.
We can be our harshest critics. In an instant, our inner ‘mean girl’ rears her judgmental head when we take a look at ourselves in the mirror. That inner voice: she’s always judging, always disapproving, always there to remind us that we’re not good enough. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.
I’m so fat.
I hate my thighs.
I wish I had a flatter stomach.
Look at my nose.
My teeth are so crooked.
I wish I could look like her.
If only I could change this about myself – I’d be so much prettier, so much happier.
Every woman alive is gorgeous. This is why we are called “individuals”. We are not born to fit into a certain mold or body type. You need to own your body. And more importantly, love it. It’s time to bury the idea of perfection. Look at yourself and say, “I am beautiful.” Why? Because you are! There is only one you in this world. It’s time you start recognizing how wonderful you are. Your blend of traits, personality, and qualities are all unique to you. You are one of a kind.
Just as you are special in your own way, so is every other girl around you. There are no exceptions. Every woman alive deserves the right to be and feel beautiful. She is allowed to be comfortable and confident in her own skin without having to worry about what others will say about her body. Body shaming goes both ways.
Back in mid-July, Dani Mathers, a Playboy model, faced public backlash after fat shaming a naked woman in the gym by posting a photo of her on her Snapchat Story. She shared an image of the unsuspecting woman along with a photo of her hand covering her face with the caption: “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either!”
In an article published in the Daily Mail, it was noted that Mathers responded with this statement: “I chose to do what I do for a living because I love the female body and I know body shaming is wrong, that’s not what I’m about and this is not the type of person I am. The photo was taken as part of a personal conversation with a girlfriend and because I am new to Snapchat I didn’t realize I had posted it, and that was a huge mistake.” Well Ms. Mathers, whether it was meant to be public or private, it’s still body shaming.
We need to stop this. Right now.
We are not here for a competition. It’s time to be kind to ourselves and to be kind to each other. We need to embrace our differences and appreciate them. Look in the mirror and tell yourself what you love. If you notice something you love about a woman you see, let her know! Let’s build each other up instead of knocking one another down. It is an empowering thing to witness women appreciating women, the ability to recognize our differences and fall in love with the uniqueness of us all. But the ability to recognize these things in others means we must first be able to recognize it within ourselves. We must love from the inside out.
We have to have confidence that we are good enough. Whether we set goals for ourselves and meet them, exceed them, or take longer than expected to reach them. Even if we never reach them, we need to stop considering it a failure. Life is about the journey and the process. Our mission is to glean from every success as well as every failure the life lessons hidden within. Whether you see it or not, you’ve changed in the process. And change is growth. No matter what you look like, no matter what you feel like. Strong is sexy. Skinny is sexy. Curvy is sexy. Being different is sexy. Being you is sexy.
If we find ourselves judging others, shaming others, what does that really say? We all have our own life, our own journey, and our own self-image. We have a right to stay the same or the right to change just as long as we are treating our bodies with love and care in whatever way it works for us.
You can accept who you are right in this moment and still choose to make changes. Or, you can choose not to. That’s the beauty of it. It’s all up to you. And if you do it, do it for no one else but you and love yourself through the process. Remember, every woman has an inner bombshell. Sometimes, you just need a little help dusting her off from the standards placed upon us from society and the media.