By AMY STOCKWELL
These days we hear so much about what and who we’ve got to be – at home, at work, in private, in public, with our family, with our friends. It’s time-consuming, demanding, stressful and entirely counter-productive.
With all of the pressure that women feel to be a certain way, a list of “Things You Must Do” or “Things You Must Be” in order to have body confidence is likely to send your self-esteem into free fall. So instead of a list of things that you must do, here’s a little reminder of things you aren’t; a list of things that you don’t have to be; and a list of things you don’t have to do in order to feel better about yourself.
Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is brought to you by our partners at Fernwood Fitness. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.
1. You are not your body
You *have* a body. This is quite a different thing. You aren’t your legs, your boobs, your face. You might have legs, boobs and faces, but you aren’t them.
Your body does not define who you are, whether you like your body or not. Your body is your friend, it is your home – but it is not you.
2. You aren’t a photograph
How many times have you looked at an old photograph and thought, “Wow, I didn’t even know how beautiful I was then. I wish I was that beautiful now.”
A few things, here: firstly, you are always better looking in real life than you are in a photo. A photo captures a point in time, but you, as an animated, responsive human being are always going to be much more than that. You’re more beautiful than any photograph tells you (even the ones you like – imagine that!).
Secondly, stop wishing you were the person you were in the past. You are probably remembering that time over-fondly – but even if you aren’t, consider all of the important things you have learned since then. Remember the battles you have fought, the laughs that you’ve had and the challenges that you’ve faced. You may have lost and hurt and changed, but that just makes you more complete, more interesting and more ready for the challenges in the future. The person you are now knows more and is more than the person in the photograph.
Thirdly, in the future, you could be looking at a picture of yourself now and thinking “I wish I realised how great I was back then”. Take a short cut and start thinking you are great now.
3. You aren’t a rental
You own your body. Your body isn’t a rental car that you drive around for a short time and don’t need to understand or appreciate. Your body does some amazing stuff every day – it gets you around, it transforms food into energy, it lifts, twists, swings and dances, and for some women, it grows and nourishes children.
The human body used to be primordial sludge that looked like something you sneezed into a tissue. Now it’s a remarkable machine that science hasn’t even begun to understand.
Stop hating your body and start being impressed by it.
4. You aren’t perfect
There is an Egyptian proverb that says that “A beautiful thing is never perfect”. Flaws, differences, changes, texture, light and dark are what contribute to beauty. There is no single path to beauty in nature or in our lives – and any concept of “perfection” certainly isn’t one of those paths.
Besides, even physical “perfection” is fleeting. A person who is the physical epitome of conventional beauty can say something hateful/racist/sexist and can go from attractive to ugly in your eyes. In the same way, a person can say something to you at the right time or act in a certain way and go from unremarkable to incandescent in an instant.
5. You aren’t an object
From a young age, we are told that our value is based on our outer-shell. And the more that we are told that the important thing is to look good, the more we are likely to start looking at ourselves as objects that should be criticised and upgraded.
You aren’t an object. You are a person. Stop standing outside yourself and criticising what you see. Stained glass windows look average from the outside of buildings. It isn’t until you stand inside with the light shining in that you can see how beautiful they are.
6. You aren’t the problem
Sure, it’s a cliché, but you are, in fact, the solution. Stop buying into talk about how you and others look. Don’t talk yourself (or others) down. Be part of a movement that says that women should not be defined by their appearance. Be part of a culture that says that appearance and gender should have no bearing on success or happiness. Compliment yourself, your children and others on their efforts, achievements, ideas, wisdom, energy, personalities and contributions – rather than their appearance. In doing so, you’ll boost your own confidence and help others to boost theirs.
For nearly 25 years Fernwood has been helping women feel fit and fabulous through pioneering health and fitness programs and expert advice.
With 70 clubs Australia-wide, Fernwood Fitness are modern full-service fitness clubs with a huge range of group exercise classes, top of the line equipment and cardio gear, passionate personal trainers and food coaches, and a friendly motivating environment.
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