The way you identify beauty is one of the biggest ways in which you can learn to accept what is, and love it.
The women who grace the cover of magazines have small waists, long hair and golden skin--when that is all that is glamorized, you begin to think "that is what beauty is".
So when you look in the mirror and see anything other than that small waist, long hair and golden skin you don't even feel close to beautiful.
For years, I associated having a six pack with being beautiful. Every single morning I would wake up and immediately head to the mirror to check out my stomach. Because obviously the six pack gods were going to work their magic while I was sleeping and grant me this "perfect" stomach.
When I would go to the bathroom, if I sat down and had rolls on my stomach I knew that I had to restrict more, because I was getting away from "beauty".
Anytime I didn't have abs, I no longer was beautiful. When I didn't feel beautiful, there was no room for me to love myself. None!
This weird thing happened though, I began to gain some weight last summer. When this happened I started to fill out a pair of my shorts a little differently. My thighs touched. My initial reaction was "Holy shit, this is disgusting." But then I became so gosh damn tired of working SO HARD at being lean, that I stopped going crazy about every piece of food that entered my mouth. Which meant my legs were going to keep touching, and I wasn't going to restrict them back to nothingness.
I began to look at my legs more and more and I would have these waves of deep love for the way they Iooked in them. I felt sexy. I felt powerful for not trying to shrink myself (literally). I enjoyed the way I filled these shorts out now. But then those thoughts would be over taken with "No Rachel, you can't love yourself because your thighs are touching and when you bend over your skin folds over them." . So I shut those beautiful little ideas of self love down that were trying to come out! Ugh, I'm sorry body. II'm sorry for not listening to you sooner.
My idea of beauty lied so deeply in abs and a thigh gap that anything other than that was ugly or a failure.
One day though, those feelings kept rolling around in my mind and heart, wanting so badly to make a home in my head. A new story wanted to be written, one that said I can be beautiful without fitting into society's mold of beauty.
I accepted their invitation to stay. I looked in the mirror one day and said "Okay, I like you". As if I needed to make my relationship with my body Facebook official. I needed to say out loud that I could like something that I deemed not beautiful in the past.
You know what happened? THAT is when I was able to stop comparing myself to other women. That powerful tool of letting go of this high unrealistic view of beauty and deciding that I am my own kind of beautiful was the most powerful thing I've ever done.
It's still something I have to actively choose daily. Thoughts of comparison still pop up in my head sometimes, the difference is that now I know that I get to decide what beauty is and I get to see a woman with long hair, a small waist and golden skin and acknowledge her beauty and wonder, while looking at my short hair, pale skin and birth given hips and love the shit out of myself too.
When you finally realize YOU get to decide what is beautiful, you begin to accept where you are at and finally, you get to experience love within yourself. Because now you realize the magical power you hold and can manifest anytime you need it.
What Do You Need To Stop Doing NOW?
- Keeping society's standard of beautiful in a vaulted lock box inside of your brain.
How Do You Fix That?
- Look at yourself in the mirror, and without thinking of your best-friend, mom, Kate Hudson or anyone else...allow yourself to just be. To see all the parts of you without comparison.
- Get a pen and paper, I want you to write down what you think beauty is. This doesn't have to be all physical it. Mine looks something like: Being kind, confidence, being happy. Because that is what beauty is to me. I just want you to free write (without judgement) what beauty looks like to you.
- I want you to look at this list everyday or check in with it when you're having one of those "off days". Come back to this when you question your beauty and your love for yourself.
- Truly choose to embody those things that you think are beautiful. If you think kindness is beautiful, spread kindness around like confetti! If you think confidence is beautiful, step into your power and own that confidence.
Go ahead and get down with your bad self. Be a bit of a rebel and know that YOU get to decide what is beautiful.