I Like Myself and That’s Okay

I get the feeling that as a woman, I’m not supposed to like myself.

As a female, I am bombarded with images on a daily basis that show me how I can be better/skinner/prettier/insert-feminine-adjective-here. Every time I turn on the TV, scroll through Facebook, or even while doing some much needed internet shopping, I see countless images of products that are supposed to make me appear slimmer, younger, less wrinkly. (God forbid, I have crows feet at 32 years old).

Every spring, images are thrust into my face describing how I too can get my “bikini body” back after the winter months, or that so-and-so has the perfect plan for a “summer slim down”.

Every time I cruise around on the internet, my page clicks are chased by ads promising the newest weight loss supplement or workout class that will give me “long and lean” muscles, just the way I’m supposed to want my body to look. Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook are filled with images of sexed up women with rock hard abs, glistening with oil (I mean, really, oil up before your next workout and tell me how good your grip is), telling me that I just need to work harder, have no excuses, and I too will look like them.

Sexy-Fitspo

But the thing is, I don’t want to look like them. I actually like myself, believe it or not. I don’t need a special diet plan, a miracle supplement, or even Photoshop to appreciate my body.  I don’t need a “fitspo” image to tell me that I don’t work hard enough. I don’t need some marketing guru to tell me what I need to become their ideal of a perfect female.

I think I’m fortunate though, that I don’t need those things. A lot of women, when slapped across the face with these images, believe that they need these things to become the best version of themselves. Women aren’t supposed to like themselves, because if we all did, there would be a lot of people out there who stopped making money. The more you hate yourself and every part of your body, the more money these people make under the guise of helping you “improve”. Really, they’re just feeding on your negative feelings about yourself, and providing you with reasons to keep having these negative feelings.

For instance, just the other day I was scrolling through my Groupon email, I came across this image of an “Arm slimming compression garment”. Essentially, these are Spanx for your arms.

arm sleeves

SPANX FOR YOUR ARMS.

I’m just going to let that sink in a little bit before I move on.

At first I laughed, because the picture is downright ridiculous. Then I let the thought settle into my brain, and realized it’s much more sad than it is funny. As women, we’re constantly provided ways that we can make ourselves “better”, although better to whom, is the question. Would it make me feel better about myself to wear compression sleeves to make my arms appear slimmer? First of all, I question their effectiveness, but more importantly, the answer is no. And I’m pretty sure the discomfort that I would feel from my brachial artery being compressed would far outweigh any “slimming” effect from the garment.

This is marketed to tell me that my arms aren’t good enough, that I shouldn’t like them, but that I could like them if only I bought something to make them appear slimmer. The whole concept is just ridiculous when you spell it out like that, doesn’t it?

Yes, I do wear make up and do my hair (occasionally), and generally try to look presentable when out in public. I’m not saying that all women should be unshaved, un-groomed and makeup free, but there is a line there. I do not wear a mask of makeup to make myself appear to be what society wants me to be, I wear a little bit of makeup because I think it plays up my eyes a little bit. And you know what? I like my eyes. And it’s okay to say that.

love yourself

I am not saying that I’m anywhere near ideal or perfect, but since when in life are we all supposed to be striving for perfection? As women, I think we’re expected to constantly put ourselves down, to agree that we hate our thighs when one of our fellow femmes complains about hers. But you know what? I like my thighs too.

Imagine that — a woman who likes her thighs. Yes, I have cellulite, no I don’t have a thigh gap, but I still like my thighs. They are mine, and they are powerful, and I appreciate them. So ladies, it’s okay to like yourself, believe it or not. It’s okay to talk about yourself in a positive light, and it’s okay to not give in to the latest marketing scheme that’s trying to tell you that this is NOT okay.

And you know what? It’s also okay if you aren’t quite there today–  it takes time to truly like yourself, especially if you’ve spent years doing just the opposite. As long as you are committed to treating your body with positivity and compassion, in time you will come around to appreciate all that your body does, even though it’s not perfect. In time, you too will come to like yourself. At some point, when another female who isn’t quite there yet will complain to you about X body part of hers. And you will smile warmly, and say “You know what? I actually like my “X”. It may not be perfect, but it’s mine”.

And maybe in that moment, you’ll inspire another woman to like herself too.

Because liking yourself is okay. It doesn’t mean that you’re self-centered or narcissistic  and it doesn’t mean that you think you’re better than those around you.

Liking yourself simply means that you accept your body and your self for what you are. Even during those times that you’re working to improve or change yourself, you’re doing it out of love and acceptance for your body, rather than hate.

I’m not perfect — I am currently working at getting stronger and faster. But I like myself, and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean that I’m complacent, or lazy, or not working towards goals. It just means that the change that I’m working towards comes from a place of positivity.

I don’t work to better myself because I hate myself, I work to better myself because I like myself, and I know that I deserve to be the best version of me that I can be.  And that is more than okay, that is the best of both worlds. Progress plus positivity? It’s a powerful combination.

Readers: Tell me something that you like about yourself in the comments — and get more comfortable telling others too. The more that women start to like ourselves, the less silly things like “compression arm sleeves” will be made and marketed at us! 

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16 thoughts on “I Like Myself and That’s Okay

  1. I actually love my arms and my calves! Kind of a weird thing to love, but I work hard on keeping those parts of myself toned!
    This is a very thought provoking post!

  2. I love my calves too! I don’t wear heels so I’m sure it doesn’t make people go wow – nice calves! But I do. 🙂

    I also think my forearms are pretty solid, when I’m curling I love the strength I see. And I do the same thing with my eyes. Just a little PPP of mascara – voila enough makeup for me.

  3. Pingback: I Like Myself and That’s Okay | Healthy Happy Fashionista

  4. I LOVE this blog post! I love my feet. I know that’s kinda weird, but I love them for all that they’ve carried me thought — marathons, yoga, traveling to new places, all my years as a student, and into my career. I also think they are kinda pretty, if you’re into feet. They’ve been broken, tattooed, calloused, and beaten up. But I love them for where they take me.

  5. Reblogged this on Transitions in my Life and commented:
    I love this post! As I’ve started learning to accept my body I’m more positive, more motivated, and finally seeing changes. I’m focusing more on making my body the best it can be rather than trying to change it to fit someone else’s image of how my body should be and I’m happier than ever.

  6. what a great post! Why yes, I do like myself, and I’m pretty happy with how it’s all come together. My thighs have never been “thin” ( and I used to wonder why I didn’t have them) but they are now very strong and muscular from lots of running and often get comments from total strangers on how strong they look. My son teasingly tells me I have “warrior legs” and I think that’s an awesome compliment. At my age, I’m glad to have moved to a place of accepting and loving who I am =)

  7. LOVE this post! It’s amazing how much criticism I’ve received for simply being comfortable in my own skin. While I’m not perfect, I love my body the way it is and wouldn’t change a thing (well, maybe except my stupid knees so I could squat more!) aesthetically. Most people can’t comprehend that as it is so natural for women to constantly be unhappy with their bodies.

  8. Such a great post!! I can’t wait to share it:) I couldn’t agree with you more and although it’s taken me a long time to really appreciate my body, I’m getting there- weight lifting has helped a lot! I have really grown to like my arms from the recent lifting. I’ve always liked my stomach and back, but it’s been nice to see some changes in my arms because of what I’ve been doing in the gym. And, even more than how they look, how they FEEL- they make me feel so strong!

  9. This is an awesome, powerful post! Women need to embrace themselves and their individual beauty we are all different and that’s what makes us unique. Thanks for writing this awesome post and reminding me that I am a beautiful work in progress.

  10. Recently (the last few years, as I am in my 30’s), I have kind of accepted my body. I have always been within 15lbs of my optimal weight (which is around 150lbs). I am a strong woman and am proud of that. I do compare some body parts to other women (unfortunately my best friend has the best arms in the universe-hello Steph) and it is one thing I have always wanted. But, in my 30’s, I have accepted that I MAY be able to get killer arms but that I do not “have” the time to do it. By “have” I mean desire to work that hard.
    With the whole concept of “first world problems” I have been repeating to myself when I am grumpy at my belly (where I retain any weight) that I am fortunate to have a little belly and extra weight on me. I am fortunate to be in a life in which I am nourished enough to have an extra 5lbs (ok maybe more like 10lbs…maybe) because I can afford delish and healthy foods.

    I deviated, but you get my point!

  11. This post is spot on!! I wear make-up as well – but that’s because it makes me feel more confident in myself (if I’m having a bad skin day etc) not because of anyone else! I have a natural big bum, when I was younger it did bother me – now – I love it! I have curves, and because of that it makes me happy about myself 🙂

  12. I love my health and that is why I work out, I started weight training to help with my blood pressure after a little push from my Doc and I read Reduce Blood Pressure Through Weight Training which I found to be great motivation, healthy eating and a little hard work has made all the difference. Ronald Deblois is the author of the BP/Weight Training book, good read.

  13. Pingback: Monday Morning Coffee Break- A Very Marvelous Monday

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