Body Image And Comparing Yourself to Others: Why It’s Not Worth it

I have written posts before on body image before. I’ll link some of them here:

But today I ran across a post that really spoke to me and I’ll be reblogging it below. I think it is SO important to stay on top of our mentality and outlook when it comes to our bodies and continually work to be at a mindset where you can love your body. But it’s true that sometimes the thoughts and expectations of others can hinder our own thoughts. Frances is a Seattle blogger who speaks her mind and does nothing less in this post. Please make sure to visit her blog here and read her other posts.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall

 A high school classmate of mine posted something on Facebook today comparing herself to a well-known and extremely thin celebrity. The gist of the post was why bother competing if we have already lost. It is a very good question but it got me thinking about body image and the way we view ourselves as women.
I don’t think any female wakes up every day and thinks she is supposed to look like Barbie or Kim K or Gwyneth Paltrow. I do, however, think we wake up every day and are told that we should want to look this way. This puts us in this weird middle place where we know that the whole world is not judging us on a daily basis, watching the number of calories we take in, the number of hours we spend in the gym, and how flattering our outfits are on these rock hard Pilates bodies. No. We might be judged by the people we know, our friends, family, coworkers; and we might be judged in passing by strangers we walk by in the mall or at a restaurant, but in general we do not experience the same type of scrutiny to always look amazing as celebrities do, and yet we feel we should put ourselves through that experience.
Most days after showering I look at my naked body in the mirror and I see some really positive things. I have great collar bones, my back is really nice, I have a stellar ass, my legs are long and toned (even if there is a tiny bit of cellulite). But I also seem to focus on the negative aspects of my body. My stomach is not flat, my hips are too large, I have back fat that cosmetic surgeons refer to as flanks (I know this from looking up liposuction), my breasts are too small, the backs of my arms are not as toned I would like them to be, my nose is slightly crooked, my upper lip is too thin, my eyebrows are different shapes, my ankles are too skinny, and so on. Yet, with all of my imperfections, most days, I look in the mirror and can overlook the things I hate about my body. I can put on clothes and know they flatter my body. I can walk out of the house with my head held high and know that I look good.
The paparazzi don’t follow me around every single day, and I think that helps my self-confidence, living in the PNW doesn’t really hurt it either. But I guess my point is, who decides what is beautiful and why do we all expect to fit into the same box of beauty? Why do we even want to? We all have different hair color, eye color, skin color. We come in different shapes and sizes, so why are we trying to force ourselves to change? Of course, I am not saying to accept being overweight, or people shouldn’t get cosmetic surgery if that is what they really want, but I am saying that striving to look like a celebrity is ridiculous. Those women are paid to be beautiful whereas the rest of us are paid to show up to work every day and perform our job duties. Sure, being pretty helps me in my profession of slinging margaritas, but my job is not to be pretty.
Comparing ourselves to knockouts such as Jennifer Lawrence is like comparing ourselves to aliens. We seem to forget that we do not live in the same world as these beauties. Sure, we might inhabit the same planet, but we are not actually competing with them. I wake up every day having no fear that my boyfriend might one day leave me for Angelina Jolie, partly because he has never done a movie with her, but also because it is never going to happen. We spend so much time worrying about how we look and wondering why the girls that grace the covers of gossip rags have these perfect bodies while we slave away trying to maintain a reasonable BMI that we forget these starlets are freaks of nature. We forget to look around the grocery store and see the women we are actually competing with, and usually against those women, we are safe.
But the bigger problem is that we seem to forget we are more than just our outside appearance. For all of my physical flaws, I am pretty fucking awesome. I am smart and creative, I dance and laugh at myself, I make my friends and family laugh (usually at my own expense), and generally I am a pretty cool chick. So, while being pretty might be what gets me free drinks, being rad is what makes guys, friends, family, strangers, whoever want to continue a conversation with me. That has to count for something, and honestly I think that has to count for a lot more. I was born with this body type. I came out of my mother’s womb destined to have a pear shaped body and be mistaken for a lesbian throughout my formative years, I cannot change that. Being awesome is something I had to groom, not a lot because I was also born pretty freaking awesome, but it has been honed, slightly. That is what I think we should be focusing on. Not who looks the most like some famous actor or singer, but who can hold a conversation and have an original thought and make a joke and laugh at themselves. Maybe if we started focusing more on those things we would be jealous of how funny or smart a celebrity is instead of how thin or large breasted. And maybe it is just me, but I would rather look up to a smart person than a pretty person.
If you have a personal story or body image perspective you want to share, please let me know! I’d love to help share your thoughts.

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