As women, it’s all too common to look in the mirror and not like what we see. We’re told stories about the way we look by men, by strangers, by society, by our parents, and sometimes even by ourselves. All of these preconceived notions of what a woman “should” look like can be incredibly damaging to our confidence and self-esteem.
When I had my first child, I had no idea just how much my body would change after giving birth. I even brought my pre-pregnancy jeans to wear home from the hospital! (Spoiler alert: I did not wear them home.) I had assumed that I would just slim back down… but how could I? When we get pregnant and give birth, our bodies change and stretch and move in wonderful, life-giving ways. Unfortunately, these changed bodies are not always celebrated in our society, which gravely affects our body image. Sometimes, we are told that we’re not beautiful just because we have stretch marks or because our hips don’t fit into a runway size 2. So, how do we repair our relationships with our body image?
Oftentimes, our feelings of insecurity come from our clothing sizes. Almost every woman can remember a time she felt upset in a dressing room trying on clothes, but here’s the thing about women’s clothing sizes: they’re just not universal. They don’t mean very much at all! I can fit into four different sizes of jeans from four different brands. Heck, sometimes even the same brand. I distinctly remember fitting into a pair of the same shorts from Old Navy in three different sizes. So, if that tells us anything, it’s that the size on the tag does not matter.
These days, we can change imperfections and even body shapes with the tap of a filter or a quick spin through Photoshop. If you find yourself surrounded by these unrealistic standards online, consider unfollowing those people who only use filters and edit their photos. Try to get back to what makes you you and what makes you happy.
That brings me to my final advice. Forget all the stories you’re told about your beauty, and write your own. Celebrate your uniqueness, your strength, and your loveliness. Wake up every day, look at yourself in the mirror, and give yourself a “Hey, gorgeous!” Write it on the mirror if you have to! This silly mantra can make all the difference as you go about your day. Infuse a little energy into your routine—dance it out while you brush your teeth!
Let’s change the energy around how we look at ourselves.