When I was younger, I don’t remember paying much attention to my body but, I did hate my face. I started getting acne around the age of 10 and it was pretty severe all throughout middle school and high school. It wasn’t until I was in my mid 20′s that it cleared up enough for me to feel comfortable out in public without gobs of makeup on. It was right around that same time that I put on a lot of weight and really started noticing my body changing.
There was one morning that I was standing naked in front of my bathroom mirror and I was so completely disgusted by how I looked, I was physically ill. I broke down and started bawling. I felt like my body had betrayed me and I wasn’t comfortable with who I was any more. I think most girls/women experience this kind of thing much earlier in life and here I was, at 27, having my first real “body issue”. Looking back, it serves as a reminder that, as women, our bodies change constantly and we can experience doubts about how we look and feel at any age. Body image issues aren’t reserved just for the adolescent years.
I’m 31 now and have made some major changes to my life since that horrible day in the mirror. I’ve learned that what I put into my body drastically affects how I feel emotionally and mentally. I’m a big advocate for living intentionally and being conscious of the foods I eat and how often I’m moving my body in an active way. I have also learned to stop food shaming myself. If I do happen to eat something that isn’t super healthy, I just let it go. I don’t berate myself or allow it to ruin my whole day. I just accept that I ate an Oreo and move on. The shaming factor is a huge reason why so many people have unhealthy relationships with food and it is an issue I address often with my clients. I still wear makeup most days but, I’m not trying to hide behind it anymore. I’ve learned how to apply it in a more natural way for day-to-day wear that compliments my features instead of obscuring them. My everyday go-to products are BB cream, blush and mascara.
I don’t read any of the main-stream magazines anymore and I work hard at catching any negative self-talk. When I start to say or think something that isn’t very nice about myself, I make myself turn the thought around and say something good instead. Our society breeds negative self-talk and it is heartbreaking to hear 10 year old little girls talk about how fat or ugly they are because they don’t look like the models or movie stars they see in magazines and on tv. I applaud the movement within the Hollywood community to show themselves as they really are, no airbrushing or makeup, but, as a society, we have a long way to go.
If I could create a new definition of beauty it would be that happiness is the best accessory you can wear. When you are happy, truly happy with yourself and your life, it changes the way you view yourself and the way others see you. Think about the happiest days in your life; your wedding, the birth of your children, accomplishing a goal, what does everyone say? “You look beautiful!” and they are right! When we are happy, we are beautiful. So, do whatever it takes to be happy and allow that joy to be seen by the whole world.