I’ve always been something of an introvert; I enjoy spending time doing my own thing and tend to feel nervous in big social gatherings. But when I first moved to America in 2011 I told myself that I would become more outgoing, accept more invitations and basically just be more confident being me. If only the power of thought was enough.
As it turns out, I felt even more like a fish out of water. Stripped from the ease of living in Australia — where I understood the culture, the landscape, the ebb and flow of daily life — I found myself struggling just to fit in, much less be my most gregarious self.
My feelings of being disconnected to the people around me was not due to anything that they were doing, rather it came from my own negative self talk (you’re not as interesting; you’re not as pretty; you’re not as smart). Instead of spending energy building new relationships, much of my attention was focused inward, comparing how I felt about myself to what I perceived about others.
The more I played this game of “comparisonitis,” the less beautiful I felt. If only I could have understood that the power of knowing yourself and being comfortable in your own skin is far more attractive (to yourself and others) than any external physical feature.
This brings me to today’s topic: rejoicing in the beauty of being you.
The other day I was listening to an interview with Tera Warner, a body-image-detox coach. Like me, Tera believes that when women place too much emphasis on how they look, they take the joy away from how they live.
Tera discussed how passive intake of body-obsessed media images (social media, advertising, entertainment and the like) is making women feel less at ease in their own skin. She went on to say that if women don’t stand in their own shoes and put their own mark on the world, then they’ll never escape the hamster wheel of negative body image.
And boy, do I agree with that.
Even after all the work that I’ve done on my own “body enlightenment” I can still catch myself scrolling through Instagram or watching other people’s YouTube videos and feeling less-than.
Such is the power of image and social perception.
I believe that you too play the game of comparisonitis (perhaps with other people you know, those you see online, or even with past versions of yourself) — so what are you going to do about it? Because you have to do something.
Doing nothing fuels the fire of self-doubt and keeps you focused on the fabricated media obsessions around body image.
Doing nothing keeps you small and means that you will never truly fall in love with your body and life (morbid reminder: you only get one of each).
Doing nothing diminishes a woman’s worth to believing that she is only as good as her appearance.
Obviously, you can’t do nothing.
In her interview, Tera shared a quote that I absolutely love: “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the first two syllables in beautiful are BE U.”
With that in mind, here are 10 things that you can do to not only love the skin you’re in, but to put your mark on the world in a way that shows other women that we, as a gender, are so much more than our bodies.
How To Be Beautiful You
- Live with compassion for yourself and others; be loving to those around you
- Be intentional about how you spend your time
- Achieve something every day that makes you feel proud
- Know your purpose in YOUR life…this doesn’t have to be exotic, it just has to be real
- Know what lights you up and brings you down; do more of the former and less of the latter
- Don’t spend too much time alone — real connections matters, social ones don’t
- Get offline as much as possible (your world won’t end if you delete some of those apps)
- Highlight your weird, unique differences — being the same as everyone else is boring
- Live in the now and appreciate who you are today, don’t try to be the person you once were or spend too much time wondering about the person you could become
- Spend more time and energy on creating things that you can put out into the world and less time on absorbing information and messages; be the curator of your own life’s photo album
Now I’d Love To Hear From You
What did you think about today’s topic? If you find yourself feeling deflated after spending too much time on social media, or comparing yourself to other people on a regular basis, what are you going to do about it? Which of these 10 suggestions, if any, feels like an area that you need to address? Let me know by leaving a comment below.