Dear 2018, There Are Some Things You Should Know About Us...
We are cultivating health and wellness in our lives by ditching beauty ideals and honoring the amazing women that we are now.
Ok ladies, coming off the heels of the victoria secret fashion show is the New Year and the resolutions we make vowing to improve ourselves. And by "improve ourselves" I mean to lose weight or somehow alter our appearance to become more attractive. What if this year we decided to ditch these kinds of limiting beliefs about ourselves and instead of making new years resolutions that celebrate a version of ourselves that doesn't exist, we honor the badass women we are now? Look, I am not saying it is easy because you are being exposed to an insane amount of social pressure and the media influence to "look perfect" is a powerful one. That is why I am going to help you understand where this desire to be skinny comes from so you can make a different choice that nourishes your mind, body, and spirit in 2018.
Have you ever wondered why so many girls want to be skinny? Why "omg! You look so skinny," is the ultimate compliment, and why our mom's, aunts, sisters, and friends all struggle to like what they see in the mirror? Even the girl you wish you looked like doesn't think she is pretty enough? How can this be? It is interesting because there have been many times throughout history when body types other than being skinny where the beauty ideal for women. If you look at Greek Mythology, the women depicted had soft curvy figures that were symbols of fertility. In the Victorian era, it was plus size female bodies that were ideal because being fuller figured meant that you came from wealth and could afford to eat well. In the 1950's with starlets like Marilyn Monroe, the hourglass figure was ideal for women, and naturally thin women were encouraged to gain weight for men to like them and be worthy of marriage. So we know that beauty ideals for women change over time but what we should be asking is what do they represent?
We know what female bodies represented in the past with various changing ideals but what does the skinny beauty ideal of today's time represent? What do you get if you look like a Victoria Secret model? That is easy! You get attention, admiration, boys, money, popularity, acceptance, followers, happiness, self-control, love, and most important you will be valued as a human being. That sounds pretty awesome to me, who wouldn't want that?! In fact, that is precisely what all of us want. We are lead to believe that we want to be skinny, but deep down we just want all of the things being skinny represents. We want to be loved and accepted, and it is those desires that make us vulnerable to advertising.
For example, when you look at products you are being sold, notice how the advertisement rarely has to do with the actual product its self. Most of the time it is a celebrity, model, or actor depicting an image and life that seems much more valuable than your own. The result of seeing this ad leaves you feeling inadequate or not good enough, and your desire to be loved and accepted leads you to believe that if you buy that product or look like that person, you will be. It is tricky, isn't it?
The beauty ideal, like most of our New Years Resolutions, is unattainable and they leave us feeling empty when we cannot reach our goal. I propose we ditch resolutions and beauty ideals all together in 2018! Our bodies don't need to be symbols of wealth, fertility, sexuality, or beauty, and they should never dictate a woman's value as a human being. Our bodies belong to us, and we should decide where our value comes from. Each one of us has DNA that genetically makes up our physical attributes, and it is time to stop apologizing for being born in a decade when the beauty ideal differs from your genetic makeup. Instead of setting goals to "lose weight" let's set goals to feel better. It is important for you to understand that the beauty ideal wasn't created as an attainable goal. It is the opposite! The beauty ideal is unattainable which ensures that you will buy lots of products trying to be "good enough." I want you to know that you are good enough and you deserve to be happy, successful, admired, respected, accepted and loved with the body you have right now! In fact, you deserve nothing less.
"It is time to stop appologizing for being born in a decade when the beauty ideal difffers from your genetic makeup."
You can't escape social media or the beauty ideal, but you can battle the pressure to conform to it by valuing all that you are. Your intelligence, your interests, your talents, your passions, and by appreciating the important purpose you have to share with the world. At my body image workshops when I ask girls what they feel their purpose is, they never say "to be skinny." They all say they want to help people. Now that is beautiful! I have realized that social media can be harmful because it feeds all of our insecurities and we struggle to find ways to feed our goodness, our love for ourselves and others, and our greatness. So it is up to each one of us to find a way to fill ourselves up replacing the goal of being skinny with the goal of being healthy, and honoring the kind, loving, and powerful women we were born to be.
This year I won't be making any "year new, new me" resolutions and I hope you join me because there is not a new or an old version of you. There is just the wonderful you as you are now and she deserves to be celebrated. Happy New Year.