Today as I was busting my ass on the elliptical machine at the gym, trying to avoid the guilt I felt for sneaking a cookie after dinner last night…I started thinking. I was looking around at all the other girls working out in that gym; staring into the mirrors, their reflections looking back at them. Were the same feelings of inadequacy going through each of those girls heads? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why don’t we ever feel like we’re good enough?
In the moral order of our media driven society, the definition of what constitutes beauty, or even an acceptable body, seems to become more inaccessible all the time. We live in a universe where you could bounce a quarter off the well toned abs of any celebrity, and magazines are filled with airbrushed photographs of emaciated models with breast implants. We are constantly bombarded with images of Nicole Richie and The Olsen’s among other twenty somethings who look like they need feeding tubes. How is any normal girl supposed to feel attractive or desirable when these ladies set the bar?
The pursuit of beauty has become an obsession for so many. It is an obsession that gnaws at the insecurities of most women; even those who are, by any objective opinion, drop dead gorgeous. Nobody wants to acknowledge that in our sophisticated decade, something as superficial as beauty can propel one person forward and hold another back. Society needs a revolution in its values. Beauty needs to be defined with much broader parameters. We need to avoid being trapped into the suffocating vanity that cuts off oxygen to the brains of so many girls (myself included!)
Beauty is nothing we can ever hold onto, yet we’ve panted after it through the ages, eager to drink it in and swallow it down in huge, hungry gulps- like the very breath of air itself. I’ve realized that if I have to sacrifice having fun and doing things that I enjoy in life to look a certain way, the choice is clear. Living fully and being happy is what life is for. Perfection is an illusion.
And in my experience, many of those who appear perfect to the outside world are merely camouflaging a plethora of imperfections on the inside.
I’ve come to the conclusion that you’ve got to have a healthy relationship with your body if you want to be happy with it. This has been an ongoing struggle for me. I wish I could say that I love and accept myself as I am, but the truth is, I have spent much of my life worrying about how I look and feeling insecure about my body.
We all come in different shapes and sizes, and the grass is always greener on the other side-two cliches that, like most cliches, happen to to be true. We are all different, and we all wish we had something other than what we have. What we women need to do, instead of worrying about what we don’t have, is just love what we do have. Get to know your body. Love it, respect it, treat it right.
Because really…doesn’t the world have more important issues to focus on?