You see, for me body image is a two-headed monster. I’m a biracial girl with Caucasian and Asian roots, but my looks do not meet either race’s standard of beauty. I can’t see myself in any woman considered to be beautiful by either race, so the natural conclusion to draw is that I am not beautiful.
Okay, yeah, that’s ridiculous. I know that. But what woman hasn’t stood in front of a mirror wishing she could change something (or everything) about herself? It took someone close to me saying I was just being self-conscious for me to pause and reevaluate my “I will never be beautiful” mantra. So I don’t look like Victoria’s Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio or model/actress Devon Aoki. So I’m shorter than the average woman and only mildly curvy. None of that makes me ugly (or unpretty or even not beautiful). It just makes me, well, me.
Women’s Health Magazine’s Fit Bride recently blogged about body image as it relates to being (you guessed it) a bride, and one of her tips for improving body image really stood out to me. She says to think about what you can do to make yourself feel beautiful in every way. The key here is how to feel beautiful because the reality is that beauty really is about perception. Think about it. In some cultures, obesity is considered beautiful, while in others thinness is the standard of beauty. Health arguments aside, who’s to say whose standard is right and whose is wrong? There’s a lot of truth to the assertion that “confidence is sexy” because it’s really hard to like someone who doesn’t like herself, no matter how beautiful she is.
The Fit Bride’s post is a great one to read, but since her tips were really for a woman’s wedding day, I’d like to add a few of my own tips on how to fend off those negative body image devils:
- Instead of fixating on the things you don’t like about yourself, acknowledge and appreciate the things you do like about yourself.
- If there’s something you don’t like about yourself that’s fixable, like you’d like to lose weight or just tone up a little, set realistic goals and make a commitment to yourself to reach them.
- If there’s something about yourself that you can’t change, then accept it. Who knows, maybe what you consider to be a flaw is actually something very beautiful.
- Remember that “standards” of beauty are man-made. Literally. Models and actors/actresses push their bodies beyond realistic limits, and when that’s not enough, their images are altered and airbrushed until they don’t even look like themselves anymore. Let’s try to stop falling for that.