Some of you may remember my interview with Andrea Owen of The Kick Ass Life. Andrea is a life coach and motivator of women and I am now a devoted follower on Facebook for her daily observations and pick-me ups. The other day, I read this awesome post on her blog:
You have to read it.
I about cried. Ok, maybe I did a little bit.
I have been feeling so down in the dumps about my body lately. Granted, I am pregnant and my body is doing amazing things by growing a human being, blah, blah, but the truth is, I look and feel gross. I am a lumpy, pudgy, mess. I went maternity clothes shopping yesterday and had such a horrible time looking in the mirror at my rolls of back fat and my gargantuan arms. And to top off the look of beauty, I have developed this awful pregnancy rash on my face, so now I am itchy, red, pudgy mass. So, so depressing.
I feel like I will never look good again. Those days of running 10 miles feel so far away.
I know there is a difference between how you look and how you are treating your body; As in, if I am feeding my body crap and treating it like crap, it stands I will look and feel like crap. So, there is a difference in treating your body well and abusing it.
But her post is different. It told the truth in a way I hadn’t really thought about before.
She pointed out, quite plainly, that what we are really after isn’t the perfect body. The perfect body still isn’t going to make me love my body, or treat it well, or eat healthy foods, or make me have a perfect marriage, or make me instantly confident and love everything about my life. The same insecurities and problems that exist in my life will still be there. No amount of exercise will change what is really wrong.
All of those things are internal. Those are all things I can work on now, with or without a “perfect” body.
And maybe, just maybe, it’s a pay-it-forward kind of thing. As in, you start feeling good on the inside, which translates to the outside, and you naturally feel better and treat your body better. A win-win perhaps?
I think this is so important, especially those of us with daughters. I know I grew up with a mother who always, and still does, constantly berated herself and her body, pointing out every flaw. Needless to say, neither I, nor my model-esque sisters (seriously, those of you who know them know what I mean) have awesome confidence. I do worry about what I am portraying to my daughters about their bodies, and therefore, their self-worth. I don’t want to teach them that they are only what they look like on the outside, or that their happiness is somehow tied to what their body looks like.
I want them to be healthy, yes, and active, yes, but I don’t want to buy into the idea that a Perfect Body = The Key To Happiness.
Because it doesn’t.
It’s a hard line to balance, because I know that when I am exercising and eating well, I do feel better, and I treat my body better. But I need to end the negative self-talk, the constant focusing on all the bad points of my body. I know my daughters need to see a mother who is proud of her body and its ability to grow and nourish three (!) babies, run 10 miles, however long ago that was, and play and laugh with them.
Because those are the things that make my life happy.