Six Months

The past few nights I’ve gone out chasing the sunset.

SUNSET

Today marks six months.

Winter has passed.

Spring has passed.

Soon it will be fall.

I miss you, Dad.

Let It Begin on the Inside

Warning: I’m about to put on my sassy pants.

Can I tell you something?

I have reached a point in my life where I don’t care. I have zero cares. Apathy is my middle name.

Now, before you become too concerned, more specifically, I don’t care what the world’s definition is of beauty. I have a picture in my head of what beauty looks like on me and it’s nothing like the cover of Vogue, Cosmopolitan or any other magazine that I can’t think of the name to right now.

I want you to hear me on this: MAGAZINE COVERS ARE PHOTOSHOPPED.

I know you’ve probably read that phrase many times, seen videos demonstrating it, mostly intellectually assent to it, but do you really believe it?

THEY. ARE. PHOTOSHOPPED.

Not only are they photoshopped, but there was a team of hair stylists, make-up artists, clothes-picky-outy-type-people that I don’t know what to call, and a photographer who knew how to position the body just so.

That is not reality.

Stop beating yourself up by comparing yourself to ridiculous and unrealistic beauty standards. Stop it. Just stop.

Now, the sad truth is you don’t just compare yourself to magazine covers, do you? Be honest.

Do you compare yourself to the lady next to you in the gym? What about the lady in front of you in the checkout line? The lady you see running down the street? Your neighbor? Your friend?

I know you do.

Because I do, too.

Stop it.

I’m serious. Don’t read this, nod your head, say ‘Amen,’ open up Facebook or Instagram, see a picture of someone else and think, “Man! I wish I looked like her.” (You can insert whatever here: job, home, car, money, husband)

Don’t do it.

She is not you. You are living different lives. You are on different paths. You have a different story.

Ok. So, what about comparing ourselves to . . . ourselves?

What I’m learning is to be firm, but gentle.

When I look at this picture that my husband took of me three years ago this month, I could become really upset with myself. I could start berating myself for ‘letting myself go.’

“Ruthanne, you were in the best shape of your life. What happened? All that hard work! Gone!”

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I’m not proposing naivety. I need to acknowledge my poor decisions. I need to accept responsibility.

And then I need to move on.

Can I ask you to do something?

Think of three to five people who you consider beautiful. Picture them in your mind.

What is it about each of them that makes you call them beautiful?

. . . . . I’ll wait . . . . .

Do you see a pattern?

I hope so.

I’m just going to go out on a limb and guess the pattern doesn’t have much to do with physical features, but more about how these people make you feel?

Now, turn that around on yourself.

How do you make other people feel?

Do they feel loved and accepted by you? Do they laugh and smile with joy? Do they feel safe? Do you bring them comfort when they’re sad? Do you encourage? Do you gently correct when needed?

Those feelings you provoke in them will translate into how they see you.

My point? If you want a change in your appearance, let it begin on the inside.

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