I am so freakin’ excited I can’t stand it! As I was researching a topic for this week’s blog, I came across an article on Brazil’s recent Plus Size Fashion Weekend, featuring women with hips, breasts, cellulite and real curves strutting their stuff on the runway in not much more than their bras and panties! I was immensely inspired and simply had to share it with you. These women make me proud to be a feminine creature, with my own unique set of dips and dimples! The fashion show, which is the biggest in Brazil, was created by journalist Renata Poskus Vaz. The plus size journalist has a blog of her own, called Mulherao, where she is an advocate of plus size women. The Fashion Weekend has been instrumental in the growth of the plus size industry in Brazil.
What is serenity anyway? The dictionary defines serenity as being free and clear of storms or unpleasant change; shining bright and steady. Wouldn’t you like to feel that way about your body? I think it’s absolutely possible no matter what you think your body looks like. Though like most worthwhile things, they do require time and effort on your part. But, at the end you’ll feel so good about yourself it will have been worth it. So, here are 3 ways to begin getting serenity around your body and self-image today:
- FOCUS ON WHAT YOUR BODY CAN DO, rather than what it looks like. If you’re lucky, you have legs to walk on, fingers to type with, eyes to see with and a voice to speak with. We so often take these things for granted. But imagine if you took away the ability to use just one of your body parts…now that’s a real challenge. When you begin to honor all the amazing things your body can do, it’s hard to scold it for not looking a certain way. Treat your body with respect and daily appreciate all that it does for you. If you need to, I suggest writing a gratitude list of 5 things your body did for you each day for a month. You will see and feel the difference in your attitude.
- NO MORE COMPARE AND DESPAIR. Comparing ourselves to other people is a useless pastime. The grass is always greener, so they say. Usually when we are comparing ourselves to other people, we are projecting some fabulous life we think they have because they look a certain way. In fact, most of us make all sorts of assumptions about people based on their appearances. We say and think things like: He’s fat so he must be lazy; She’s thin and has nice clothes, so she must be happy. Think about all the WRONG assumptions people have made about you. Don’t they make you angry? They should! We have absolutely no idea what a person’s self-esteem is like based on outward appearance. Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to yourself. How can you be a better you? And I don’t mean physically (unless that’s a goal you have). I mean be a better human being and do nice things for others. Be a giver rather than a taker. That will certainly get you out of a compare and despair mindset.
- START MEDITATING. Okay, so I know this doesn’t appeal to some of you, but give it a chance before you decide meditation is not for you. I started meditating for about 3 minutes a day a couple of years ago. Yes, that’s all it really takes. Before I meditate, I find a comfortable position (lying flat on my back or sitting upright with my legs crossed) and then pick something to meditate on. For example, one day I decided to meditate on SELF-LOVE. With my eyes closed, and the timer set, I would inhale a deep breath and silently say to myself, SELF. On the outward breath, I would silently say LOVE. I did this for 3 minutes. I’m not perfect, so occasionally my mind wanders, but then I gently come back to the meditation. What this does is really set my mind in a positive direction for the day. When I find myself wanting to say negative things to myself, I can pause, find a quiet place and meditate again until I feel calmer–even for just 30 seconds. Try it, it really works! Other great meditation topics are: All is well in my world or I am perfect as I am. Come up with your own ideas and enjoy the process!
It’s 2012, and if you are like the millions of other women out there who are resolving to lose weight this year, it’s time to find a new resolution! Resolutions to lose weight and exercise more are usually bound for frustration and breakdown because they set you up to fail. As women we put so much pressure on ourselves to have this perfect body (whatever that means). But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can begin the new year in self-care and self-acceptance by simply loving who you are one day at a time. And P.S., you don’t have to wait for January 1st to do it!
Many people get so caught up in the tradition of resolutions that they avoid making changes the rest of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s bad to want to be better and feel better; striving for peace of mind and contentment are wonderful resolutions. However, punishing our bodies for the sake of fitting into society’s twisted views of beauty is another thing entirely. Being our best selves is about loving our bodies and ourselves no matter what we weigh or what size our jeans are.
And so I propose that you resolve to celebrate your muffin top, cellulite, dimples and soft flesh today and every day. As Mark Twain said, “A woman cannot be comfortable without her own approval.” AMEN! You can also practice this principle by telling other women how beautiful they are too. Pay it forward and help the world see that there is so much more to life than being obsessed with our bodies. Our bodies are a God given gift. We get to borrow these bodies temporarily, so treat them well, respect them, speak well of them and they will be good to you. That’s it.
I wish you a happy new year, full of confidence, self-acceptance and a willingness to do things just a little differently today.
P.S. In addition to continuing to love myself this year, I also resolve to blog more and do my share of paying it forward 🙂
I hosted a Girls Game Night this past Friday night and my girlfriends wanted to me tell them what was happening with the website and the blog. They were all so excited for me and it felt good to have the support. But one of my besties said that she wanted to read things of more substance on my blog. She reminded me that my initial impetus for starting the site was to really open a dialogue among women of all sizes to talk about what the media has done to screw with our heads when it comes to body image. I’m so grateful for her honesty, and so this blog is dedicated to my pal C.