Vogue. Cosmo. Glamour. For whatever reason, we continue to pick up copies at our local grocery stores, knowing full well that once we get home, that small little voice inside our head is going to say, “YOU will never look that good. You need to lose weight here, here, and here.” With every turn of a page, a mental diagram straight out of the plastic surgeon’s office screams in our head, drawing invisible, ugly little surgical lines all over our bodies that only we can see… “If I could just cut a little off here, grow a little here, THEN I’ll be confident,” we think.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Are we gluttons for punishment? Why don’t we say enough is enough & stop buying into the lies of these magazines? Those images aren’t even real. Nearly everyone knows it’s just Photoshop, but incase you are one of the ones who didn’t, I’ve included a before & after example of a Photoshopped Lady Gaga. If you ask me, she looked better before.
I keep hearing ladies say, “I’ll do a shoot once I lose weight or once I get a boob job,” and I get it. I wish that my butt was smaller, but I’m too busy & lazy to work out, and I like food (currently eating a donut as I write this post).
I’m also going to say something that’s a little counter-cultural right now; I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to achieve a certain goal body shape. I don’t really believe in either narrative that’s out there right now: A) You must be a size 2 to be beautiful (curves are lovely, too!!), or B) It’s ok to be obese & at risk for a heart attack so long as you love yourself. I’m smack dab in the middle on the body-image/self-love issue. What I believe in, is being healthy. There is definitely a time & place to pursue those goals. So long as one isn’t obsessed, I’m ok with the pursuit of healthy.
That being said, there is never going to be a you that is perfect enough for photos. If you wait until your body is perfect, it’s never going to happen because you will never actually BE perfect. There will always be something to improve. I’ve photographed every size – from a size 0 to unknown size curvy – and every woman has complained about something she doesn’t love about herself. The 0 feels too thin, the curvy woman feels too curvy. The reality is, if you don’t love who you are at your core, you’re never going to love yourself no matter your size. Loving yourself has to come from the inside, not your outside.
So how do you feel good about yourself on the inside when you’re constantly being bombarded with contradictory messages about the outside? I’m not a counselor, just an ordinary woman like you, but here’s my top 4 ideas for how to love yourself based on personal experience: