As I reflect on past years and growing up with unrealistic expectations regarding my body, I have realized how much time we as women often spend thinking about our physical appearance. Thinking about what we could change, how to be “prettier,” or how to be valued by a society that objectifies our bodies on an extreme level. Many of us allow our physical appearance to impact our worth, both positively and negatively. We are consumed with being only a body to be viewed rather than holistic individuals worthy of love and success without having to meet unrealistic beauty standards to do so.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How often do I allow my energy to be focused on how others perceive me?
- How much energy am I putting into my physical appearance or allowing that to take from other aspects in my life?
- How often do I conform to societal expectations so that I can be more physically pleasing to others?
If we could let go of this recurring, unrealistic pattern, what would we spend our time doing instead? Who would we be able to connect with, serve, or inspire? Where would we travel, learn, and grow? What if we could allow ourselves to be as we are, without expectations of physical change what-so-ever?
One of my favorite ways to challenge unrealistic expectations regarding my physical appearance is to identify a list of things that I am drawn to about my friends and family. Do I spend time with these individuals because of their clothing size, hair color, or height? Absolutely not. I spend time with my circle of people because of their values, sense of humor, our ability to connect, etc. With this in mind, it becomes clear how redundant focusing on my own physical appearance is, when it is such an afterthought to anybody who truly loves me unconditionally.
If you are constantly aware of your own physical appearance, I challenge you to identify what characteristics you are drawn to when connecting with others. Reflect on the difference between what you assume others value, such as physical appearance, vs. what they actually value. Regardless of where you are with your relationship with your body, we have all been in the position to fall victim of this mindset. As we move towards living a life that is focused less on physical appearance and more on the qualities that we value within our relationships, the quality of our lives and our relationships will dramatically improve.