Monday, June 18, 2012

What is beautiful?

Of course they say beauty is only skin deep, but do people really mean that? Having spent time with women from other countries and having been surprised by just how comfortable they seemed to be in their own skin, I think we Americans are a little too hard on ourselves.

Growing up showing horses, I've always had a distorted body image. Tall, thin people make a prettier picture sitting on a horse than the shorter, rounder riders such as myself.

That's me...not exactly tall and lanky...
The things I've noticed - and it's taken me over 30 years to figure it out - is that once I care about someone, I sort of stop noticing their features, so is a perfect body really the end all be all?

I always thought that I was lacking somewhere; that I was missing something in the looks department, like I wasn't thin enough or pretty enough, but I'm starting to realize that we all feel that way. And in America it's like it defines everything about us.

Just a little food for thought, because I stumbled across this picture tonight when I was reading a blog (and I love this blog for motivation, by the way). She posts awesome pictures...but I don't like this one (and that's not the blog owner just in case it seems like I'm being bitchy).

Also, why is there a weight hanging off of her pelvis? (source)
I don't actually think this is attractive. Clearly, she's in great shape, but honestly, I don't really want to look that way. Not that I'm ever going to, because let's face it, I'm probably never going to want to work this hard, I'll admit it!

Sure. I would definitely feel better if I lost some weight, no doubt about that. It's just that if I lost 20 pounds, I wouldn't come close to looking like this, but I think that's okay. Really, I do. I would certainly feel better about myself. Maybe my view has changed since I seriously started training again and that I've decided to tackle a full marathon. Now I think more about the fact that I would probably be faster if I was in better shape, not just that I simply need to lose weight. Marathon training (and racing in general) has sort of changed my views. Thanks, running!

                    Love this! Also from the same blog...    (source)

Don't get me wrong, most people could improve their bodies and I'm definitely including myself in that category. It's just that maybe we could cut ourselves a little slack and be a little more comfortable in our own skin because there's definitely someone out there that would love us for who we are now, not who we might be later. And yeah, we need to love ourselves first, blah, blah, blah, but we tend to define ourselves through the eyes of others and maybe we think that others don't find us attractive (okay, maybe I'm talking about me, here) and our vision is off.

Something to think about. Someone remind me I posted this when I starting beating myself up again, k? ;)

In other news, how freaking cute is this?

(source)

8 comments:

  1. I LOVE this post! For me, it's taken falling in love with running, and focusing on those goals, to let go of my focus on weight and numbers, but it is definitely always hard, and for pretty much every woman I know. It's funny, when I was heavier, I remember looking at women the size I am now, and thinking they looked perfect, and now of course it's completely changed--but not my thoughts on other women. Only me. It's funny how we do that, and set ourselves up for such a higher standard.

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    1. Ditto. I totally agree. And I do the same thing! I think other people look okay, and I'm really tough on myself. Besides, I don't expect men to have perfect bodies and there's plenty of men that I know that like women that come in all shapes and sizes, so why are we so hard on ourselves?

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  2. Great post. I love it and I hate it, which means I probably needed to hear it. But that horse is stinking cute!

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    1. I can make a hobby out of judging myself. Then I was reading that other girl's blog, saw that picture, and though, "hey, I actually don't want to look like that." Doesn't mean I'm not still on a quest for a better body and I would be happier if I had one, but it helps to think of it in terms of getting my half marathon PR or not being on a marathon course for 6 hours. If I was lighter, I would probably be a little faster.

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  3. Ashley Judd wrote an article slamming society for criticizing women, for women being "conditioned" to judge other women, and creating popular media that causes women to be highly judgmental of themselves. Basically she was saying that all the shit needs to stop and as women, we need to be more empowered to say, "Oh? Is that what you think of me? Well that's nice but I think I'm awesome!" I think there is a lot of truth to that. We all have issues with ourselves and want to improve. Rather than improving so we can "look like her", we should improve and change so we can look, feel, and be the best version of ourselves.

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    1. I agree! And I love Ashley Judd!

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  4. Ew - I'm with you. I don't like that photo. I want to look feminine and healthy - not shackled and manly.

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    1. Not to mention, she has an actual shackle-like thing around her waist. Totally weird.

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Thanks for reading!