Society almost always gets it wrong

There’s a lot of talk in the online space about the need for society to change its rigid and often unhealthy and unrealistic standards of beauty for women.

 

I totally agree with that sentiment and the movements in support of it, but I have to be honest with you about something.

 

I think that it would be amazing for society to completely overhaul it’s beauty standards and start praising women of all ages, sizes, shapes, and appearance for their individual beauty and value as people. 

But I don’t know when or if that’s going to happen or even if that’s the most effective solution for changing how we view ourselves.

 

You see we can talk all day long about what the culture SHOULD expect of us and how to change our society's message to women… but I honestly think that society will always get it wrong when it comes to valuing women (and men).

Society will always deify some traits which in turn undervalues or even condemns others.

The culture will always oversimplify what it means to be a woman… about what is valuable and what makes us beautiful…but I think the work that needs to be done is in us. 

 

 

We can’t rely upon popular culture to tell us why we are special, to make us feel better about our imperfections, our unique strengths, our beauty and lovable quirks BUT we can

  • begin to change the ways we think and talk about ourselves and our bodies

  • find people that love us as we are

  • be vigilant about the magazines, social media and tv shows that we watch and allow to shape our thoughts on life and bodies

  • start working towards goals that you wish to accomplish with your mind and body

  • cultivate a life that we are proud of, imperfections and all

 

When you have your own plan that you're diligently following and you surround yourself with people that support you as you are AND in the accomplishments that you wish to achieve, you will have less time to focus on whatever everyone else is doing and less tolerance for societal messages that you're not enough.

 

Your confidence and your self-respect is going to tell the world how to treat you.

It will even help other women brush off their own insecure feelings.

 

 

How do we do this?
How do we stop being effected by culture all of the time?
How do we start to actively love and care for ourselves even when we don't necessarily LIKE where we are today?

 

Step 1. Manage the message that you allow to be told to you

Literally block, unsubscribe from, unfollow and turn off anything and anyone that makes us feel like we are not enough.

Temporarily of course, this is not sustainable over the longterm.

But while we are strengthening our minds and practicing thinking positively about who and what we are, that process is easier when we are not constantly bombarded by conflicting information.

So if the representations of women in magazines, on TV, or online are constantly making you feel like you don’t measure up, you need to that stuff out for now while you work on changing how you receive that information. 

Step 1. a.  Denounce the deception

Pretty much every single professionally made photo or video of women in print or on screen is a lie.

There’s lighting, makeup, teams of folks that work to create the perfect look AND then there’s editing and photoshop.

We are all conscious of this but sometimes our brains still automatically compare our regular selves to these perfect standards.

Or maybe for you, it’s not some model in a magazine, but someone you follow on social media. 
Someone that seems really real, and perfect.

Guess what.
She's not. 

Train your mind to confront those false messages, begin by refuting them aloud :
 

“Skinny isn’t everything”

“There’s no such thing as a perfect house.”

“X-person has imperfections too.”

“I don’t need 6-pack abs to feel good about myself”

“I’m a great and imperfect ______(mom, friend, wife, employee, parishioner, dog momma)”

“I’m a mess, but my friends love me anyways.”

Say it aloud or do it publicly, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by all the “amens!” you get. 

Because we all struggle with this….

Dragging these messages into the light and calling them out for what they are diminishes their power.

 

Step 2. Proactively hand-pick your posse

Be selective about who you spend your time with, who you allow to shape and effect you, BUT don't go it alone. 

You need support.

You need community. 

You need other women that will laugh with you , cry with you, remind you of how beautiful you are, but also hold you to your commitments. 

These are the women that will not be threatened by your growth or accomplishments, but rather happy for you and inspired by you!

I know they are not easy to find, but find them you must. 
Sorry that was super Yoda-esque.

This is why I created my online coaching group, to facilitate real-women connecting with, supporting and encouraging other women in their life goals! 

Make it your beeswax to have some women in your corner. 

One's that share struggles, but are also looking for answers and not excuses. 
Women that like you are tired of the same tired messages that being 24/7 skinny, sexy, beautiful, organized, well-dressed, accomplished, and smart and happy is attainable. 

How? 
Go to a class, a conference, a meeting, a book club, a weekly meet-up for something you want to learn more about or get better at!

Since so many women struggle with body image, fitness and nutrition practices, finding a group that involves healthful balanced education and coaching around these topics can be helpful, but it's not essential. 

Maybe you find some your peeps through your hobbies?
Or over your shared like or dislike of a book in book club?

Maybe you have to grab the bull by the horns and make the group yourself, be the hub!

Whatever you do, find support and friendship that will cut through the BS, help you when your hormones are telling you everything is terrible and remind you that we are more than just the sum of our failed aesthetic goals. 

 

Step 3. Do the work to change your life/Create your own Personal Mission Statement

In my coaching club I talk A LOT about personal mission statements(pms)  and I'm going to link a PDF file worksheet here for you to use to create your own PMS.

One of the primary reasons we are so prone to looking around at others and feeling bad about our own lives and bodies is that WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THE HECK WE ARE DOING!!!?

We have no plan. 
We have very little direction. 
We just have these strange amorphous feeling about the many ways in which we are not living up to what we think we should be....even if we aren't even exactly clear about what that looks like!

We look at the women and think, "She's so thin because she's vegan and runs all the time. I should be doing that. I should look like that."

Or maybe

"She's so successful at that high pressure important job of hers AND has a beautiful house and gorgeous kids. Why don't I have that?"

Or whatever.
You know what I'm saying. 

We look at someone that has good things or looks or good or both and we use that as the measure for what we should do and what we should be EVEN when that person's lifestyle or the work that they've done to achieve these results isn't even actually something that we want for ourselves!

But we do it because we are not happy with we are currently and so we are so much more susceptible to feelings of envy, jealously and insecurity. 

The antidote for envy and jealousy? 
Working on your own sh*t.

For real. 
Stop looking at other people. 
Start looking at what you want to change, get better at, learn, accomplish, improve etc. 
Get a plan together and get to work. 

Don't worry, the plan will evolve and you will learn as you go, but be sure to spend some time reflecting on what you want to be, what you value in life and where you want to go from there!

Again the PMS activity will help you with this part!

 

If you can relate to what I'm saying here and you'd like to get a jumpstart on this process, then click on the image below and read about how joining Cultivate For Life Coaching Club will get you started with everything I've talked about here!

 

Ok so here's your take home message. 

1. Don't follow social media, read magazines, or watch TV that makes you feel terrible about yourself or promotes unrealistic fantasies.

2. Find your tribe that will love you as you are, but also help you to improve in the areas you wish to grow.

3. Figure out what you actually want and what's most important to you because arbitrarily trying to imitate others that might be doing something great, but are not necessarily doing something that's great for you!


You can do it. You can say no to all the garbage that is sold to you about what you should look like and how perfect you should me. 
You can carve out your own life and identity. 

After all, as Ayn Rand said, "The question isn't 'Who is going to let me?' it's 'Who is going to stop me?'"

Sarah Smith