Comparing My Insides to Your Outsides

Ladies (and gentlemen), stop using the F-word. Not that F-word, the other one: Fat. Too often this word is used to put ourselves and others down, and it needs to stop. We are all beautiful beings, regardless of our jean size. The real test of beauty should be based on the strength of our character, and how we show up in the world, not on some physical expectation. Believe me, I am as guilty as the rest of us. The game of compare and despair is one I mastered a long time ago. I have gone to great measures to change my outside appearance as a way to manage my internal discomfort; having wasted many hours criticizing myself and agonizing over my weight. At times it was such an integral part of me that I didn’t even notice when I was engaged in this behavior, until I recognized the impact it was having on my emotional well-being. Slowly, with time, many set backs, and consistent accountability, I learned the value of self; choosing authenticity over superficiality.

When I was younger, I never felt comfortable in my skin. I was shy and awkward (or so I thought) and I constantly compared myself to others. If only my hair was blonder, my freckles lighter, or if my booty wasn’t so big, then maybe I would be happy. But here’s the reality. At one point, I had that blonde hair (no thanks), my freckles disappeared with age, and I lost those curves. And you know what happened? I found other “flaws” to focus on. I set new unattainable goals, all of which did nothing to make me feel better about myself. This way of thinking lead me to hate the girl in the mirror and gravely affected my health, well-being, and self-esteem.

It took years to understand that no matter how hard I worked out at the gym, or how skinny I got, there was always going to be something missing inside until I learned the act of self-love. Bottom line, I didn’t feel good about myself, and that was reflected in the way I treated my body. After some time in therapy, and as I matured, I learned to appreciate my imperfections as pieces of me. I am strong, I am beautiful, and I am flawed. And today, that is perfectly acceptable.

My hope is that you can truly see how beautiful you are. It pains me to hear when we’re ripping ourselves, and others apart, instead of loving and supporting one another. Every time the F-word is used, our spirit is broken. Every time we shame ourselves, a friend or even a stranger, someone’s inner light dims. Let’s focus on our positive attributes instead of being preoccupied with negative self-talk. One thing I’ve challenged myself to do, is to become more aware of my inner critic. Whenever, “I’m fat," or some other self-deprecating thought crosses my mind, I immediately shift my perspective by saying out loud something I like about my appearance, or my accomplishments throughout the day. It’s so simple, yet a constant work in progress.

Can you imagine a life where we didn’t call each other names, like fat, or put someone down for how they looked? I can and it’s amazing. It starts with us, our communities, and all the women out there affected by the ugly F-word. To me, beauty comes from within, exemplified by integrity, courage, and kindness. Beauty is based on our character. Not on our size.