Our own worst critics

She rolled herself out of her warm and comfortable bed. Her feet sunk into the plush carpet with each step to the bathroom, where the tile and the air are cold. She is only thinking one thing: Why did I stay up so late last night?

When she can finally see clearly, she looks at herself in the bathroom mirror. She sees black circles under her eyes. She touches her tired skin. She studies the red spot that seemingly appeared on her face overnight. Now, she’s thinking that it would be a good idea to put some makeup on in order to hide this version of herself from the rest of the world. She makes sure to do her makeup first, so she doesn’t have to stare at her tired face while she brushes her hair or while she stands in front of the mirror debating between outfits.

She slips her feet into the legs of her jeans. She pulls them up, zips the zipper, and closes the button. She looks at herself in the mirror. She decides that she doesn’t like the way her hips or thighs look. She turns around to look at herself from behind—she doesn’t like the way they scrunch up around the backs of her legs. She thinks that she looks “fat”.

She gives up on the jeans. She pulls on some leggings—her go to, even though her mom hates it when she wears them. She flips through her shirts, trying to decide on the shirt of the day. She tries on multiple, each time not liking something about the shirt. She thinks to herself: This one makes me look too pale. This is a nice shirt, but I don’t like the way it clings to the sides of my body. Here’s a shirt I haven’t worn in a while . . . Oh right, it makes my arms look three times the size they are—that must be why I haven’t worn it.

The thought of what she has eaten over the past few days comes into her mind; she feels sick to her stomach about her food choices, despite the fact that what she’s eaten really wasn’t all that bad, not to mention the fact that she always works hard in the gym and is very healthy overall.

She slips a bunnyhug over her head. It will hide my arms and the rest of my upper body.

—————

As a person in today’s day and age, it’s nearly unheard of to find someone who completely loves their body without the desire to change anything. People spend money on weight loss pills, they try extreme fad diets that don’t permanently keep unwanted weight off, they trap their bodies in Spanx, they spend their hard-earned dollars on gyms, fitness classes, personal trainers, and perhaps plastic surgery. At what point does the desire to change ourselves cross the line from normal to unhealthy?

This situation and behaviour aren’t unique to me; I haven’t met a person who doesn’t go through it. When I look at my friend in the dress that she’s been so excited to wear all week, but changes her mind at the last minute because it shows her “armpit fat”, all I see is my beautiful friend. I see beauty, and she sees imperfections. Regardless of the number of times I tell her that she looks perfect, she will still change into a “safer” dress that masks her insecurity.

Perhaps the imperfections that we see are undetectable to others. Maybe, we see a tainted version of ourselves through our own eyes. It’s time we stopped being our own worst critics and just wear the dress, because you look amazing.

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