Women are inclined socially at a young age to be pinned against one another. History proves this and the future looks to be the same; especially with social media and bullying in schools. As my blog grows and as I grow as person, I feel it is my responsibility to try and make the world a better place. How philosophical of me, right? However, if there is one issue I am just as passionate about like I am with fitness, it is women empowerment.
I decided to break this post down into two different parts. Today I want to write about jealously and learning to love our physical appearance. I am not a jealous person.
It has not always been like though. When I was growing up, every girl was prettier than me. Every girl was cooler. Every girl was more fashionable. Every girl was funnier. Every girl was smarter. I did not have any self confidence in myself. I hid behind my abnormally large sweaters, pants, and glasses. I would get teased about my looks, especially by girls. It depleted any ounce of confidence that I was able to develop.
When I began high school, that is when I started to experiment with makeup, styling my hair, and putting together pretty outfits. My fashion choices were not standard for my high school though. This resulted in intense bullying; not just because of my fashion choices and looks-- but my weight.
Because my childhood was plagued with so much pain from my peers and a family member, I developed a sense of compassion and empathy for others much sooner than people my age. Unfortunately, that compassion did not eliminate the jealously that was living inside of me and often dominated my emotions.
I constantly tried to change who I was -- that happens to a lot us, especially during high school. It is undoubtedly an exhausting growing period for us all. I was no exception, and going through this took its toll on me. Because I did not like what I looked like... it made me hate who I was as a person. Consequently I would take my anger out on people I secretly admired. My insecurities were taken out on women I thought were prettier and better than me.
Whether one admits it or not, it is absolutely true that most of the time when someone is putting down another person or "hating" on them for something petty and juvenile, it is because they are insecure and trying to feel better about themselves.
As I started to grow up, I realized that jealously was such a deeply negative, disgusting emotion that I wanted no part of. It brings out the worst in people and because so many people irrationally react to it, the world can be such a bad place.
There would be days when I would surprisingly have an ounce of self confidence, yet it could easily be shot by seeing seeing a woman who I thought was prettier than me. I constantly compared myself to other women. I would want to put them down so I could try and feel better. I would want to do whatever it took to make myself look more attractive than the woman next to me. I always tried to change my looks, even going as far as purchasing brown contacts because I thought they were prettier than my natural blue.
Then I finally thought; who the hell wants to live this way? Who wants to live their life coveting, wishing, and yearning to be someone else?
But the question was: how do I change?
The change for me was a process. I had to teach myself not to be jealous of other women. There was no anti-jealously pill that a doctor could prescribe, there is no amount of makeup or clothes that make the jealously and insecurities go away, and there is no man in the world who can make me love myself for who I am. I am the only person who has control.
First, I wanted to love myself physically; which I knew was going to be a lot of work.
I have large blue eyes and I think they are pretty. I do not have dark brown eyes like I always wanted and I never will. I need to accept that and move on.. I did. I always wanted large lips; my upper lip is not as large as I wish it was. Because I refuse to get injections, I have just found ways to accentuate them. I have a gap in between my two front teeth that three years of braces did not fix-- as it came back. It used to bother me so much that I would never smile with my teeth showing. I desperately wanted it fixed, but did not have the opportunity because of the cost. OK, fine. It's quirky, unique, and now I think it's cute. I can finally sat I am thankful that years ago I did not get it fixed because now I really enjoy having it!
Next, I always wanted long, lean, and thin legs. However, standing in at 5'3 1/2 made that nearly impossible. Then to add in years of gymnastics, track, cheerleading, and dance, that just made my "thin legs dream" even more unattainable. Thankfully, I loved my sports more so I got over that.
My long and lean dream continued with my arms. I wanted them rail thin when I was a teenager, but I lift weights far too much for that. If I wanted to obtain that look for my arms, I would have to give up one of my most favorite hobbies. That was in no way happening, so I moved on.
Lastly, my butt. This made me so insecure as a child that it used to drive me crazy. I would want all of my shirts to be so baggy on me that they would completely cover my butt and hide it. I was 10 years old wearing XXL men's t-shirts. Now I love it. It is one of my favorite physical parts of me and I work hard to maintain and keep it toned and muscular.
It was important for me to put all of my physical issues on the surface. I listed out nearly everything I detested about my looks. I did this because in order for me to change, I first had to acknowledge and be brutally honest with myself.
There are a lot about our looks that we cannot control. Initially to me, that was heartbreaking. When I realized that a lot of the physical traits I so desperately wanted to have were impossible attain, I knew that spending my life yearning for them was an utter waste of time and energy.
Now I see this "revelation" of mine as humbling. It 's beautifully, humbling to me. Through this journey, I learned to love myself despite my self proclaimed flaws. There are some physical traits that are me, and cannot be changed no matter what I do. In that case I can either spend my life hating them or change the way I view them. I chose the latter.
As I worked on this and consistently took the time to change the way I view myself, I did not realize the freeing and positive outlook and energy it would being to my heart, soul, mind, and the way I saw other women.
I thought accepting and being content with my looks with be the best experience, but freeing myself of jealously and comparison changed my life more than I ever thought possible. I will continue on with that later on in the week.