Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Girl Talk--Body Image

I've been excited about this Girl Talk topic since the beginning. Body image is a powerful thing. It can really get a hold of me. Working on the way I view myself and my body is something I am always working on and striving to improve. I have to amazing ladies here today to share their thoughts on the struggles they have experienced with body image and their tips for overcoming those struggles. I hope you love these ladies as much as I do.

Meet Lauren

The Best F Words

 What things do you think our society and we as individuals do to perpetuate negative feelings about our bodies/looks?

 I think advertising plays a huge role in how we feel about our bodies. When we are bombarded with images of "perfect" women and they don't look a thing like the average woman, our ideas of beauty can become really skewed. But I also think that women have a tendency to compare themselves to every other woman on the face of the planet and not just the ones in advertisements. We may want that girl's hair but she wants another girl's complexion but she wants another woman's height and so on and so on. We are so focused on what other beautiful people look like that we forget to look at our own beauty.

How do you combat (or how do you suggest women combat) these and develop confidence?
 I try to remember what a miracle my body is - no matter what form or shape it is in. I focus on the fact that my body is a gift from God and that I should nurture it and be grateful for this gift. 

 When/how do you feel most confident?
 I know this may seem shallow but I feel most confident when I take care of my body. Whether that be working out or eating right or taking a nice long shower or putting effort into my outfit for the day - if I focus on myself, spend time to nurture my gift from God (my body), and show appreciation for it, I benefit by feeling taken care of and therefore confident.

When do you feel most vulnerable to feeling negatively about your looks?
 My response to this can be linked to my response above about when I feel most confident... I feel most vulnerable when I compare myself to others, when I don't nurture my body by refusing to be active or eating a ton of junk food, and when I beat myself up about the small imperfections that make me unique. When I'm down on myself, it is easy to feel like others are looking down on me too.

If you want to connect with Lauren: Bloglovin~Facebook~Instagram~Pinterest~Twitter

Related Posts from Lauren:
Featured:Unlost Photography
Family: Nine Months In, Nine Months Out

 Meet Jacy

My Name is Jacy 

Can you share some experiences you've had either personally or knowing someone else with negative body image?

Over the holiday, my husband asked my son what he wanted to get me for Christmas. This was his reply: "Well..." as he tapped his index finger on his cheek "what doesn't mom like about her body?" He stood there for a minute, thinking. "Let's see.... she doesn't like her hair and she doesn't really like her stomach either! Maybe we should buy her a wig? What do you think, Seth? Oh! I know! How about a new stomach? What else doesn't she like about herself?" Obviously, and thankfully, my husband diverted his attention from all the negative body image talk and they opted for a massage gift card instead. However, later, when my husband told me of this little encounter, I may have let out a forced light chuckle because it seemed sort of cute, but in all reality, my heart just sank. This is not okay. My 5 year old son thinks that I don't like myself! So much so that regardless if I expressed distaste for my hair or stomach (or whatever else) just one time, or a million times, made no difference; he wanted to help me fix the things I didn't like about myself for Christmas. That's what he wanted to gift me. BIG FAIL ON MY PART.

What things do you think our society and we as individuals do to perpetuate negative feelings about our bodies/looks?
 There's this silent, but deadly, pressure to be put-together and perfect all the time. I feel like there's this overload lately... this constant OVERLOAD of perfection everywhere I look (Pinterest, magazines, blogs, television, etc.)! I'm swamped with thousands of images of hairstyles that no one can figure out how to do, make-up tricks that are just too time consuming, and apparel portraits that are way out of the normal persons budget. Sometimes it feels like we're all in some sort of competition with each other.... everyone... all women.... everywhere... Sometimes it feels like it's all about who can look the best... all the time... every minute of every single day. It's all about who's dressed in the most expensive and coordinating outfit... who can keep up with the most eyelashes, tans, extensions... who can be the most daring and bold. It's all about who has the hottest body.... and who can rock a bikini the best... It's all about who's got this... who's got that... and it's all so in your face... all the time. And then I think to myself.... "WHY DOES IT BOTHER ME?" I know exactly why.... because I start to get down on myself... and I think (even as I type) of all the things I should be doing to make me look better, you know... so I can keep up with the image of what everyone else around me is doing. Disservice to myself. A terrible, terrible disservice. So why do I do it? Even when I know I shouldn't.... why do I let myself get sucked in like that? Maybe it's insecurity... maybe it's because it's just plain everywhere... I really don't know… What I do know is that it is real and I am victim to negative self image and esteem.

 How do you combat (or how do you suggest women combat) these and develop confidence?
Here is a list I have come up with that helps me SO much! How to Reclaim Your Self-Love: 

#1) Make a CONSCIOUS DECISION. Before you start on this monumental quest, you must first CHOOSE to do it. You've got to wake up in the morning, stare at your reflection in the mirror and say "It's time I start loving you darn-it!" Believing in yourself is the first and most important ingredient if you want to progress... and even if it's the tiniest little bit of belief... you must believe.

 #2) STOP comparing yourself to others. I know it's hard (I do it ALL the darn time, still) but you've got to learn to stop- someway, somehow. Comparison is dangerous... it's poisonous.... and it kills. When you compare, you criticize yourself and then negative energy oozes from your pours. It is impossible to love yourself if you're constantly focusing on everything you can't do/ or don't have. Figure out how to control yourself from comparing. For me, I've learned that I feel so much better if I avoid certain blogs, magazines, and T.V. shows. It sounds quite silly but it's helping me in enormous ways! 

 #3) Focus on all the wonderful things that make you, YOU. Remind yourself of your positive qualities and all the things you have to offer. If you must, make a list and post it on your bathroom mirror! Everyone has AMAZING qualities... and you do too... so put your pride and/or embarrassment aside and write down some of the things you love most about you. Once you've done that read them everyday until you can honestly recognize their truth. Learn to love and appreciate your physical reflection, as well. Study your femininity. Study the brightness of your eyes and their meaning. Study your uniqueness and those features that make you stand out. Declare with confidence what makes you, YOU. And don't forget to graciously accept compliments given to you! 

#4) Indulge yourself in doing things that you love to do. Make time for interests/hobbies that make you feel happy. When we excel at our talents (no matter what the talent(s) may be) and see progress with our own eyes, our confidence blossoms. 

#5) Accept your flaws. We ALL have them! But instead of dwelling on them, accept the ones you cannot control and look for ways to improve the ones you can.

 #6) Think of yourself less and others more. When we become so incredibly consumed with our own issues, it's almost like we completely forget that others are struggling too. We bury our heads in the sand and we sulk. No good ever comes from this (and trust me, I know because I've had my head in that deep grainy sand before). But if you come up for air and take notice to those around you, you'll quickly realize that you ARE NOT the only one dealing with insecurity, sadness, or difficulties. This will help you to see things in a different light than before.

 #7) Serve. When you serve, you feel better about yourself. Period. I don't care what it is that you do... if you are being kind and thoughtful in some way or another (to someone else), you will feel better. A phenomenal love will engross you, your heart will feel warm and you'll love yourself even more. The power of giving is fascinating. 

 #8) Acknowledge your feelings. It's okay to have setbacks. It's okay to cry. It's okay to grieve. It's ALSO okay to find humor in things. It's okay to get excited about things. It's okay to enjoy the good around you. Embrace your feelings.

 #9) Take good physical care of yourself. Get out, go for a walk, get some sun, breathe the fresh air, enjoy the beauty that exists all around you. Respect your body by eating healthier foods and drinking ample amounts of water. Exercise more (I'm totally slacking at this). Your body is your vessel- take pride in it. Ensure that you are getting proper sleep and find the time to relax every now and then, too. 

#10) Celebrate your existence. Life is short. Life is a miraculous gift we are given. Tightly grasp the tender moments you have. Ponder your presence here. Dig in spiritually (whatever that means to you). Love those around a little bit more by giving tighter hugs, lots of kisses and more of your attention. Express gratitude for all of your blessings: your beating heart, your health, your abilities, your talents, your family, your friends, your home, your job, your goodness, your entire being, etc. Live your life. Love your life.

 #11) Smile. Smiling is the beginning to laughter. Laughter is contagious and when it is shared, it can help lighten burdens by increasing happiness, enhancing relationships, and even improving your physical and emotional health (I'll be posting on this another time :). Make it a point to surround yourself with happy, positive people.

 When/how do you feel most confident?
I feel most confident when I am doing the things that matter the most to me. I feel most confident when I am not obsessing on what I look like, but rather what I am doing to become a better person, as well as when I am serving others. I feel most confident when I can look in the mirror and *see* me, the real me, and acknowledge my worth and value-- regardless of what my outward appearance is or what is happening around me. I think it may be maturity, or maybe it's because I have experienced a very intense journey of finding myself (through plastic surgery and every extension possible)…. but I think confidence is really about believing in yourself, recognizing all that you ARE, rather than everything you don't think you are, and trusting yourself. Trusting yourself to be the best person you possibly can… trusting yourself to be true and honest and real… trusting yourself that regardless of all of this mumbo jumbo that is shoved down our throats all the time, we are beautiful and capable and intelligent human beings. Our presence here is miraculous and I am so much MORE than just how I appear. It is so much deeper than that. I feel most confident when I trust me, Jacy, and all that I have learned, all that I have become, and all that hope to be.

When do you feel most vulnerable to feeling negatively about your looks?
 When I get sucked in to what everyone else is doing, I get jealous and incredibly self conscious. It's not a fun place to be and I tend to linger in it for a while. And then I horribilize everything and become absolute. But this is when I force myself to EXIT from that mentality and move onto things that matter to me, personally. I don't need to be doing what everyone else is doing. I don't need to get my panties in a wad about what some woman blogger (whom I'm never even met before) is wearing at some gala. I don't need to emulate Charlize Theron or J. Lo every time I leave the house (or ever). I don't need to compare myself to anyone because all it is is one big, fat, self-destructive time waster. I haven't shaved my legs in 5 days... my toenails haven't been painted in over a year... I shop at Ross Dress for Less... I got acne medicine from the Dermatologist today... and I can't button up any of my jeans so I'm using hair-ties... How's that for perfection? lol... But you know what? It's OKAY because I'm cool with me! I've got a life to live dangit! I've got the things I'm working on and there's no sense screwing it up all for the sake of a few photos I saw on Pinterest, right? 

Want to connect with Jacy?

Related Posts by Jacy:
Reflection and Self Worth Part 1
Reflection and Self Worth Part 2
Reflection and Self Worth: Plastic
Q&A: I've Thought About the Breast Augmentation Thing

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