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#loveyourselfie

An interesting news story was brought to my attention today and reminded me that something I’ve been wanting to write about for quite some time is selfies and body image.

The Today Show had a segment where the anchors appeared on camera without makeup, and then reportedly opened up about some of their own body issues and insecurities. (I was at work and didn’t get to actually watch the show, but did read about it later in the articles I’ve linked.)

Additionally, a couple of weeks back I watched a great video sponsored by Dove that really made me think about different ways beauty can be perceived and it put things into a new perspective for me.

Like most women, I often get hung up on my appearance and probably spend way too much time planning out what I’m going to wear for the day or analyzing how I look in the mirror for a few seconds before leaving the house.

For years, I’ve struggled with feeling like I was always the heaviest person in the room (even when that wasn’t true, I still saw myself as the overweight girl), and even though I’ve been able to overcome that mentality it still creeps up on me sometimes. Those insecurities about my weight and shape often meant that I would intentionally stay away from other people or feel like I was being judged when around skinnier, more fit people (even if it wasn’t happening).

In order to hide myself in the crowd, I did everything from dyeing my hair a brighter shade of blonde and caking on the makeup to wearing clothes that would make me feel like I was disguising all of my imperfections instead of actively doing something– anything– to make these issues with my own body image disappear.

Sure, I had a gym membership and would go workout a couple of times a week, but inevitably I’d go home and be lazy or get sucked into tv marathons accompanied by a pint of Ben & Jerry’s with my ex-boyfriend. I don’t want to blame him for all of my lazy behavior, but whenever I expressed my desire to pursue activities other than sitting on the couch I was met with resistance. In all fairness though, a pivotal event that put me on the right path of being able to accept myself  (and get me back in better shape) was highly influenced by that ex (the move to the Virgin Islands was mostly his idea) , so I won’t hate on him too much right now.

The initial boost of losing a few pounds and hearing how much better I looked after being able to go swimming/snorkeling 2-3 times a week showed me that it was possible to change my body shape and that I would not only be healthier, but also have a more positive outlook and not feel like I was the biggest person in the room any longer.

Eating better and trying to stay active after a lifetime of being lazy and eating crap are definitely challenges I face, but I only have myself to blame for any slip-ups or backtracking of progress on my physical fitness goals. I know what needs to be done, and have the tools available to accomplish my goals.

Even better, I no longer cringe when I look in the mirror, and have managed to leave the house on more than one occasion without any makeup. I’ve accepted that I’m not and will probably never be “perfect,” and have learned to embrace the curves of my body instead of hiding them away. Heck, I’ve even stopped dyeing my hair and have learned to love the natural dark blonde/ginger shade my hair is naturally. Being perfect is overrated, and I’m much happier being myself.

Seeing a shift in the media towards telling people to accept themselves and promoting a positive body image instead of encouraging women to strive for a “thigh gap” is something I have been very glad to see, and hope that this trend continues.

I kind of veered off my original topic here, but felt like sharing a little of my history on this issue was necessary.

While I don’t usually like sharing selfies (I’m terrible at taking them), the Dove selfie video showed me a new way to think about such pictures. The idea of using these types of pictures to promote positive body images and allowing people to express how they feel most beautiful is something I can definitely support.

In honor of the sharing a makeup free selfie trend from today, below you’ll find one of mine in all of my makeup free glory.

selfie

Bonus: it’s also post-workout, so I’m way more disheveled than usual.

What’s your stance on selfies and using them to help promote positive body images?

 

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