Insecurities

“Accept everything about yourself – I mean everything, You are you and that is the beginning and the end – no apologies, no regrets.”

Clark Moustakas

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****DISCLAIMER****

This blog is directed at the female population, not because I don’t believe men also suffer from insecurities (or because I don’t care that they do), but because it was in honor of Intentional Women’s Day.  As such, I wanted a post something to make women feel empowered.  It was not in an effort to make any of my male counterparts feel slighted, and I do genuinely appreciate all the gentlemen who stepped up to comment!  If you are a man and you happen to be reading this, I do believe the core message here still applies to you, so feel free to substitute “man” for “woman” and “handsome”, “hot”, “sexy” or whatever other term you’d prefer for beautiful. Ultimately, I believe EVERYONE: man or woman deserves to be happy, and that starts with loving and accepting yourself.  

I started this post yesterday in honor of International Women’s Day.  I thought it would be a topic we could all relate to, and a nice break from discussing my daily workouts.  Apparently, I was not the only one with this idea because when I pulled up Facebook this morning, there was a bunch of other chatter about this very issue. 🙂

We all have them.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a size 2, 10, or 20- if you’re a super athlete or super model- there are things you are going to feel self conscious about.  Sometimes it’s things you can change like your waste line or thighs; and sometimes it’s something your stuck with (unless you opt for surgery…) like stretch marks, loose skin, or even a less than perfect nose.

I’m not sure why as a society we tend to value the appearance of beauty more than beautiful character (and diversity!), but it’s clearly something that impacts all of us.  I’ve never been a “pretty, girly girl”, but I do have a lot of personality.  I am also caring, warm, compassionate, and have a big heart.  As you can imagine, I’m not the lady getting the most attention from the opposite sex.  At least, not at first glance.  I’m one of those people who becomes more attractive the more you get to know me, and I’m okay with that.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that when I go out with all my gorgeous friends that I don’t get self conscious.  As much as I appreciate being the girl with the personality and not the killer looks, it can still be difficult- at times– to live in a society where the latter is more prized.  After all, everyone wants to feel sexy and beautiful every now and then.

That is where working out comes in for me.  While I can’t go out and make myself as stunning as some other women (ok maybe I could, but it would be extremely expensive and likely violate my low maintenance nature), I can work hard at being the best version of myself.  That means making myself as fit and strong- mentally and physically- as possible.  Working out can boost your confidence and give you more energy to conquer your day.  Let’s face it, endorphins make you feel good in the moment, and getting results will make that feeling last.  Plus, THERE IS NOTHING MORE BEAUTIFUL OR SEXY THAN A WOMAN WITH CONFIDENCE- ESPECIALLY WHEN SHE TAKES CARE OF HER BODY.  Go get that PR you’ve been working on and then tell me you don’t feel good about yourself.

All that being said, even a person like me- who works out like a nut– can still have body image issues.  Even getting in great shape won’t take away all your insecurities.  For example, when I was training for the marathon and lost weight no matter what I ate, there were still days I felt fat (stupid hormones!).  The image of myself in the mirror was dramatically affected by my mental image of myself, and it wasn’t until Adam took pictures out on the boat one day that I realized just how thin I had gotten.  I immediately asked him “Why didn’t you tell me I looked like I needed to eat something!?”

Even now,  I sometimes have a hard time adapting to a more muscular build than I am used to.  Runners normally have very lean muscles, but since I started doing so much cross training, my calves and quads have gotten huge (not really huge- ok maybe my thighs are huge. And my butt! lol).  I know in my head that I am still thin.  I fit in a size 2 for Pete’s sake!  But, it’s something I have to remind myself of on a regular basis when I look in the mirror and see a “stockier” version of myself than I am used to seeing.

I also remind myself that I am a STRONGER version of myself than I used to be, and THAT is well worth the trade off.  The truth is that the more I strength train and run, the more my muscles will become lean and stronger.  Besides, there is nothing wrong with the way I look now.  Every time I feel that urge to pick myself apart I remind myself: 1) I have WORKED HARD for this body.  I earned every muscle through sweat and determination. 2) This body has carried me through a Tough Mudder, a marathon, several half marathons, hundreds and hundreds of miles of training runs, and numerous insane workouts (with minimal injury!).  It is strong, and THAT is beautiful. 3) My body is a work in progress.  It doesn’t need to be perfect.  My flaws are part of me and I like who I am.

Every woman is beautiful.  No matter what shape, size, race, or background.  No matter where you are in your journey:  YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.  Your flaws are part of what make you, and you are exactly the way you were meant to be.   Perfect is boring and unoriginal.  WORK WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT.   Everyone has insecurities no matter how perfect or put together they seem.  Not everyone makes the choice to get over them.

I spent over 5 years of my life with a person who picked me apart on a daily basis, pointed out every flaw, and continually tried to convince me that “[I] make everyone around [me] miserable”.  It took a LONG time to let go of any lingering belief that it was true- especially the last part, but I did and life is better now than it ever was before.  If I could learn to love and accept myself again- after all of that– then there’s no reason you can’t too.  No one has the right to pick you apart- including you!  You deserve better than that!

LOVE YOURSELF!

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25 comments

  1. Girl I love this article! I’ve never met you and I’ve only seen a photo or two of you on here but I can tell – and I say this with confidence – that you are a beautiful, sexy ( yeah baby!) WOMAN! You have a heart as big as all out doors and you are beginning to love life as it should be loved. You inspire and you Thrive…that’s as good as it gets.

    Insecurities? ( we all have them) My beautiful wife has scars all over her body from a kidney transplant, dialysis lines and more poking and prodding than I thought possible – yet she too is sexy and beautiful. She’s also battling mental scars from all her physical issues ( read ‘About Me’ on my little blog) and you’ll see what I mean. But she – like you continues to grow and become more beautiful each day. So I guess she fits into the category of Thriver as well.

    Awesome article – I’m sure it’ll give a lift to those that need it.

    Rock on kid – you’re amazing!

    doug

  2. I think this post can apply to the other sex as well.

    (I started to say stronger… as in stonger (men) vs. fairer (women), but I am pretty sure that isn’t P.C. and while you may be fairer, you are certainly also stronger than most … a Tough Mudder, really?!?! Wow!!)

    1. LOL I fully agree that you are right, and this post can definitely apply to both sexes. I went back and forth on directing it at a female audience, but in the end I wanted something related to International Women’s Day. Also, while men also suffer from insecurities, I feel like as women, we are more prone to picking ourselves apart- especially when it comes to body image.

  3. Great article, I think everyone has insecurities. I’ve known models who think they are not perfect and have them especially when they find they have been air-brushed after the pictures were taken. There is no perfect.
    I love my sister-in-law, she’s a ‘larger’ girl in her 50’s and when she talks about her body image she likens it to the ancient, old statues of goddesses, and she loves it
    It’s a mind set. I think confidence makes people beautiful, and I believe men face the same issues too, they just don’t talk about balding and looks in the locker rooms, so insecurities go way across the board and no matter how hard we try, we will always fight insecurities

    1. I fully agree with you, including on the men. I think it is completely natural to feel insecure at times, but it’s important to recognize it for what it is and not let it drag us down. 🙂

      Thanks so much for your comment!

  4. Insecurities plague everyone. Everyone. Society may have you believe its only women. Thats just the fragile Male ego talking. Trust me I own one. Body image issues are a product of our ridiculous culture, and yes it is disproportionately slanted toward women. I was always “skrawny” if you will. Or after I discovered beer “portly” either way equally unappealing to either sex. This leads to 0.0 confidence. That is probably the least attractive quality there is. I still am uncomfortable around strangers. It took me 37 years to lift a weight. I still won’t go to a “Gym” and I only ran my first race last year (actually first time I ran more than 2 miles in my life). In this last year I have met real athletic people. Not the top .01% who play professional sports. Real athletes, who get in shape for their life. The ones who don’t want to be winded when chasing their child. The ones who changed their mindset. The ones who by their own inner strength changed my mind set. A prime example of how this change has changed me is, I actually have the confidence to write a blog, or respond to one. I have done the things in the last year because the people who said I “could” finally spoke louder than those who said I “couldn’t”. The biggest help I have found is the people who asked me “Who’s race are you running: Theirs or yours?” Because you can’t run someone else’s race only your own. In my mind I win every race I enter. Some times I even finish them sooner than I expected and thats nice too.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I certainly was never under the impression that it was only a female issues, but can see how you may have gathered that from this post. You can now see I have addressed the issue. 😉 I am SO HAPPY that you are on the path to a happier and healthier you and that you have the courage to speak up about it! When it comes to running, you are absolutely right that FINISHING is the REAL victory. It doesn’t matter if you are at the front or the back of the pack! When I used to run track, the last person to finish always got as much, if not more, applause as the first, and it was well deserved. It’s never fair to compare yourself to others. You are not at the same point in your journeys. Kudos to you!

  5. Beautiful post! This is an important message that you are helping to spread. Self-love and acceptance is important; we all need to appreciate ourselves. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  6. Great post. I know for me, I’ll never been skinny and I am okay with that. I know that I AM fit, healthy and I couldn’t imagine a world with out some sort of physical activity (working out etc) in my life.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Cheers, Anna

  7. Thanks for the post…sometimes we all need to be reminded to like who we are. I’ve carried the quote below with me for years…since I saw it in a magazine in 1994.

    A WOMAN IS OFTEN MEASURED by the things she cannot control. She is measured by the way her body curves or doesn’t curve, by where she is flat or straight or round. She is measured by 36-24-36 and inches and ages and numbers, by all the outside things that don’t ever add up to who she is on the inside. And so if a woman is to be measured, let her be measured by the things she can control, by who she is and who she is trying to become. Because as every woman knows, measurements are only statistics. and STATISTICS LIE.
    ~Nike Advertisement, 1994

  8. This is a great post. I know I have a hard time accepting my body. It’s never good enough. And if someone compliments me I brush it off. When I should say thanks- I work hard at it. Instead I d

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