As women, we are often bred to see our value through our appearance. This is most true in our most formative years as young girls and adolescents. We are taught by example that we must be smaller, darker or lighter; we should have bigger lips, smaller nose, higher cheekbones and bigger eyes. We need rounder bottoms, bigger hips but a smaller waist, smooth and tight. We are taught to be quiet, to be small and not to make waves.
If we stand up or stand out, if we take up space, we are labelled as bitches or outcasts. As we mature, these thoughts that we are being judged and valued by how we look and especially our size and shape, are so engrained in who we are that they follow us into womanhood. They settle in deep.
But, ladies, when was the last time you looked at a woman and said, "Wow, I am not going to be her friend because she does not look like the girls in magazines"?When was the last time you worked with a woman and thought "I don't think you are competent because you don't contour your make-up like the YouTube videos"?When was the last time you looked at a mother and thought, "Wow, she is such a great mom because she is a size four and has the most on-point outfit"?
YOU are the only person holding your value in your appearance. You are SO MUCH MORE valuable than that.
I'll tell you when: never.
That is the beauty of surviving adolescence. No one gives a shit anymore about your size, shape, make-up or clothes. Except you. YOU are the only person holding your value in your appearance. You are SO MUCH MORE valuable than that.
No one is watching you at the gym. No one knows you are at a spin class for the first time, even if you fall off the bike. Twice. No one notices your perfect tan or perfect toes. No one notices you expertly posed in your bikini and sunglasses at the beach... watching your kids play while taking selfies.
People DO notice your heart. People DO notice your vulnerability. Vulnerability and humility make you human, make you relatable, make you real. People DO notice your efforts to connect with those around you. People notice happiness, people notice you laughing. People notice compassion, and service, and kindness. If all you are is pretty, your value will depreciate quickly. But good character builds with age.
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Practice letting go of the fear of being judged. Practice trying new things. Practice seeing value in yourself and others. Teach your children and lead by example that our value is so much deeper than our appearance. Go to the beach and play with your kids, laugh and play. Go to spin class and do really shitty but get sweaty and work hard. Apply for a job you don't think you'll get, but deep down you know you deserve. Ask for a raise. Build your character and show the world all that you have to offer. Take up space and be proud of the woman you are.
Don't shrink. Be brave!
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