We’d like to think it doesn’t happen. You know, those comments people make to us or about us that leave us self-conscious, annoyed, hurt, questioning ourselves. Those comments by others who hit us right where it hurts? Like they know that one weak spot and arrow in on it. The comments that cut like a knife. The comments that leave us thinking maybe “x” is a an issue, or not good enough, or wrong with me.
Comments like, “Wow, can you beat up your husband with arms like that?” Comments like, “How much do you bench and squat?” Comments like, “wow, look at the guns.”
And maybe even worst of all, “Is your man scared of you??”
And all of a sudden we shrink, we question, and we doubt ourselves.
It’s happened to me many times, over and over for decades. Even as a trainer and business owner, I’ve told the story about clients telling me they DON’T want arms like me. They think if they workout with me they’ll BULK up. And I used to take it personally. I used to get comments about being bigger than guys I dated over and over. I hated it. And there’s one thing I’ve come to realize…
People’s comments are always a reflection of THEM, not you. They come from inside of them, whether it be from insecurity, jealousy, envy, or sometimes, if you’re lucky, admiration. For me, I had to begin to embrace my shape, my genetics, the natural tendencies my body had. I could either stop my fitness, lose my definition, and hope to lose the comments as well, or I could ask myself some questions I think you should examine too…
Why do you workout?
Who do you workout for?
Are you going for a certain look?
What if you don’t attain it?
Do you know your strengths?
Do you have realistic expectations?
Could you embrace your God given shape?
Because look, even if you lose weight, you still have your shape and your genetics. While it’s possible to change those things, it’s extremely difficult and quite honestly, to me, it wasn’t worth it.
I wanted to have the dancer body. I wanted the smaller waist and bigger butt. I wanted my arms to be slender and I wanted my body to be slight. I wanted my calves to fit in skinny jeans without bunching. I wanted to be girly.
My muscle made me feel masculine. The comments people made also made me feel masculine.
Then I realized something.
NOBODY MADE ME FEEL ANYTHING.
I MADE ME FEEL EVERYTHING.
AGAIN, I’d take their comments and because I was insecure about these things already, they’d kill me. They brought it to the surface. I had an ex comment on my bad blonde hair and space in my teeth once. Because I was already self conscious about these things, man, they stung.
But do you ever notice how those things you are confident with are barely picked on? Barely commented on? Knowing this now, why do you think this is so?
While I’m talking about body image mostly, it could be for anything. Your laugh, your job, your income. Whatever you are insecure with often surfaces because that’s where your attention is. That’s where your mindset needs improvement.
So when it comes to body image, the best thing I did was decide to WORK WITH WHAT I GOT. I stopped trying to change my body so much and instead, embraced it. I know this sounds like foo-foo fluff. But really, I decided to be proud of what I have. I wasn’t going to look like ballerina Misty Copeland but I could look like gymnasts, CrossFit athletes or track stars. Or even better, I could look like LISA MARIE.
When I stopped fighting my body, I began to embrace it. To appreciate it. Why would I want to lose the definition in my arms and legs and look like every girl? Maybe this difference was something to be proud of instead of self conscious about. Maybe a guy commenting on my arms and boyfriend didn’t matter because THEY WERE NOT MY BOYFRIEND. Maybe the woman at the wedding with the opposite body type calling me “ripped” was really just projecting her insecurity on me. And who am I to internalize it, downplay my strengths and in turn, my confidence?
It sounds cocky. It sounds arrogant. And I hate both. But this isn’t. This is self acceptance. It’s being realistic. It’s accepting your strengths and your flaws and realizing if you NEVER improved them, you are still amazing. Your body doesn’t change that. You got a big ass? Some girl is jealous of it. You got small boobs? Some girl wishes she had little ones. You got definition? Some girl is dying for it.
I know you don’t wake up early and workout just to have it go to shit when someone else makes a comment. If so, sleep in.
See, someone always wants what we have.
Everyone always wants what they don’t have.
But NO ONE CAN MAKE YOU FEEL INFERIOR WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT. – Eleanor Roosevelt’s wisest words I’ll never forget.
The change is for YOU to make.
The change is for your mindset, NOT your body.
Embrace your shape.
Be proud of the work you put in.
And accept that bodies are different.
Love yours, for what it is, and watch your perspective change.
This New Year, let your resolution not be for a better body necessarily, but for a better mindset. You may be surprised how your body follows.