We’ve been talking for weeks about Facing the Woman in the Mirror. But have you really looked at her?
Recently I was a guest on a TV show called Idaho Living. We were talking about what happens when we go try on swimsuits in front of the dreaded dressing room mirror. True confession: the last time I tried on swimsuits was 4 years ago and I almost had a meltdown when I realized how big of a size I had to buy.
But I guess that’s the reality of living in a size 00 world (Seriously? How can you be a size 0, let alone a size 00?). If you’ve never heard me hop on a soap box, this is it: we keep getting told that we have to attain standards that aren’t even realistic. Even Cindy Crawford recently came out about this and released un-photoshopped photos of herself. Yes, she’s a gorgeous woman. But, guess what? She has a belly, stretch marks, wrinkles. She’s human! Not that you’d ever know that from looking at a magazine cover featuring her – all of those ‘flaws’ have been airbrushed or photoshopped out. (And don’t be fooled to think that men have it any better – just take a look at Men’s Health or GQ).
I am not immune to this pressure. I was a senior in high school when I realized I was fat. My love of desserts started catching up with me (my way of coping with my father moving in with his mistress). My skirts were getting tight, people weren’t telling me I could be a model anymore, and I started hating the woman I saw in the mirror. Then I discovered the gym, and that began a 24-year battle with an eating disorder.
As I’ve recovered from that eating disorder, I’ve realized how important it is to love the skin we’re in. Our bodies are amazing miracles. They allow us to breathe, our hearts to beat, our food to digest, and we don’t even have to think about it. Yet, we criticize the woman in the mirror for not being perfect. Kind of silly when you think about it, huh?
That’s why I decided to devote my academic career as well as my company to fighting this unrealistic standard of ‘perfection,’ of ‘beauty.’ To learning to love that woman in the mirror again. And you can too. It doesn’t have to be this way. Stop the struggle. Learn to love the skin you’re in. Learn to love you.