Have you ever heard the phrase "the grass is always greener on the other side"? It's so common for us all to compare ourselves to others and want what we do not have that I sometimes think it's written in our DNA.
Nowadays, in terms of physical attractiveness, the media really alters our impressions of what it means to be beautiful. The beauty industry generates over $56.2 billion in a year, claiming to boost men and women's self-confidence. Beauty trends come and go, and they often times leave men and especially women, wishing their bodies looked different.
What does the media say is beautiful? Thin frame, long legs, large breasts, hourglass figure? Long hair, full lips, long eyelashes? Petite, round butt and well toned in all the right places? Well, I talked to some women with these #bodygoals and found out maybe the grass isn't always greener on the other side, and maybe, just maybe, we should learn to love our bodies just the way they are.
Long Legs, Thin Frame
"I've always been tall, my entire life! I started being insecure in elementary school because I was taller than all the boys, and people would point it out. That continued on into middle school. In high school, my height helped contribute to a good volleyball career and started my modeling career, but I still wished I could wake up an inch or two shorter. While in my 20's now, I still worry if my heels are too high. I get nervous, despite modeling for a career, and the funny thing is that in that world, taller is better. I round up to 5'10 for work but round down when others ask me how tall I am to 5'9. People always ask how tall I am (I am only around 5'9.5"), and people joke around by calling me giant.
At a family wedding, my younger cousin (16 at the time who is/was 5'11) and I were standing next to each other. I was in 3-inch wedges and someone walked by saying 'wow, clearly they invited the giants today'. It was a total stranger. We laughed it off, but those comments stick with you.
I can't say I've overcome it or that I'll ever be totally comfortable with my height. Long legs mean shorts, skirts, and dresses are a challenge to find in a length. Yes, my height has fueled my modeling career, and I am proud of it but seem to only be proud of it at work. Hopefully, I will stop caring what others think and fully embrace it because I am not getting shorter anytime soon!
To the girls who are nervous about being taller than guys--my boyfriend is 6'1, and even if I wear heels and am taller than him, he's okay with it because he wants me to feel empowered to wear heels and not care (and he even thinks it's attractive!), so my advice is, a genuine guy won't care if your an inch or so taller because of your new heels that you love wearing!
And you know, I have friends who say "oh I wish I had your body", and I just laugh it off saying 'yeah, high metabolisms are great, but you know being tall has its downsides too'. I think everyone will always want what they can't have. Being thin, for me, means I don't get big boobs, but I maybe don't have to be as health conscious when getting food. Everything, every body type, will have its pros and cons.
Saying "love yourself" is so much easier than actually doing it. I don't know if we will ever fully embrace our bodies because there will always be something new we want to change. Because I'm thin I need to "eat a hamburger" ...I do! Trust me! I think the dialogue needs to be not only loving/accepting our bodies, but we need to accept other women's bodies too. Women need to stop comparing and fighting against each other because we offer much more than our bodies."
"I hate my boobs to this day. It is pretty crazy to think that so many people want bigger and bigger boobs when all I want is to hide mine from the world. When I was younger (in my teens) I used to wear 2 sports bras to push them down. Even now it bothers me cause I can't find bathing suits that don't show them off. If I could tell girls who wish their chest were bigger anything, I'd tell them that they are so heavy! And you don't NEED big boobs. They might attract boys but that's of no benefit you, trust me!"
"I have to start by saying that even though you think a full, round butt will make you feel sexy and more womanly, it's just simply not always the case. I'm complimented on my large butt and tiny waist ratio often. My friends always say I have the most perfect hourglass figure. They say they wish they had my body type. Men stare. Random women compliment me. So why does it make me feel so insecure?
For starters, this big round booty accumulated during my awkward middle school years when I was already self-conscious about the changes that were taking place in my body. First came the hips, accompanied by stretch marks and a really difficult time buying pants that's could cater to my size zero waist and sized 12 butt. And next came the volume- fullness. Which was followed by cellulite and more stretch marks.
The disrespectful comments and the unwanted sex appeal that my full, large butt gave off sent a completely wrong message, whether I was wearing jeans, a skirt, bodycon dress/skirt or even sweatpants for crying out loud. I've since learned how to tame my curves and fall in love with my body, but it definitely wasn't easy.
I spent many days embarrassed, lots of money trying to find spanks to slim me down, time and energy searching for the best creams and lotions to eliminate cellulite and stretch marks, only to find out none of it worked. I found that the only cure to altering your body is to start loving it just the way it is, and I would tell the exact same thing to any woman who is sitting there reading this wishing they had a butt like one of the Kardashian's."
"My entire family is full of tiny women, short and thin. Ever since middle school I can remember people commenting on "how thin" I was. Little did they know I could pound a burger and fries, and yet have the wonders of a quick metabolism whisk away any evidence of the burger. In high school, I remember girls targeting me and saying I must be anorexic because I was so thin. Despite the amount of food I consumed and the regular exercise I was involved with, the comments still would flow in. When I was asked my weight and would respond 98 lbs or 100 lbs, the looks I would receive were full of disgust. I still get the questions today- and usually some comments when asked to share my weight. Even members of my extended family comment on my thin figure.
In college, I stopped exercising and kept eating, yet I wouldn't put on the pounds. It's difficult to hear the comments like "why don't you eat a burger" come out of a relatives mouth. My goal for myself currently is to build up my strength, in hopes of adding some more pounds, but also to just bring about a healthier me. Not so the comments stop because they won't. But so I can feel good in my own skin. This is the body God gave me, and it's my responsibility to treat it like a temple. I'm determined to take action for myself, and be proud of my figure- and not fall victim to the hurtful words of family and strangers!
It's an insecurity of mine because after years of hateful words, those words start to become tattooed in your mind. It's tough because I know women kill themselves day in and day out to be the size I am. What I would tell them is be happy with who you are. Take what the Lord gave you, and make yourself healthy in mind, body, and spirit. Healthy is beautiful...not necessarily size 0. Find a way to look yourself in the mirror and say "I'm proud of the work I've done to get where I am, and I'm thankful for what I've been given." That's when I think insecurity will fall to the wayside."
"It's hard to ignore the hype that Kylie Jenner has brought to the table in terms of the size of a woman's lips. It's a beauty trend that has just totally exploded, and I have to be honest- when it first showed up, I simply didn't understand.
The one feature I had that I was most embarrassed and insecure about was now the focus of everyone's attention. I had something people were striving for, literally going under the knife for, and I didn't even want it.
I'm not really sure why they were such an insecurity of mine. Kind of the same way that I'm sure people who want larger lips can't necessarily explain why they want injections based on the insecurity they have about their small lips. All I really know is that this "full lip" trend will soon go, and I will still have my naturally full lips. That's why I want to remind girls (and guys too!) that our bodies are ours, and our's only! Every decision that you make to alter your body will impact you and no one else, so if you do decide to make a change, do it for yourself. Sure we can make fairly minor changes that can be reversed depending one what we eat, our excercise schedule etc., but that won't change our bone structure. It won't change the way our bodies naturally carry weight or the size of our eyes or the length of our legs.
For this exact reason, I encourage everyone to find peace in the beautiful masterpiece that they are. Relish in the idea that not a single body is built exactly like yours. Not a single face was created like yours. You are unique and perfect in your own way, so the time is now to start loving yourself the way you are, exactly the way God made you."
"My biggest issue and insecurity relating to the shape of my body is that I look sexy without even trying to. Many of the flowy tops or shift dresses don't necessarily look good on me because they fall weirdly on my shape. I know it seems silly to anyone else who is wishing their body looked like mine, but truly, there are struggles whether you have narrow hips or curvy ones. There are struggles whether you have large breasts or small ones- obviously different struggles but struggles nonetheless.
If I could say one thing to people who wish they had my body type, I'd tell them that my body type isn't "beautiful". It isn't what "makes you a woman". It is something that a few shallow "beauty experts" have slapped a label on, calling it ideal, but that doesn't make it "beautiful". It isn't the only body type that is beautiful. It doesn't make me more or less of a woman than you are. It's time to start realizing what's important, and what's important is definitely not only what's on the outside."
Sometimes we feel like our lives will be so much better if only we had this or that. If only our waist were a little smaller or chest a little bigger. If our teeth were a little straighter or our legs a little longer. But I challenge you to embrace what you have been given and learn to love and accept yourself as you are. After all, you never truly get to see yourself in the moments where you are the most beautiful; talking about something you love when you're laughing uncontrollably, when you're asleep, so gentle and vulnerable. Beauty is subjective and truly in the eyes of the beholder. There is not a single definition of "beautiful", but I can tell you the most beautiful things about you are the quirks that make you unique and unlike the rest of the world. Stop wishing for the things you don't have, and believe that what you do have is more than enough. Let's make a pact this New Years to begin spending less time wishing we were different, and more time finding joy in every part of who we are
The grass might always seem to be greener on the other side but the truth is, it's only green where you water it.