All too often when we step in front of the mirror, we’re seeing what is “wrong” with our bodies: too big, too small, too much of this, not enough of that. Where is that internal critic coming from? How do we know what “right” is in order to compare ourselves against it and come up “wrong”?
We’ve absorbed some internal idea of an ideal body shape, we’re using it as our template, and we’re judging any part of ourselves that doesn’t match. Now, you and I both know that the problem with comparing your body to some other ideal is that those ideals aren’t always attainable. This way lies body issues, and all the negative psychological and physical implications of them.
But comparing yourself to some impossible ideal is only half of the problem. The other half is that they’re a myth in the first place.
Because what is the ideal body shape anyway? Which ideal are we talking about?
- Lean and lithe Audrey Hepburn?
- Boyish, athletic Katharine Hepburn?
- Curvy Marilyn Monroe or Christina Hendricks?
- Amazon Cindy Crawford?
- Waifish Kate Moss?
- Skinny but buxom Victoria’s Secret models?
- Muscular, no-body-fat Olympic swimmers?
Audrey Hepburn was no less beautiful because she wasn’t the same shape as Marilyn Monroe.
You’re no less beautiful for not being the same shape as some imaginary ideal.
(You know what men’s ideal body shape is for a woman? Female. No really–they just don’t care the way we think they do. Sure, they’d love it if Giselle Bundchen decided to leave Tom Brady for them, but they’re hardly saving themselves for her in the meantime, are they?)
The only ideal body shape is your own.
What do you think?
- Do you compare yourself against an ideal?
- Why or why not?
- Do you think ideals are harmful or useful goals?
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