While casually conversing with a peer last week, I complimented her dress. She immediately dismissed my comment.
“Oh, this? It makes my arms look so fat.”
Prior to her response, I hadn’t noticed anything about her arms. Just the lovely floral pattern of her sundress. I was mildly baffled by her response because nothing in the least seemed large about her arms.
Isn’t it a little crazy how common this situation is? By far, that is not the first time I have given a compliment and it is met by critique that I never even considered. I’ve also been on the other side of this, of course. Many times I will analyze the shape of my thighs or the small pimple that makes its way on my chin. It will be all I can see. I’ll then go in a public setting and not one person even seems to take a slight glance at it.
Why are we so hard on ourselves over such insignificant imperfections?
For me, a subtle shift in what seems to be weight gain or a break out on my face signifies a lack of control. I haven’t drank water enough or haven’t eaten healthy enough or I haven’t worked out intensely enough. If I can’t maintain these small things, what can I control?
Although I think it is good to stay on top of your bad habits, it is also very easy to turn small imperfections into unhealthy obsessions. Yes, it is good to strive for a healthier you…but part of that health is self love. In fact, it is an essential ingredient to improvement.
Self love is not something we must work toward through smaller thighs or a face free of breakouts. It is gained through accepting your current state and understanding your mind and body. Love yourself during the process, not just the end result. (Especially since there never really is an end to self improvement.)
So go easy on yourself. 🙂