Power In Perception
Yesterday my momma was over at my house, (bringing me surprises of course) and she was scrolling through Facebook and found an article about powerful women. She was reading off the 25 things and there were things like 1. Knowing what you want 2. Being opinionated 3. Never backing down 4. Having high standards for those who are in your life (you get the point). When she was finished reading, she told me that this was definitely me and I kind of laughed. It sparked something in me though, and we had a long discussion about what I think makes the strongest and most powerful women. I think what makes a powerful person (not just woman) are those who have a healthy body image and who treat their body with care. Think about this, we don’t have control over anyone else but ourselves, and the only thing that is truly ours (and irreplaceable) is our body. It is the only thing in this world we have the power to control, and it is the most precious gift we were ever given. Now let me ask you this, do you think someone who can’t take care of the only thing that is truly theirs powerful? In my very strong opinion, the answer is no.
How can someone who is a leader or a role model be the antithesis of healthy and expect people to respect and follow them? Now, I realize that we all deal with our own struggles, and I am not bashing anyone. I just want to empower you, and make you reflect on your own opinions of what makes a person healthy. I am not talking about just your body weight; I am talking about how you view your body. We talk about raising strong daughters and sons. How can we do that if we teach our daughters to hate their body, crash diet, and celebrate a number on a scale? If your daughter is weighing herself obsessively when she is 10 years old, whom do you think she learned that from? How can we raise strong sons when we teach them that supermodels are the epitome of beauty and they expect women to starve themselves to be beautiful? Teaching your child to be active and to eat healthy is how you enrich their mind and create healthy adults. It is very hypocritical of someone who says they are strong and powerful to be consumed with the shape of their body. Don’t get me wrong; it breaks my heart into pieces that so many people struggle with their relationship with food (both binging and starving) and with their body image. It breaks my heart even more that most people and our society don’t see anything wrong with this. It has become a normal behavior in our society to pick yourself apart and compare your self to people who aren’t even real in the first place. Whether a picture is edited or that person has had a lot of “procedures”, their perfection is not reality. You will feel a lot differently looking into the mirror, when you stop comparing your journey to other peoples. It is great to be inspired by people, but at the end of the day you are responsible for keeping yourself motivated.
To be completely honest with you, I have always been someone who was very hard on myself when it came to my physical appearance. I want to talk about this subject because I have been there, and I want you to know what it feels like to truly love your body. All of our stories are different, but my journey to loving my body goes like this. First of all, I want to let you know this isn’t that extreme. As most of you know by now, I am very type A and that comes with this perfectionist complex that is not always the best combination when it comes to how you perceive your body. Health and exercise are both truly passions of mine, and have been for as long as I can remember. Once I got to college and started to take classes about behavioral health, I became much more aware of the reasons behind why people choose to be healthy. Most of the time, it is because they hate something about themselves. This started to bother me a lot. I want people to become healthy because they love themselves, their families, friends, and their life. I wanted this for myself as well. I look at myself with a whole new appreciation. I love my flaws, because they make me who I am. I love that I eat healthy and kick my own butt in the gym every day to be more alive. I do this because I feel like a superhero when I leave the gym. I push myself, because it relieves the stress of the day. Most importantly, I choose this life because I cherish my body with everything that I am, and I wont take it for granted. Being healthy is just another tool to live life more freely and with more joy. The more able you are, the more adventures you can go on, the more hours you can spend playing in the backyard with your children, the more pretty clothes you can wear when you go on dates, and more times you can pass the mirror and smile, instead of wanting to cry.
So many people feel that health is just too hard and that it doesn’t seem attainable for them, but how silly is it that you let Mt. Dew or Fried chicken take away your life or your happiness. The freedom you will feel when you have a healthy relationship with food is irreplaceable. Not letting it control your every thought or action, and realizing that a piece of pizza wont make you fat, just like a salad wont make you lean (I hate the word skinny). Food is on this earth to help you stay alive. That’s it. Don’t starve your body, but also don’t gorge yourself. Life is about balance. I will never forget, in my first health promotion class we were asked to draw what we thought a healthy person looked like. Well, it’s kind of impossible. You see, just because someone is a size 2 does not mean they are healthy. Be the best version of yourself, and strut your stuff. That is what makes a powerful woman. Being in control of your mind and body. Being disciplined and consistent with your health. So many people make excuses that they don’t have time to eat healthy or exercise, well please don’t ever say that around me. I think its crap. It’s all about your priorities.
P.S. The other sign of a powerful woman is one who empowers others. You do not get further in life by putting others down. I challenge you to empower the people in your life to be successful in their endeavors. It is a great quality in a friend, and it means a lot when someone is truly your cheerleader. Don’t be the person who lets jealously control your life.