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beauty in imperfection

As some of you may know this week is Change the Way You See, Not the Way You Look Week!  The purpose of this week is to promote Caitlin’s book, Operation Beautiful, as well as to help women everywhere see the beauty in themselves!

Take a moment to click over and enter the giveaway for an Operation Beautiful book!  Giveaway ends August 10th at midnight.

I decided to contribute a post because I have always struggled with loving myself and seeing past my imperfections.  From as early in my life as I can remember, I have focused on the negative aspects of not only my body, but also my personality.  I remember as far back as early middle school, placing a cut out of a girl from a magazine on the inside of our kitchen cabinets so that every time I opened the cabinet to get food, I’d be reminded of what I wanted my body to look like.  Not only did this not make me thinner or more toned, it contributed to the mindset that I would never be good enough until I looked as good as the photoshopped model in a magazine.

While I still struggle everyday with not accepting and loving my body, the one thing that has changed as of recent is the fact that I now recognize that it is not okay to constantly criticize myself.  The older I get, the more I understand that continuing to live this way is detracting from my health and happiness, and more importantly I don’t want my future children to grow up believing that it is okay. I put so much care into what I put in my body, but I am often reckless with the things I allow to invade my mind.

I’ve also begun to recognize the reasoning behind why I treat myself this way.  It comes down to one word: perfection.

We live in a world that is obsessed with perfection.  Everywhere we look we are bombarded with images of perfection – from magazines to movies to TV.  We can’t even stand in line at the grocery store or go to the dentist without having to face these kind of demons.

Headlines, advertisements and magazine covers constantly scream at us to improve this or perfect that while showing us an image of a perfect body.  A body we should have for ourselves.

What would your dream body look like?  Would it have any imperfections?  No.  This article is telling us that perfection is not only attainable, but that we should expect ourselves to achieve it.

If we just eat the right thing our stomach will be perfect and we’ll be happy.  Lies.

We must believe that we do NOT have to be perfect to be beautiful!

The path to perfection is a never ending black hole of self destruction because no matter how hard we try we will inevitably fall short. This is not to say that we shouldn’t strive for excellence in our lives – but we must be able to let go of the image of perfection that the world throws at us and that we come to expect of ourselves and begin to celebrate the things that make us imperfect.  That make us unique.  That make us beautiful.

Countless times (including this morning!) I have stood in front of my mirror and thought any one (or more) of the following:

  • look how fat my thighs are
  • my stomach looks awful
  • I wish my arms didn’t look so big
  • my hair looks terrible

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to stop tearing myself down, and begin the work of building myself up. But it won’t happen if we go about it passively.  We have to actively fight back.

But how?

Here are some ideas I’ve come up with to get started. I know you all have great ideas and suggestions, so please share them in the comments! Let’s do this together.

Actively being thankful.  If we spend our time and energy thinking of things about ourselves that we are thankful for, we won’t have as much time to think of everything we wish we could change.  We can foster positivity, gratefulness and love within ourselves.

Replacing lies with truths.  Each time a destructive thought pops into our minds, replace it with a truth.
Example – Lie: I wish my arms didn’t look so big.  Truth: My arms are beautiful and they enable me to do downward facing dogs and love on my husband.

Ridding our lives of false/evil messages of perfection.  Next time we’re in line at the grocery store, instead of zoning in on the magazine rack, call a friend or strike up a conversation with the person behind us by paying them a compliment.  We obviously can’t protect ourselves from these messages all the time, but every step is one step closer to loving ourselves.

Constantly remind ourselves of how beautiful we are.  In the spirit of Operation Beautiful, I put these up this morning.

Now as I’m getting ready in the morning, I can be reminded that I am beautiful now…and that I don’t need to change anything to be able to love myself.

I wish I had started out on this journey of loving and accepting myself years ago, and I’m so thankful for Caitlin and the Operation Beautiful movement for taking the first steps toward a revolution in the way we see ourselves.  Let’s work together to make our world a more positive place not just for ourselves, but for future generations of beautiful girls and women.

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the book – I’ll be getting mine this weekend!

And please share your thoughts and ideas on combatting the perfection trap in the comments.  I can’t wait to hear what you think!

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4 Responses to “beauty in imperfection”

  1. Thanks for sharing, Candice. It’s a tall order for me to change my attitude, especially regarding perfection, but seeing how you’ve progressed is inspirational to me!
    I really love this: “I put so much care into what I put in my body, but I am often reckless with the things I allow to invade my mind.” I might post-it that onto my mirror tonight :)

    [Reply]

  2. I want to give you a big hug! This is such a great post and you are so not alone (for better or worse). Until reading so many inspiring stories and posts and learning about Operation Beautiful, I really did not recognize how horrible I was/am to myself on a daily/hourly basis. It makes me sad to think about how much time and energy I have spent putting myself down while I walk around cheering on others. I started putting up sticky notes about 2 weeks ago. Right now mine says “Love Yourself.” I have to stare at it each morning when I get to the mirror to start getting ready. Each time I start to hate something, I see that note.

    Oh, and about someone finding your blog from the cathe search???? Maybe from one of your comments on my blog perhaps? Not sure how it all works.

    [Reply]

  3. Sarah says:

    Great post, lovely lady!! Thanks for sharing. Perfection is not only over-rated, but boring and I think it would look a bit weird if we saw it in real life :P

    Here’s to Operation Beautiful! xxx

    [Reply]

  4. lol you did beat me! You sneaky thing you!

    Your blog – I’m in love! So so cute, the layout is great and the content? Even better :)

    This is a really awesome post. And I can say that I did the same things back in highschool (taping VS models on the fridge). Not only are these things totally unattainable – no body is perfect – but they lead to depressing and pessimistic thoughts. When I started to love my body for what it could do and not what it looked like is when I feel I truly started to love myself.

    Can’t wait for you next post – definitely would love to meet up at HLS :)

    [Reply]

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