If you're working on loving yourself (whether that be how you view your body, your intelligence, or the type of mom or wife you are) but you're still doing these things below, then it might take longer to love yourself than you think.
- If you are still judging other women. (Because you'll still judge yourself)
- If you're still making comments about how unflattering an outfit is on another woman. (Because you'll still make those kind of comments about yourself)
- If you're still saying things like, "Gosh. She is so lucky. She has no idea." when looking at other women's bodies when you think that they don't struggle with the same things as you. (Remember that we are so much more than a body part. Sure, she might not struggle with a particular physical feature, but that doesn't tell you anything about her life, her struggles, or how "lucky" or "unlucky" she actually is.)
As humans we are hard-wired to want to be accepted and appreciated, especially women (whether you want to admit it or not). Ironically, we often withhold the very acceptance and appreciation from other women that we crave for ourselves.
Not you? Don't be so sure of yourself. Next time a woman walks into a bar, into the mall, or into church, take note of your first thoughts. Are they judgmental or uplifting? Did you notice the shape of her body before her smile or personality? Did you say things like:
"That's so unflattering!"
"Why is she wearing that?"
"Too much makeup"
Do you tend to say things like, "Lucky her..." and assume she has it all together, without knowing anything about her?
Now I truly believe in the statement, "To love others you most love yourself first." But I also believe the following challenge is incredibly powerful too:
While trying to love yourself, practice loving others as well. Get used to how it feels to say nice things. Your mind and body will soon be able to feel the difference between negative and positive comments.
If you read my spray tan blog, then you probably understand why seeing tons of women at their most vulnerable state—naked, in front of a mirror, while another woman (that would be me) stood in front of them—was so terrifying. In that particular blog I spoke about how hard we are on ourselves and how during that spray tanning moment so many women are terrified to look at themselves in the mirror.
But maybe the scary part wasn't the mirror? Maybe the scary, terrifyingly vulnerable part was the fact that they had to stand naked in front of another woman.
Women have a reputation of being judgmental of other women (which I believe stems from our culture's system of impossible and ridiculously narrow beauty standards, but that's a whole different blog!).
During those spray tans, not only did I see it as a chance to remind women how beautiful they are, but I also saw it as a chance to remind them that there are, in fact, people out there that don't judge them and truly only see the good. Not only did this help them, it helped me tremendously.
The more I appreciated and accepted women around me, the easier it was to appreciate and accept the woman I saw every day. Myself.
We can't all be spray tanners. But we can all practice accepting and appreciating other women around us and most importantly, ourselves.