We live in a media driven world. Studies vary stating that the average person is exposed from 247 adverts a day to anything upwards of 3000 PER DAY!!!! Yes that is per day... Regardless of the actual number it is no secret we are bombarded. Log on to your Facebook account and there are adverts. Open my blog and depending on your browser there are adverts on either side of the page. Read a newspaper, glance through a magazine, drive down the road, walk through a shop... short of living in the bush and cutting yourself off from civilisation completely there is no way to avoid it.
This is not a rant against marketing. I understand it has its place and is a necessary 'evil' and it is not the purpose of this blog. The purpose is the message of perfection that is driven home every time I open some form of media. I'm starting to see how the constant bombardment has affected my way of thinking.
Summer is here and I am far from bikini ready... in fact I don't think I've been bikini ready since I had my first child 16 years ago. Every year it leaves me with a feeling of despair and inadequacy when I see the perfect bodies surrounding me on the beach... because lets face it when you feeling less than your best the rules of the universe state that you will only be surrounded by perfection!! I am never going to be thin enough, hot enough, have a flat enough stomach....
So what do I do now?
Do I allow this to affect my enjoyment of summer forever? This is now my 37th summer... how many more am I going to miss out on before I accept my body as it is? It's those Quality Street memories I've spoken about before (not that those help me achieve the bikini body!!). My body isn't perfect but it has looked after me all these years. Yes the knees are starting to make an odd noise, there are some grey strands in the hair, the back aches a bit longer when I carry heavy things... but this is my body and it is the only one I'm going to get... time I appreciate it...
Deciding to not worry about what society thinks of me means that I have to allow myself to be vulnerable. By chance I came across a talk given by Brene Brown on Vulnerability and Living with your Whole Heart (see below) - well worth taking time to listen to.
What she says makes so much sense. Unless we learn to embrace who WE ARE we are simply not living a full life. We are not loving with everything we have in us. We are cheating ourselves out of a life we deserve.
And for what purpose?
To make some stranger on the beach happy because our abs are tight enough this summer? This year I have realised I don't need to be bikini ready... so what if someone sniggers behind their hand because I'm not body perfect. Not getting to know me is in fact their loss, not mine. The responsibility I have to myself is to look after my body and be the healthiest I can so that I can enjoy my life and be around long enough to enjoy that of my kids, grandkids and perhaps even great-grandkids one day.
My perfection is found in my imperfection. It is what makes me unique. It is what makes family and friends love me for who I am. Not for who they or I feel I should be. Learning to love my imperfections is the best gift I can give myself. It won't be easy and like any other human I will certainly always have moments when I feel flat, ugly, fat and imperfect... but that's ok because that is being human. I control whether it defines me or if it is just a bump in the road on a much longer journey.
I'm starting to understand the following quote "Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we will ever do"... It is time I accept who I am and love myself. My story is not one of perfection. It is one of a life lived with all its imperfections.
The link below shows we don't need to be perfect ....