One of our old Invictus shirts had a tag line that read, “Re-Defining Beauty.” Doesn’t that just roll off the tongue so well? Re-defining beauty. This topic of beauty really strikes a chord with me. What does it mean, and who determines what is beautiful?
I am fortunate to be surrounded by powerful, strong and independent women who are still feminine. The biggest pet peeve I have is when a woman walks into the gym and says “Will this make me bulky?” Ugh. No, you are not producing the hormones that a male does so you’re unlikely to get “bulky” unless you start injecting yourself with extra hormones.
But there is more to this question. There is a fear with many women that if they start lifting weights then all femininity will go out the window. How untrue this is! My lifting gals and I have weekly pedicure/manicure nights, schedule in our monthly facials and wear as much glitter as possible. Especially when lifting. If that’s not feminine, I don’t know what is! ☺
Part of the issue is how women have defined beauty. I was a slave to marketing geniuses for a long time. I had clip outs of models in magazines, had them taped in my food journal and did severe calorie restriction to emulate, what I thought, were skinny goddesses. I defined beauty by what the scale said and the smallest size jeans I could fit into. Unfortunately, this led to much unhappiness and feelings of discontentment. My definition of beauty needed to be changed; and our society’s definition of beauty needs to be changed.
Our looks and outward appearance have no bearing on who we are as a person. Our looks have no bearing on defining our own beauty. We need to stop trying to change our physical appearance to fill some sort of happiness within ourselves. Instead, we need to define ourselves by our accomplishments, personal satisfaction and our positive impact on others. Throw away the scale and stop the terrible habit of comparing yourself to others. The comparison game is a vicious cycle that only yields unhappiness, dissatisfaction and negativity.
So, how do we re-define beauty in our society? By setting the example for the next generation. It will take a long time to redefine beauty in a society that is set in its ways, but we are making huge strides. Here are a few things that each one of us can do to lead by example:
- Women, be honest about how much you weigh! You are an athlete and you will weigh more then the average GloboGym spin instructor. That is okay! Be pleased with the amount of lean muscle you have on your body and stop trying to fit into someone else’s mold!
- Stop comparing yourself to others. This is one of the best ways to self sabotage any progress you would like to make. Every person is unique and brings different talents and qualities to the table. Every time you compare yourself to the girl next to you, you are just undermining yourself. Instead, embrace your body type and relish in your unique attributes and natural beauty.
- Get rid of the negative self-talk. Instead, imagine yourself talking to a good friend. You would never tear down your friend and insult them. Why would you do this to yourself? Every time you find yourself having a negative internal monologue, ask yourself “would I treat my friend this way?”
- Change your perspective. A global shift in perspective needs to happen for many women. Take a look at the bigger picture. Instead of honing in on every inch of what your body looks like in a bathing suit, take a step back and acknowledge that you are healthy and fortunate enough to be as active as you are. Acknowledge the amazing achievements you make every time you go into the gym, and the incredible people who surround you day in and day out. In short, remember that there are many things more important than how you look in a bathing suit.
By continually applying these principles and supporting each other, we can begin to shift our community’s definition of beauty. Women, don’t underestimate the power you have to change society’s view of beauty. We too often undermine our own efforts every time we go back to negative self-talk, comparing ourselves to others and measuring our self worth by the number on the scale. Fight your tendencies to do these things and start paving the way for a new definition of beauty for our next generation.