Summer is officially here at my house, and even though I've written about how much I love spending time with my boys, I dread it, too for reasons that have nothing to do with bored, fighting siblings.
I dread it for the simple fact that during summer more than ever, wherever I go I am constantly comparing my body to other women's.
And feeling incredibly insecure about myself. Seeing other women in short shorts and bikinis and sundresses and tiny skirts makes me want to hide myself away covering every inch of the body I think is not good enough.
No one has ever told me that (no one important anyway).
So why do I compare myself to someone who is not me and feel like I am not enough?
Because I am a woman, and it's what we all do. I have been surprised over the years at how many different sizes and shapes of women have found fault with themselves.
I have been reading a blog called Just. Be. Enough. And it is amazing. It's mission is to
"empower, inspire, and remind women, parents, and children that the time has come to celebrate ourselves. We must. We must carry the weight of confidence and empowerment on our shoulders instead of allowing the burden of our flaws and imperfections to push us down."
The burden of our flaws and imperfections...
Are they saying everyone has flaws and imperfections?
I think that is one lesson we women have always been taught that never quite sank in. No one is perfect. Even that woman with the kick-ass bikini body, a hot husband, and three adorably well-behaved children has flaws.
Even that woman at work or on the PTO who has fifteen balls in the air and juggles them with unflappable grace has flaws.
Some people are just better at hiding them. Some people are better at faking confidence (I do it sometimes). Some people are just better at denying their problems.
If we know this, then why do we compare ourselves to other women? Why do we let our flaws and imperfections push us down?
We are all beautifully flawed. It is our flaws that make us wonderfully unique. I have big hands and feet and a big nose and lips and broad shoulders matched with a small head and tiny eyes and short legs and small breasts with big hips and thighs.
But my husband thinks I am beautiful.
And some days, I do too.
Because I look at all of those mismatched proportions and I think about my wonderfully sweet and loving parents and which parts they gave me. And which I gave to my darling sons.
I think about which parts make me just like my sister or my nieces, and which make me different. I think about what I have that is unique.
When I get depressed I remind myself that I have a supportive family, I have an adorably funny and sweet husband who has never treated me badly, I have five very unique and special children, I have friends who laugh with me and drink wine with me and challenge me to be a better person. I have a talent for writing that people enjoy and want me to share.
I am never going to think I look good in short shorts or a bikini or a backless dress. But there are several other things I look good in and feel good in.
Dresses and platform heels.
Running shorts and tennis shoes.
Boot cut black pants and a cute top.
My children's arms.
But, I tend to think too much about, "If I can just lose ten pounds."
"If I could just organize my house."
"If only I could run farther."
"If only I could get paid for writing.'
I should stop thinking that I need to fix myself. I should stop defeating myself and start caring for myself. I should just start being enough me and stop trying to be some other woman.
I should carry the weight of confidence and empowerment on my broad shoulders for I have done some amazing things. I am most proud of the fact that I have birthed babies and nursed them, and that I held my child and stayed with him when he died.
We have all done something amazing. We just need to give ourselves permission to admit it and be proud of it.
Maya Angelou, that phenomenal woman with a gift for telling it like it is, said, “You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”
We don't have to prove that we are thin enough, fit enough, smart enough, mom enough, woman enough, good enough, anything enough.
We alone ARE enough.
That is going to be my mantra every time I go to the pool and look around at the perfect bikini bodies. If I can truly get myself to believe that, I think I might make it through the summer with my sense of self intact.
Tell me, what are you most proud of about yourself? What do you like most about yourself? How do you convince yourself that 'you alone are enough?'