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Thoughts & Inspiration

Our Value as Women: Beyond Physical Appearance

December 5, 2017

Hi friends & happy December! Here’s a little something I’ve noticed in myself lately…

When I greet someone, I am so quick to compliment their physical appearance, saying things like “wow, I love your outfit” or “you look so beautiful in green!” — and maybe it stems from a place of me wanting to break the ice or be nice or maybe it’s just a secret attempt to make myself feel secure about my own physical appearance?? Ah wow, something to think about…

Truth is, it’s really wonderful, encouraging, and so super bonding to give (and receive!) these kinds of compliments. Yet, at the same time, I crave so much more to be the kind of person that first acknowledges and uplifts someone’s character, intellect, and passions before I praise their physical appearance. Maybe that’s because I crave for someone to notice those things first within my own self?

Have you ever thought of this or felt affected by it? Sometimes I feel like the only thing people see about me is my body or my outfit or how I did my makeup that day. But the truth is, I desire so much more to be deeply known, to be seen for my creativity and work ethic, and for my thoughts to be heard. But all too often, I can get spun into this whirlwind cycle of keeping up appearances and tying myself up with a bow in efforts to convince everyone around me that I’m seamlessly keeping all my crazy together!!

I want to strip away the pretense. I want to let people in enough to see the real me. I don’t want to fear vulnerability. I no longer wish to compare myself to other women, looking for some sort of validation that I am in fact enough because I am in fact worthy of so so much more that I actually believe. And so are you.

But dang where do I even begin and why is this such a hard thing to do!??? With this post, I wanted to dive deeper into my own thoughts… I’ve written out three reasons why I think this — learning how to compliment, uplift, and value character and intellect above physical appearance — is such a hard shift to make. I’m also going to write out some practical tips that have helped me make changes in the way I view myself and others. Maybe you will find some use in them too!

But for real though — I would really love to hear your thoughts on this. Please comment below or send me an email at thefitflamingo@gmail.com! The more we share our insecurities and fears with each other, the less of a hold they have on us 🙂 Here goes!

It’s culturally ingrained… 

It is such a culturally ingrained way of thinking, embedded in all we see and do. We are constantly surrounded by images and advertisements that aim to remind us of how incomplete or not enough we are. Social media can be ruthless! There is an over saturation of content available at our fingertips that we can quickly compare ourselves to it. It only takes a few seconds of scrolling before I can find an image of a girl who looks like she’s a better personal trainer than I’ll ever be, who leads a healthier life and makes more money and has a better body and yikes I can spiral through these thoughts so fast.

A practical tip: Be fiercely picky in who you choose to follow, what you choose to read, and who you listen to. Set yourself up for success out of a pure love for your own well being. Surround yourself with people who inspire, motivate, and stir up some creative magic within you. Think about this for your direct circle of friends but especially for the social media accounts that you follow. Only follow people who propel you towards a better you. You get to choose who you follow!! Choose wisely!

It’s easier… 

It takes so much more time to get to know someone deeply enough to even know how to compliment or lift them up. It requires me to intentionally invest in friends new and old, asking better questions and becoming a better listener. I also have to learn how to take the focus off myself so that I can lower my guard and fully connect with another human. That isn’t easy!! It requires a selfless approach and a real confidence within my own self!

A practical tip: I like to ask myself — is this compliment I am about give the thing that really makes this person special/valuable/important/worthy? Personally, I always feel so much more encouraged when someone recognizes something about myself that isn’t found directly on the surface. It makes me feel like they see me enough to take notice of the things that are not-so-obvious.

We fear rejection so we cling to deception… 

Doesn’t it feel like everyone around you is prettier and cooler and smarter and further along than you will ever be!?? Ah, the struggle is all too real. Like, how did you even wake up like that? Or how do you look even prettier after you work out!?? (— things I think about when I look at the girl next to me in that one yoga class I sometimes go to lol!!!)

Okay but for real for real! It’s so freaking scary to let people see who we really are without a filter. I can feel so broken sometimes. I don’t have it all together. I struggle with acne and food and my body image. I can feel so insecure in my own skin. But here’s the deal, I don’t want to hate myself anymore. I don’t want to doubt my talents, gifts, hopes, and dreams. If we live in such a constant fear of rejection, we will undoubtedly dim the light inside of us. And that light is there, even if you haven’t seen it for quite some time. Trust me, it is there!

A practical tip: Transform your mindset. There’s a book I absolutely love and think every single person in this world should read. It’s called Mindset. The book teaches that there are two kinds of mindsets you can have: a fixed mindset & a growth mindset.

People who choose to have a growth mindset see themselves as a work-in-progress. They value learning above perfection and see obstacles, criticism, and setbacks as an opportunity to grow. They don’t take failure or inadequacies personal. The coolest part of a growth mindset is this: if you approach challenges with the heart to grow, you won’t be defeated when you misstep, falter, or take longer than expected. You’ll be that much more eager to try again and to keep going.

Y’all. I want to shed light on and reflect others back to themselves in a way that goes beyond just the physical. I hope you’ll desire to join me in doing the same 🙂 The truth is this: you are more than your body. You are more than your accomplishments, perceived failures or faults. You are more than your skin. You are an incredibly intricate human with so much to offer — not only to this world, but to yourself as well! 

If you love reading (and even if you don’t), take a look at these articles from some of my favorite sites. They got me thinking big time and inspired the thoughts in this post!

Sending you lots of good self-lovin’ vibes today & always.

Your fit flamingo,
Madison!

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