Dec. 15, 2020

How You See Yourself is about More Than Just Your Reflection in the Mirror.

”They took away my laugh lines. They gave me breasts. They gave me green eyes instead of blue. They turned my hair more golden and they did this ad that was like, what if I told you, you could get a lifted butt and thin thighs and all the things without barely moving a muscle?” This quote, given by Sadie Lincoln during an interview with Rich Roll on the Rich Roll Podcast, is just a small part of a much larger picture they paint about the pitfalls and benefits of the fitness industry. Tune in to learn how to trust your body, have a better relationship with exercise and the importance of reconnecting with your inner knowing.

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This episode’s got it all, women in leadership, owning and running a success business and an unusual perspective on our relationship to fitness. Your basic girl power trifecta! Today’s clip comes from a conversation between Rich Roll and Sadie Lincoln of Barre3, a fitness company focusing on body positivity. The reason for my interest in this interview is because as far back as I can remember my body and I, we haven't always seen eye to eye. I wanted it to look one way and, unfortunately, it looked another. Let’s just say we’ve been in a fight ever since. 

But I’m curious what do you think of when you hear the term, body positivity? What’s your initial reaction? Do you think it’s reserved for those with the perfect figure, the perfect features, whatever perfect means for you? Like, of course they have body positivity, they have a perfect body. Or do you know there’s more to it than that, but you can’t quite get past our cultural obsession with perfection? There’s no right or wrong answer here. It just is what it is until we decide to change it. As for me, well, I consider myself fairly enlightened and somewhat more self aware than most, so my first thought is...body positivity? Gimme an f-ing break! I know, God's lips to your ears. It’s like he’s speaking through me.   

But truthfully, can you blame me? We are bombarded from every direction with these absurd expectations of how we should be, what we should do and who we should strive to look like. It’s an ongoing battle between who we are and who the world feels we ought to be. Everything around us, providing proof that we are not enough. And I know I don’t need to mention the internet with all the filtered, airbrushed, edited beauties that grace the social media sites we scroll through on the daily. It used to be a few magazine covers here and there like Cosmo and my favorite as a teenager, Seventeen. But now it’s every time we look at our phones and with every notification we get, which I turned off by the way, but it’s like ding, compare yourself to this girl, ding, here’s another one, ding ding compare, compare, despair. 

My daughter, 23 and gorgeous if I do say so myself, not that I’m biased or anything, texted me the other day to go get, are you ready for it... mother daughter lip injections for the holidays. Apparently nothing says Christmas like over inflated lips. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. And it’s now a thing, but it’s not my thing, at least not at her age. First off, she sure as hell doesn’t need it and second, can we take a minute and go back to when we were in our teens and early 20’s. Would you even imagine suggesting something like that to your mom? I mean, I told my friends I got my period way before telling my mom. Yeah, we didn’t talk about things like that, like the mysteries of the body or boys or sex or dating or anything that had to do with body function, body parts or too strong of any one emotion. Let alone think to ask for hers and hers plastic surgery. No, those discussions, they did not happen. I don’t want to say my generation was repressed but my generation was definitely repressed. And maybe if we’d have had some of those heart to hearts with mom, we’d be a bit stronger and more resilient against some of these outside attacks. I can only hope I’m doing better with my own girls.  

In some ways it is empowering to be a woman over 40. I tend to care less what others think and more about what I think. And even with all my insecurities I really do feel better in my own skin. I feel more comfortable with my sexuality now more than ever and maybe that's part of self acceptance and basically giving zero fucks about certain things that comes with being a certain age. But like I said, I still struggle. I still judge my flat ass, which I lovingly (not so lovingly) refer to as a back with a crack, my jiggly arms, and my National Geographic boobs from feeding a tiny village of 3. And you better believe that anything I wear has all the characteristics of a professional cover up. Everything hidden in all the right places. It reminds me of that movie with Alicia Silverstone, ahhh, Clueless! When she tells her friend that another girl is like a monet painting, pretty from far away but a big ‘ole mess up close. That! It’s that mean girl voice in us all that shows her ugly face now and again before the voice of self compassion kicks in. People might compliment me on my hair and I’d think yeah, but have you seen my face? We can be merciless to ourselves, no? Saying things we’d never say out loud to any other human being.

Be honest, you know shit like that has run through your head before. And even though it’s common, It’s not normal. It’s messed up and it’s programming. Programming that’s been running through us since youth. And it pisses me off because it's disempowering and again conflicts with the strong and confident woman I want to be.  

So, obviously, this is one of those areas I struggle with, that, hard as I work on it, I can’t quite kick the body shame habit. I would love, love to sit here and say how much I’ve grown and changed and evolved over the years...and I have, to some extent, just not as much as I’d like. I read the books, listen to the gurus, do all the things but haven’t yet had that come to Jesus moment. I know, it shouldn’t matter and I’m a  beautiful person on the inside as well as the out, I get it, I do, but really I don’t because deep down there’s this tiny kernel of disbelief. 

But I also know it’s not so much about the reflection in the mirror as the perception of the person (aka me) looking in it. I’m currently reading a book on Self Esteem and as I continue to work on challenging my perceptions, this book shows that funny enough, it’s less about my looks and mostly an issue of low self esteem or how I FEEL about myself. You know that saying, you are what you eat? Well, you are how you see and feel about yourself too. And it doesn’t matter how buff or beautiful you make yourself, if the inside doesn’t match the out, your perception of yourself, it won’t change. It’s definitely a process and it takes time but what’s the alternative? Constantly comparing myself to others and coming up short? Always feeling like something’s wrong or missing and I’m not enough? Besides time’s gonna pass whether I do the work or not so I might as well do the work right? What about you? 

Looking for somewhere to start? Notice how you speak to yourself. Ask, Is what I’m saying really true? Do I really believe this about myself or is it just a broken record in your head that needs changing? Reframe it. Turn it into a positive. And if anything else, tell that mean girl to shut the hell up because... you’re gettin kinda sick of her.

That’s it for me! Check out the full episode of The Rich Roll Podcast #501, “Sadie Lincoln is Rewriting The Fitness Story-Thoughts on Movement, Community, Risk and Vulnerability. Links to that and Rich and Sadie’s social media are in the show notes below along with a link to the book, Self Esteem by Matthew Mcay, PHD in case you’d like to dive deeper into the topic.

If you enjoyed today’s show please share with someone you think might benefit and until next time, Thanks for listening.