Own Your Beauty: Breaking Through Invisible Me

7 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

Own Your Beauty is a groundbreaking, year-long movement bringing women together to change the conversation about what beauty means. Our mission: to encourage and remind grown women that it is never too late to learn to love one's self and influence the lives of those around us -- our mothers, friends, children, neighbors. We can shift our minds and hearts and change the path we follow in the pursuit of authentic beauty.

Although I spend an inordinate amount of time and energy thinking about my body, cultivating awareness of my body, and trying to love my body exactly as it is, I have a confession to make: If I'm in a good place, body image-wise, I DON'T think about my body. After I've been feeling good about myself for a decent chunk of time, my body becomes invisible to me. I get dressed effortlessly, see myself in the mirror and feel utterly neutral, give nary a thought to my physical self unless I stub my toe or get a paper cut.

Featuring Photo by GeminiQueen from BlogHer's Own Your Beauty Flickr Group

And I suppose that's acceptable. I'd certainly rather feel positive than neutral, but when I'm in this mode, I'm comfortable with myself. I walk around the house naked a lot more. I don't get hung up on cellulite or chin hairs. It's quiet and relatively serene inside my head.

The unacceptable part comes when I shift out of invisibility mode. Because when that shift inevitably happens, it's into nitpicking. I begin to see my body, but only as a collection of things that aren't quite right. It's typically around this time of year, too. My hips get a little broader, my hair gets a little flatter, and my posture gets a little crappier. I start to eat heavier foods, feel lethargic and dull, put less energy into my personal style. The constant drone of self-critique begins to buzz in the background of all my thoughts, and passing the mirror becomes an exercise in disappointment.

And I want to change this cycle. I shouldn't be invisible when I'm happy with my body and visible when I'm not. I need to make more of a commitment to recognizing the beauty in my body at ALL times: Keep that positivity churning when I default to invisibility and note the marvels of my figure even when I'm sliding into nitpick mode. And since I'm pretty sure the only way I can make that happen is to make it a daily ritual, I'm going to commit to that: Every day, right before I say goodbye to my cats, I will take five seconds to look in the mirror and express love and gratitude for the bounty of my body. No matter how good, neutral, or awful I feel, I will set aside one positive thought each morning for my physical form and see how it affects me.

Are you familiar with this cycle? Do you think a daily affirmation could help? If not, how else could someone counteract the invisible-good/visible-bad body image cycle?

Read more about Own Your Beauty or add your name to our statement of belief now.

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