Why do so many amazing women put themselves down? (You know who you are)
I recently read an impactful article about the pressure we women put on ourselves. Essentially, the author, Kristi Coulter, describes all the pressures we face as twenty-first century women. One of my favorite quotes:
Is it really that hard, being a First World woman? Is it really so tough to have the career and the spouse and the pets and the herb garden and the core strengthening and the oh-I-just-woke-up-like-this makeup and the face injections and the Uber driver who might possibly be a rapist?
As someone in her forties who spent the better part of her life first investing in things to change my outsides, and later on things to change my insides to accept my outsides, I sometimes questioned our decision to open a gym. I mean yes, we rely on the discipline and energy physical fitness provides us to survive our life. And having given up all my other vices (except for coffee), exercising is my number one stress relief.
On the other hand, the fitness industry exists to make women feel a) horrible abut themselves and b) like the same ‘perfect’ body is attainable for everyone and c) that we’re not quite succeeding at life if we don’t achieve b. I hate that. I hate that I bought into it so long, I hate that my daughter might inherit that and I hate that any of the wonderful women in my life feel that way.
It really hits home when I talk to or hear from women who feel like they’re struggling in their journeys. They talk about how they’re ‘blowing it’ because of what they ate, or that they are not losing weight fast enough or something or other. It sucks to hear this and not the least because I hear me in this. I regularly get into fits of rage or despair that the ‘extra’ fifteen pounds I’m carrying.
“How can I be a gym owner when I’m such a fatass!” “No, don’t take my picture!” “How could you have posted that? I look like a beast?” “Can’t you photoshop out my ass?” Yes, these are things I say all the time. The only positive thing is I don’t say these things in front of my daughter, but I do say them and this is after nearly fifteen years of intensive self-help. And I’m not alone.
Why is it I believe with every fiber of my being that YOUR worth has nothing to do with your weight, size, or muscularity but feel unworthy of even talking about it if my pants are too tight? I know I didn’t have this awareness before I gave up my vices. Coulter’s article is about how women are increasingly using alcohol to numb themselves to some of the ridiculous (my words) expectations and double standards we’re exposed to every waking moment. Now that I’m not numbing myself, I’m acutely sensitive to how many do. Wine is the drug of choice of the mommy-set and as much as we joke about it, I can’t tell you how many clients come to us discouraged because they eat right and exercise, but are drinking away their progress. And booze is doing a lot more damage than just extra pounds…check out this infographic yet we still turn to it to quell the pressure.
Well you know what? We are all works in progress. Every day I tell Grace “You’re body is the perfect container for YOU” and I am working on believing it for me too. I already believe it about YOU…so I hope you do too! Now, get on with your bad self because you ARE limitless!