“Always be a first rate version of yourself, instead of a second rate version of someone else”—Judy Garland
I have spent too many years comparing myself to others, wishing I had this friend’s hair, another’s waist, and yet another’s arms. As women, we often sit together and discuss the things we don’t like about ourselves. It’s what society has taught us to do.
Commercials bombard us with ways to fix things
we didn’t even know were wrong with us.
Our eyes have dark circles under them, our thighs can be thinner in just 20 minutes a day, and our teeth are supposed to be the color of a white piece of paper? Do you know how much coffee my children cause me to drink? Apparently I should be taking care of that with teeth whiteners. But do I really need another reason to feel badly about myself?
Why is it that we can so easily see beauty in others, but fail to see it in ourselves? I have friends whose eyelashes are so long that they brush against their sunglasses, friends who have enough gorgeous hair for three people, and friends who have sculpted arms without even trying. Yet these same friends don’t see these unique qualities they have, instead they see too many freckles, imperfect teeth, or hair that’s too curly.
I recently read about the Japanese act of Kintsugi, which is the repairing of broken or damaged pottery with a special lacquer mixed with gold, silver or platinum. Doing this highlights the imperfections as an area to celebrate and embrace, instead of trying to hide it.
What if we did that with ourselves?
I have disliked my arms ever since a boyfriend told me that I had big arms. I didn’t know that I had big arms until he told me. It’s more than twenty years later, and that comment has stuck with me.
Genetically, I will never have sculpted arms without spending an inordinate amount of time working on them. But what if I stop wasting my energy worrying about them, and appreciate them? They may flap in the wind if I wave a little too excitedly, but they have also held babies through long nights, carried my sweet children long past the age of being carried, and embraced loved ones through good times and bad times.
This summer (it’s way too cold right now!) I am going to Kintsugi (I’m probably using that word wrong) my arms and wear tank tops. My bat wings may jiggle, but they are part of who I am.
I encourage you to do the same. Ladies, let your curly hair be wild and free, smile in photos with your imperfect teeth, let your freckles show.
Let’s love who we were made to be, the way we were made to be.
About the Author: Jaime Patrick
Jaime is a published author, blogger ( More Than I'd Hoped For), loving wife and mama extraordinaire. She's an avid foodie that loves whipping up new recipes for her family and friends. Her signature chocolate cake is to die for (and sometimes causes food aggression from her husband). Jaime's snarky sense of humor and knack for story telling make her blog a comfortable place to be reminded to savor the joy in everyday life. Keep a Kleenex handy, she has a way of sneaking up on you and tugging on your heart strings with her writing.