You’re Perfect Just the Way You Are

Nobody’s perfect. That’s not really news, is it?

More importantly, no body is perfect. Again, this really isn’t news. We know that with the help of make-up, styling, lighting, spanx, and most importantly, Photoshop, what we see as “perfection” isn’t really real.

But I still hear women imply that they are seeking perfection. Or that there is somehow something not good enough about how they look because they aren’t “perfect.”

To which I say, forget about perfection. It’s boring. And the pursuit of perfection distracts us from appreciating the things that already make us beautiful.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t try to improve yourself. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be healthier and have more confidence.

But while you are focused on pointing out your own “imperfections” and fixating on improving your “flaws,” have you become blind to what already does make you beautiful and interesting?

I recently read this post – So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed … Replace “too fat” with whatever insecurity you have about your looks and read that now.

Stop focusing on what you think are your flaws (which probably aren’t flaws to anyone else). Focus on what does make you beautiful and interesting. Focus on the people who already think you are perfect. (That would be your family, your friends, your spouse/partner.)

And if you need a little inspiration …

My good friend Paula has always been comfortable in her own skin. There are things about her body that aren’t “perfect,” but she focuses on her assets instead of fixating on imperfections – in fact, she was once crowned Miss Naked Girl Reading [that link includes nudity, obvi]. And we can always count on her to be up for a pin-ups photo sessions – so we did that for her bachelorette party.

paula Screen shot 2013-02-07 at 10.36.34 PM

And I love what she had to say about this picture I posted on Facebook from a friend’s wedding:

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Honestly, it was kind of refreshing. How often do we criticize pictures of ourselves on Facebook? Ugh, look at my [this]! Need to hit the gym! or Oh my [that] looks so big! Need to lay off the cookies! Etc. For being so fixated on our own appearances, we sure are willing to come off as unattractive – by putting ourselves down.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve done pin-up photos. The thing I love about it is that it’s about embracing what makes you beautiful, no matter what you look like. I know I’m not perfect, and sure, I can look at these photos and point out my flaws, but that’s not what these photos are about.

Screen shot 2013-02-07 at 10.14.28 PM Screen shot 2013-02-07 at 10.17.35 PM Screen shot 2013-02-07 at 10.18.43 PM

Someday I’ll be 80 and I’ll look back and wonder why I wasted any time criticizing my appearance. So I’ll listen to that future 80-year-old (oh, and my husband), realize that I’m beautiful, end of story, and love myself as I am, no matter what my body looks like.

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36 Comments on “You’re Perfect Just the Way You Are”

  1. Right on. Just this week I was telling Bobbi about the time a bunch of us met at Native Foods for lunch and we got a group pic… then all the negative comments people were making about themselves! It made me so so so so sosososososo sad! I was telling Bobbi I was happy you and Erin were like “shut up and love yourself, guys.” Seriously.

    I have friends who refuse to be in pics. It makes me nuts. It’s hard for me to understand, because I have never been like that, even at my heaviest, when supposedly I am supposed to feel the most ashamed, I’ve always been like, whatever, I am having fun and love who I am right now.

    Sigh.

    1. Yes! I was totally thinking of that picture! Here was a group of beautiful (and fit and healthy!) women pointing out the most ridiculous flaws! That no one else sees or cares about!

      And even looking back on pictures from when I weighed a little bit more – yes, I see the extra weight, but who cares, those were moments in my life that were important enough to be documented! And I was with people who I loved and cared about (and who love me). That is way more important than silly little hang ups that matter to no one else.

  2. This is an absolutely wonderful post! I’ve definitely made strides with this over the years. I’m pretty close to not giving a f*ck about my flaws and focusing on my assets, but of course I still have my days. 😉

  3. Great post and thank you for sharing that article! I can definitely be over critical about pictures of myself but I do it a lot less than I used to. This is a great reminder to not worry about what other people think and to focus on enjoying life and pictures are a great way to share your memories. Thank you.

  4. This post is awesome! People keep linking that article about feeling too fat to be photographed, and I’m so glad that we’re all getting the idea. I have friends who insist on giving photo approval, and who constantly review them on the camera to point out their flaws and ask that they be deleted. And I even had one friend go so far as to ban pictures until she got to her goal weight. I definitely understand being uncomfortable with the way you look, because I’ve been there, but we’re often the only ones who notice our own flaws. Other people don’t care. No one thinks you look fat in a picture, or otherwise focus on your flaws – they just want to remember that time they were with you! There’s a TON of less than flattering pictures of me out there at heavier weights, and I’m glad I have them because they’re documenting something fun/significant that I was doing.

  5. Awww! Thanks Maggie! It’s a WONDERFUL blog. I’m glad I can be considered an inspiration. As you said, I do have things I need to work on, but a post like this further inspires me to just be happy til I get there and not stress.
    And the untouched pictures from the bachelorette party are some of my favorite pictures of all of us. 🙂

    1. Those pictures are awesome … even your artsy buttcrack 🙂 And the pic of your legs and the twins (the actual twins, not your boobs, haha) … you really need to frame that!

  6. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

    It’s tough to see all the ads, movie stars etc and all the glorification of being skinny and not get caught up into thinking “I need to lose weight, get plastic surgery etc”. I fall victim to that way more than I should.

    It’s only recently I feel comfortable in my own skin, and generally ok with weighing quite a bit more than my high school self because I know I’m much healthier and stronger than 12 years ago.

    It is sad seeing people so obsessed with attaining an unattainable goal and not being happy the way they are. But then again we are constantly shown that the ideal is something none of us look like.

    Btw, you an Paula look freaking fantastic! 🙂

    1. It is hard to see image after image of skinny women, but then I have the voice of reason from my husband – he points out that most men don’t find that attractive. They like curves. So who are we really being skinny for? Other women? And why? Competitiveness? It gets kind of scary when you look at it from that angle.

  7. I love this post and you and your friend LOOK AMAZING!! Go you (both!)

    I have the same issue with my body as I do with my running times. I forget to appreciate them while I have them (a certain time, weight, level of fitness) and then I think if only I could look like this time now. It is SO stupid.

    I was lamenting the choice of white shirts at my cycle event b/c they are less forgiving than black. Seriously, I am 41 years old! I fight every day to remind myself to appreciate what I have and what it can do.

    Thank you for this awesome post, Maggie!!

  8. I really love this post. As women, I definitely think we all have our own internal struggle whether it is with body image, food, etc. I know I’ve talked with you about some of my issues with food which I guess correlates to body image as well. It really helps having friends who are encouraging and a husband who loves you for who you are (cheesy, I know). But when I go through periods of self-doubt, sometimes the reassurance of others helps me realize how silly I’m being.

    Those pinup photos look like tons of fun! Something that would be nice to reflect back on when I’m 80 years old.

    1. My husband definitely provides a much needed reality check in regards to my looks. He actually thinks I’m too skinny, but he tells me I’m beautiful no matter what. As long as he thinks I’m beautiful, what does it matter what anyone else thinks?

  9. The fact that you have had pin-up photos just makes you 8 million times more awesome than you already were. And i love (seriously, LOVE) when people look at themselves, and are just like “damn, i look good” It brings me true joy. I grew up with a mom who was constantly degrading herself, and as a result, i forget that thats not normal. Either way, well said, i hope to follow in your footsteps 🙂 Perhaps when we’re 80 I’ll buy you a drink and we’ll reflect on this?

    1. Laughing at the image of us drinking at 80 and looking at pictures of me in my underwear 🙂 Also I think we should plan a photo session of Runner Pin-Up Girls …

  10. Um…great post! I am terrible at this and the thought of getting my photograph taken in a swimsuit/lingerie/skimpy outfit goes right up there with my fear of snakes. The link you posted is great and I LOVE the message.

    Secondly, holy hotness. I wish I had the balls to do this.

  11. GREAT post Maggie! And one I always seem to need to read! It’s true and I’ve been hearing a lot of that lately, what I think are my flaws are what other people might find unique, interesting and beautiful! Thanks!

    I also still want you to do a pin-up photo party! 🙂

    1. My sis-in-law is talking to someone who seemed interested in doing regular pin-up photo parties/workshops at her dance studio – they do them in the western burbs and I guess want to expand? Anyway, the next time one is scheduled, I fully expect all of you to sign up!! 😉

  12. Lovely lovely post! Everything you wrote was dead-on accurate and something we all need to read over and over again. It’s rare but so refreshing to meet someone 100% (or at least 99%) confident/comfortable in her skin. I certainly won’t deny that I can be extremely critical of my body. It’s lessened a lot over the years and I no longer have petty little “fears” like I used to in high school (like going out with no make-up…ha story of my life now) but the hardest thing to rid of is the self criticism. It’s all a work in progress and thanks to you I have a great reminder that self love is about embracing our “imperfections” (which, if you think about it, are perfect)!

    1. I wore make-up EVERY DAY from like junior high through my first couple years working post-college. I still wear mascara everyday (because I have long lashes by they are blonde) but I very rarely wear any other make-up. Usually only for very special occasions. It’s such a waste of time and probably wasn’t doing my skin any favors.

  13. To play devil’s advocate (oh you can’t be surprised!): Some of us actually *are* ugly. Not everyone is beautiful. And i think suggesting that everyone has something “beautiful” is just as unrealistic as the standards you’re speaking out against.

    1. Well, I think beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What is ugly to one person is beautiful to another. And what is beautiful/attractive to someone is ugly to someone else.

      1. Which is really my point. Nobody should have to *think* they’re beautiful to “appreciate” themselves. If you think you’re hot? AWESOME FOR YOU. It’s just also okay to find yourself ugly and be fine with it.

        It’s rare I can say this freely but you know me well enough to get what I’m saying.

        1. Well, then I think we’re halfway there on agreeing – we should all be able to appreciate ourselves as we are without becoming fixated on the idea that we somehow need to change become acceptable.

          However, I disagree that you’re ugly but we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one.

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