I teach group fitness classes for women only. We all have quite a bit in common and some interesting conversations happen following some of my classes, specifically my morning classes. This past Tuesday and interesting discussion happened that got me thinking. If we look to images on Facebook and Instagram for validation we are fucked.
A frequent problem we face as women is that we are UNMERCIFULLY hard on ourselves. For me the learning process of embracing my flaws (not to sound cheesy) has been and still is, a lifetime battle. Lately I feel like we are fighting an uphill battle. When I was younger (a long, long time ago) the only media that impacted my self-image were the pop stars, supermodels and the girls on Saved By The Bell (didn’t everyone want to be Kelly?). That is NOTHING compared to the media images of today. Now we have social media and these images of feigned perfection are relentless.
Social media allows us to only present our best selves and essentially tell lies of omission. That led me to an uncomfortable realization, I DO EXACTLY THAT. It seems unfair. It didn’t occur to me until after the conversation we had following class the other day. My own lies of omission could be causing other women, my friends and my clients to feel bad about themselves. THAT IS NOT OKAY!
Here’s the truth…
I am a competitive bodybuilder and I can tell you that the ABSOLUTE LAST thing I want to do in my offseason, when my body is far from perfect, is to post any pics of myself on social media. But, when I hit the stage I plaster that shit everywhere, all competitors do. We set up photo shoots for the day before or after the show, in our most perfect state and then we trickle those pics out all year. WE DON’T LOOK LIKE THAT ALL YEAR. This applies to all the images of perfection we see, all fitness models, fitness personalities and celebrities. Everyone is selling an image but, people don’t stop to think how the image they are presenting could be destroying other people, I know I didn’t until this week.
I am proud of the work I put in so when I showcase pictures I am showcasing hard work, dedication and sacrifice. It takes years and years of work. Its not quick or easy by any means. However, I am starting to wonder if the message that people are taking away is that this is easy or that they should be able to look perfect and if they can’t then they suck.
So we compare our insides to someone else’s outsides and we come up short. But, we don’t know the truth. We don’t know their struggles. We only know what they present to the world. They can very well be as uncomfortable in their skin as we are. Our path is our own and we are more than just our bodies. Social media only shows pictures it does not tell stories. Each of us has our own story that makes us unique. Our stories are not wrong or broken, they are ours.