No, You Don't Need to Lose Ten Pounds
I've said it. I've heard it. And I'm tired of it.
A ridiculous proportion of our lives is spent trying to either be a genius about our bodies or shaming ourselves because we're not. And why all the effort? Primarily because we want people to think we're attractive. Yes, you can say (and maybe even kind of mean) that you want to be healthy and run around with your kids; I've said that, too. But the truth? We want people to think we're pretty. And ohmyword WHY?!?! It's time to stop the madness.
1. How you look doesn't determine who you are.
Whether you believe it or not doesn't change the fact that it's true. Your shape, your size, your clothes, your haircut, your skin... none of it has any bearing on who you are. If you were in a relationship with a blind person, they would fully understand your essence and personality without ever laying eyes on you.
2. How others see you reflects on them, not you.
Have you ever seen someone surprised when an African-American is articulate? That's a racist behavior, i.e. if you assume a generalization about someone purely based on the color of their skin, it's racist. With the same reasoning, if you ever see someone who's surprised when they find a larger woman attractive (ahem, the E! network, anyone?), it's prejudice. Plain and simple. If someone makes a snap judgment about you based on how you look, they're the problem, not you.
3. Live TODAY the way you think you would live if you were skinnier. What are you waiting for?
I'd be more confident. I'd be more willing to try new things. I'd be content in my own body. You can do all of those things now. Like, right now. It's a choice. Your weight has nothing to do with it.
4. There are people who don't think Beyonce is pretty, so there's no way everyone will think you are, too.
And if you'll always disappoint someone with how you look, why hold yourself hostage to the opinions of people who don't matter? You'll never be pretty to everyone.
5. You don't owe the world your prettiness.
You don't have to be pretty.
You don't owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your coworkers, especially not to random men on the street. You don't owe it to your mother, you don't owe it to your children, you don't owe it to civilization in general.
Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked "female."
- Erin McKean in this great blog post
We all have our reasons and levels of obsession, but we're all afflicted with Do You Think I'm Pretty Syndrome. And I think we should put an end to it.
Maybe you do have health struggles that would change if you lost weight, but if your deepest motivation rests in how others see you, your journey will be short-lived.
The truth? You're beautiful. As you are. Right now. Even if you don't feel that way, there are people in this world who see you and think you're beautiful, and they might even be sitting next to you on the couch.
It's time to be lazy about being pretty and a genius about being you.