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Archive for the ‘Happiness and Beauty’ Category

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I encourage you to read Sarah’s Wedding Graduate post for APW, which was published on the APW website early last month.  Sarah challenges two common myths about women and love that run rampant in our culture: “If you’re not thin you will never find love” and “The only way to look and feel beautiful on your wedding day is to be thin.”  Because these messages  are so dominant, it’s easy to wind up accepting them as truth. I certainly accepted them as the truth about myself for a very long time, and could easily relate to Sarah’s story because I had similar experiences with learning to feel beautiful in the body I have as I planned my own wedding.

I encourage everyone reading today to consider the possibility that you can love yourself, be loved, and feel beautiful in the body you have right now.

Food for thought: What did you think of Sarah’s post? What other myths about women and love do you notice in our culture?

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Polar Bear Club

Polar Bear Club 2012: dashing toward the Atlantic Ocean on New Years Day with some of my favoritie people.

2012 has been off to an amazing start! At 3pm on New Years Day I gathered along the beach with some of my favorite people. We stripped down to our bathing suits, lined up arm in arm, and on the count of “three,” took off running into the ocean to join the ranks of the 2012 Polar Bear Club.  The air temperature was a warm-for-new-years-day 52 degrees with a steady wind blowing, and the ocean water temp was 47 degrees.

I’ve wanted to do a New Years Day polar bear swim for at least the last 10 years. This year, with a little encouragement from my friends, I quit just talking about it and made that dream a reality.

Before joining Polar Bear Club 2012, it had been a very long time since I had set and then achieved an outrageous goal. I am pretty good at setting goals and seeing them through to their completion, but usually they are goals I feel pretty certain I can reach. This one felt like a stretch. I was pretty sure I could do it but there was always that niggling doubt at the back of my mind.

“Will I turn around and give up as soon as my toes touch the cold water?”

“Am I too out of shape to do this?’

“What if I get really sick afterwards?”

Which is why it felt so amazing afterward and realize I was stronger than I imagined I was capable of. When push came to shove the momentum and me “want to” were greater than my fear. Which opened up the thought in my mind.

“If I could do THAT, what else is possible for me?”

My Polar Bear Club adventure came with an unexpected bonus too. My mother-in-law came to watch our new years day swim and took video of us on my phone. In the past week I have watched that video a few dozen times and every time I do I smile. I have been much thinner in my life and cringed while looking at photos and videos of me. At those times all I could see were my “flaws;” I was unable to enjoy the moment in time being captured in the photo or video. This video is different. When I see it I smile at how strong and beautiful my body is for taking me on this awesome adventure. I see my body standing next to the bodies of my friends, and I see that my body is neither better no worse than theirs. Even though we all vary greatly in height, weight and body structure, we are all able to accomplish the same goal. My body, just as it is right now, is as good as anyone else’s.

I encourage everyone reading this to set at least one outrageous goal this new year. Pick something that stretches you just beyond what you think you are physically, mentally or emotionally capable of.  And then go about the business of making it a reality!

 

 

 

 

 

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I recieved a wonderful comment the other day from a reader named Kay on my What Is the Body Image Blog? page. 

“no matter what a woman looks like, if she is happy on the inside then it will show through to the outside”

My heart shouted an excited YES! when I read that comment. Too often we are told that how we look on the outside will dictate how we feel on the inside.

 

However, in the reality of our lives, this isn’t necessarily true. Most of us know from expereince that it’s possible to look externally beautiful and still not feel happy on the inside. Also, many of us have experienced moments of being so internally happy that we seem to light up from inside. In those moments, how we feel shows through to the world more clearly than how we look. Sadness can be hidden, but genuine happiness cannot be hidden or faked.

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