The other day I went to a beach thats about 10 minutes from my apartment. It was 85+ outside and I’ve been trying to take an hour break in my afternoon to go soak up some vitamin D and disconnect from the world (if you’ve been feeling super stressed try disconnecting for a bit, its a game changer). I got to the beach, laid out my mat and took off my tank top and shorts so I could lay out in my bikini, there were other people doing the same. As I lay there listening to a podcast, a mom walked by with her four young children to lay claim on a spot further down the beach. The kids played for an hour or so before the mom gathered them all up to leave. As they walked by, I was laying on my stomach reading and the woman said at me in a stern condescending voice, ” I don’t want to have to look at your butt!” in which her young son( probably 5 or 6 years of age) repeated “Ya, I don’t want to have to see that either!”. They didn’t stop to talk, she just barked it at me as she marched by.
2 or 3 years ago, hearing someone say that to me would have been a massive blow that triggered negative self talk towards myself but today I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my own skin and her comment honestly just made me sad for her. I felt more disappointment than anger towards her. I won’t give you a physical description of her because I feel like that would be contradicting the entire point I’m trying to make with this post but I’ll say that her comment came from a place of her own insecurities about her physique. She looked a little uncomfortable in her own skin as she wore jeans and a baggy oversized t-shirt to the beach on this hot summer day but when I saw her first come on the beach with her 4 children tagging along behind, my first thought was NOTHING about her physique. My first thought was praise that she was braving the beach alone with four young ones and doing it in attire that had to be hot. My first thoughts were how fun of a mom she must be because her children were clearly happy to be at the beach that day.
My disappointment/sadness about her comment came from a couple of places. We’ve come so far as women…we’re making more money, we’re more successful, we speak our mind and stand up for our truth, we encourage growth and celebrate each others victories so why are we so quick to tear each other down? Why do we still feel compelled to make sharp judgments when someone is living the life that makes them happy? Why are we body shaming someone when they love themselves? I’ll admit that I’m not perfect. Sometimes my first thought when I see someone different than me isn’t the prettiest thought but as soon as I have it, I correct myself and call myself out. No one is perfect and it’s impossible to never have a negative thought but it is very much our job to call our own bullshit and replace those thoughts with some self reflection.
The other thing that really bummed me out was her young son who repeated what she said. Kids are impressionable, they think the world of their parents and they usually take on the opinion of their parents until they’re old enough to establish their own. This women had two young boys and two young girls with her and her comment to me taught her boys its okay to speak to women like that and taught her daughters that they should be ashamed of their bodies (the only thing shameful in any of this).
If we are commenting on someone else’s body, it’s coming from our own insecurity, period. It is easier to tear someone else down and put the focus on them so that the things we are feeling insecure about aren’t in the spot light. We owe it to ourselves and to our youth to speak kinder to one another. A person is going to thrive so much more when met with positive affirmation rather than negative toxicity. I may be in a place where I can let those comments roll off my back but there are a lot of people both men and women who can’t. Those comments hurt and we have no idea what anyone is going through.
As a coach, I talk to my clients a lot about self love and we work together on improving theirs. It doesn’t happen over night. It will never be something you never have issues with but it is something we can always work on improving and eventually those negative thoughts will be much fewer and far between. When we are doing the work to love ourselves, we are WAY less compelled to judge another.
The next time you are at the beach, or at the store, or wherever and you see someone who is rocking a body different than yours, instead of insulting the way they look, lets stop that negative thought in its tracks with a “hell yes, look at them loving life!” Say it to yourself and say it out loud because you know never know who’s young ears are listening.
Now go outside and rock that bod!