• happily whole

Being Confidently You

As women, especially in today’s society, we tend to feel an unshakable need to look “perfect”. The media’s ever evolving definition of beauty has completely shaped our thinking and adversely altered the way we look at ourselves. Through photoshopped models with slim bodies and flawlessly touched up skin they have created this unrealistic expectation of the “ideal” body.  Now when we look at ourselves in the mirror we feel the need to compare what we see reflecting back at us to an image that is not real. We begin to critique every inch of our bodies because we want to look just like her —  thin, tall, porcelain complexion, great hair, pretty and perfect. 

How can we compare to that?!? Quite honestly, we can’t. It’s edited and it’s not real life. BUT society makes us believe that’s what we should look like or be like and then we feel as though that’s what we have to be. And here's the kicker, we believe if we aren’t those things, we aren’t enough, simply because we aren’t thin enough, tall enough, our hair isn’t long enough, we don’t have clear enough skin, we aren’t pretty enough and we aren't perfect. For many, this is exactly where and why our health and fitness journey's begin: with the desire to look a certain way — toned, more thigh gap, flatter mid section, or a goal weight. At the end of the day we hope that once we achieve this look we will begin to feel good about ourselves, we will  be desirable and be enough. 

We’ll both admit that we have our insecurities too and many of those same insecurities are what drove us to start our own journeys (see Ashley's here & Sarah's here) but overtime we have learned that our transformations and journeys are so much more than wanting to look perfect or be a certain number on the scale. Living your best, healthy and most authentic life is not about how you look or how much you much you weigh but how you feel. Its about finding yourself, learning to love, accept and be yourself. 

Self-confidence/self-love is a key factor in becoming happily whole and it is one of the best traits you, as a woman, can have. Quite honestly, there is nothing sexier than a women who is confident. Am I right? But owning who you are and truly believing in yourself is not an easy task. It is a journey and something we've all struggled with at some point in our lives. It maybe something you're struggling with right now and that's okay! Being confident in yourself and who you are, when the media is telling you to be something else, is hard work. It is one of the hardest parts of this journey but it is attainable, and once you begin to believe in yourself miraculous change happens:

1.) You begin to succeed because you know you are capable and worthy. All of those goals (personal and professional) you have now feel more attainable because you already know that you have the ability to achieve them.

2.) You have less negative stress in your life because when you are confident with yourself you are more relaxed and able to handle stressful experiences effectively. Self-confident people can control their own emotions and behaviors more responsibly. Relaxation is far easier when you are at ease with yourself and you do not over complicate things or "sweat the small stuff." 

3.) You are generally happier and more satisfied with your life because you take on the world with more energy and determination, resulting in better relationships and connections with your surroundings. Confident people have a much more positive attitude from feeling good about themselves and knowing that their place in the world is important and meaningful.

So how do you get there?!? How do you get to a place where you are at peace with who and what you are? Here's an exercise we want you to do over the next week. Grab a piece of paper and pen and jot down three things you love about yourself. These attributes don't have to be limited to physical traits they can absolutely include the intangible ones, like "my sense of humor" or "great dance moves". Take the those attributes you and read them back to yourself daily. It can be first thing in the morning or right before you go to sleep, just make sure you return to them. 

When you repeat them back to yourself say "I am__" or "I have__", make note of how they make you feel and journal it. Continue to do this over the next week but make sure to add at least one new "love" trait to your list daily. Next jot down something you dislike about yourself. Now here's the challenge, find a reason to love that "imperfection". This is how you learn to love yourself. Take every imperfection and make it a positive, because guess what? Those traits are not imperfections. They are the things that make you, you. They are the things that make you unique. They are what make you perfect in your very own way. For example: I may dislike the shape of my nose. But I love my nose because it allows me to smell all the yummy treats I bake during my meal prep. Once you find a reason to love the imperfection move it over to the love list. Repeat this practice ever day. At the end of the week review your list and what you’ve journaled. Is your "love" list longer than your "dislike" list?  How do you feel about yourself now, from when you first started? Do you feel more confident?  Less stressed? Do you have more self love? Let us know how this exercise helped you and how you felt at the end of the week in the comments below. 

Babe, you already are so amazing, smart, beautiful, cool, capable and good enough. We want to remind you of that. You are not perfect and you were not meant to be but neither is the girl you envy. What ever trait you envy in her she may dislike in herself and vice versa. No two people are the same and that’s a good thing. What we all need to do is stop comparing and embrace/love our uniqueness. The things you find beautiful in someone else is the same reason why you are beautiful. We each have our own little quirks or features, have different body types, hair color, skin color, and imperfections but you are imperfectly perfect and you are YOU. So, be confident babe. Too many days in your life have already been wasted comparing yourself to others and wishing to be something you aren't. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses. It is only when we accept everything that we are and aren't that we truly succeed. Remember: Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for everything else in your life. 

Happily Yours,

Ash & Sarah

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