We wanted to share an article on positive body image for athletes written by Zensah Athlete, Megan Marshall.
The Comparison Card
We all do it, don’t we? Men and women alike. We compare. Unfortunately, I think our society and Hollywood have something to do with it, but can we help ourselves?
I would say that self-confidence is something that I learned early by playing sports and working hard. But even when I was confident on the playing field I was lacking confidence in school, especially by being tall, thin and having big feet. Boys didn’t like my build and I purposely slouched to not seem as tall. Even after positive reassurance from my family, I still couldn’t shake the bullying that I went through in middle school. Even when I was a stand-out athlete in high school, I had issues getting teased, even when hanging out with the “popular” girls. I would say that sports were my outlet to seeing myself noteworthy, but even then I would be comparing myself to other “better” runners and how much faster they were. This cycle continued on through college, which is where body image issues came out. I developed a different way of thinking that didn’t promote a positive body image. You had to be “thinner” and “toned” to be good. There is this unspoken culture in running that many of us are aware of with body image. It’s called the “thin ideal”. Elite runner & blogger, Lauren Fleshman went against the grain when writing her blog called, Keeping it Real. This blog pointed out that magazines and photos alike are unrealistic. Her confidence and character show how real, even elite athletes can be, and that self-confidence is important.
On another angle, I’d like to think that a confident heart is the core of self-confidence & positive body image. For me, a confident heart means a strong faith and building upon my strengths. I think that is why I tattooed Serenity on my shoulder. It is important for me to be able to accept the things I cannot change, and have the right perspective in a world that tends to focus on outward appearance.
It is easy to get sucked into the comparison card, and to pick out what others have and what you don’t. I think about how boring the world would be if everyone looked the same and had all the same gifts. Embrace your differences, even through adversity that you may face. Instead of, “I want to be her, I want to have what she has,” why not be the best YOU possible?
Being confident and intelligent is way more “sexy” than anything you can find on the outward appearance. Ashton Kutcher, during his Teen Choice Awards acceptance speech, reinforces this idea and reminds us that outward appearance is not what gets you places in life.