Be Your Own “Perfect”
At the top of the year when everyone was making their New Year’s resolutions (and I was bogged down in a rebrand), I saw a lot of talk about picking a ‘word for the year.’ Though I’m not really big on making resolutions of my own, I did like the idea of sort of picking a theme to set the tone for the upcoming year. That said, I never got around to actually doing it, because like I said… rebrand.
But now that that is done and I’ve had time to reflect on what I envision for myself in 2019, I definitely think the word or theme for me this year is “improvement.” Specifically physical improvement. Over the last few years I’ve pored so much energy into career and finances that I feel like I let myself go. Not in the way most people mean when they speak of “letting themselves go,” but I just mean I put myself—my physical self—last.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized there was a reason for that. In addition to needing to find my financial footing first, I also felt an immense amount of guilt having such a large social media platform and then using it to further push the idea of perfection that social media has become so notorious for. I didn’t want to be one more person on the internet sending the message that . And while some of the perceived “perfection”—edited photos, good lighting, curated feeds—comes with the job description, I also firmly believe that you can always pull back that curtain on those things and reveal that the o-so-powerful Wiz is really just a monthly subscription for Photoshop and a $20 ring light from Amazon.
“There’s a world of difference between unrealistic standards and self-improvement.”
But what about in real life? Could I change the (perhaps nitpicky? *shrugs*) things about myself that I wasn’t quite happy with without being guilty (or at least accused) of promoting unrealistic beauty standards? And if so, how do I pull back the curtain on that process without opening myself up to unwanted opinions about it? Because the unfortunate reality is, the internet is a weird place where people operate in absolutes. If you’re plus-sized and decide you want to lose weight, it means you’re no longer body positive. If you’re skinny and want to change that, you’re unnecessarily vain. Or worse…ungrateful. If you choose to close the gap between your teeth that everyone else thinks is unique and quirky…well, now you’re just plain ole boring. And if you really want to see how fast the sharks smell blood in the water, go under the knife!
Truth? There’s a world of difference between “unrealistic standards” and “self-improvement.” Self-improvement as determined BY YOUR OWN STANDARDS.
So, last year I finally got the Invisalign braces I’ve wanted (thanks Dentologie!), despite the fact that I’ve already had braces before and most people wouldn’t notice anything wrong with my teeth. This year, I hired a personal trainer and started working toward my own body goals, despite the fact that some people might consider my current body theirs. And last week, I started my journey toward flawless skin, despite the fact that a little foundation covers 99% of my skin issues.
“It’s 100% possible to love the you you are today and strive for a different—perhaps, better—version of yourself in the future.”
It’s not about “perfection” in the unattainable sense. It’s about giving yourself permission to find your own version of perfect. The version that makes you smile a little wider, buy those jeans you never thought you could wear, finally message your Instagram crush, or makes you feel healthier.
It’s 100% possible to love the you you are today and strive for a different—perhaps, better—version of yourself in the future. They can both come from a perfectly healthy place. Whether the changes are physical or not, so long as they’re truly for you (and you’re not hurting anyone), it’s okay to want those things for yourself.
Or you can stay just the way you are. That’s okay, too. :)