Gina DeRoosI took one look at this picture of myself and shrugged in disgust. Then an onslaught of self-deprecating words quickly followed, “I look so fat in this picture, oh my God my arms are huge, I definitely need to crop this picture right now.” I quickly got a hold of myself long enough to realize what I was doing. I was body shaming myself!

Have you ever done this? If so, you need to knock that shit off right now!

Let’s back up for a minute here. How did this whole body shaming thing even start? I would imagine that it started with advertising. Some brilliant advertising executive decided that a skinny model with flawless skin and hair was the best way to sell their product, and eureka, body shaming was born. Women everywhere saw images of these perfect models plastered everywhere, and immediately decided that they weren’t enough. It’s easy to start all that negative self-talk when someone else is defining what beautiful is supposed to be.

What about what I think is beautiful? That has to count for something, right!

A few weeks ago while attending the Radiance Retreat, I met a wonderful young woman from Australia, Ronii Bee. We were talking one evening about our passions and goals and she shared that she wanted to help young girls with body image. One of the things we talked about was the idea that WE define what beautiful is, and that no one has the right to define that for us. Each of us gets to define what beautiful is to us and for us. Not advertisers or celebrities or even our friends and family. Just us!

For me, beauty is quiet and strong. That is what I am, and that is how I define my beauty. How do you define your beauty? Next time you take a look in the mirror ask yourself, “What is beauty to me?” Not what you see on TV or in magazines or inspire to be like, but the beauty that resides within you. That is your beauty. It is uniquely you and no one else in this world has the beauty that you have.

I took a look at this picture of myself again and I am reminded of “my beauty.” I am also reminded of the beauty of the moment–I shared a wonderful evening with two amazing women, Chandra Erdman and Erin Brown. I had great conversations, laughed, cried and danced! This is what I choose to see when I look at this picture. Three beautiful women, enjoying life, loving their bodies and living out loud!

The next time you even start to body shame yourself, STOP! Remember that YOU define what beautiful is. Embrace it, own it and love it!

Peace, Love & Wellness


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