Newscaster Erin Kiernan implores women to stop criticizing their bodies
How many times have you looked at an old photo of yourself and thought, “God I looked great.” Now how many times — after looking at that photo — have you remembered the first time you saw it, and that you saw a completely different image? Remembered hating it the first time around: thinking you looked fat, or tired, or short, or (enter criticism here).
We’re so hard on ourselves, most of the time we’re not even seeing what’s there. We view ourselves through a filter of self-doubt and criticism, and it actually physically changes what we see.
Erin Kiernan is a newscaster at WHOTV in Iowa. She’s also a mom, and is plagued with the same issues we all are when it comes to body image. She recently found an old photo of herself and reflected on her reaction when it was taken. You’ll probably relate.
Happy 4th of July!
During the last holiday weekend I posted a link to a wonderful essay called, “Put On Your Damn…
“When I first saw this picture I was horrified. My inner dialogue went like this … ‘Cellulite! Huge thighs! Stretch marks! Blech!’ Two years and several pounds and stretch marks later I’m wondering why I’ve felt this way about myself for so many years,” she writes. “Why do so many of us feel this way about ourselves?”
Good question. There’s a funny meme floating around the internet that says, “I wish I was as fat as the first time I thought I was fat.” Meaning, we never appreciate how we look at the time. Then we look back and wonder what the hell our problem was.
I’m 40-years-old now and heavier than I’ve ever been. I look back at photos of myself through my 20’s and 30’s and wonder why the heck I didn’t love those photos. I’m also pretty damn sure that when I’m 60-years-old, I’m going to look back at pictures of myself now and see a vibrant, young, happy woman.
Why can’t I see that now?
Kieren happened to post one Scary Mommy’s essays a few weeks ago: Put on Your Damn Swimsuit. It’s a great post about acceptance and joy — about really appreciating the body you have. “The weekend I posted the ‘Put On Your Damn Swimsuit’ essay a friend pulled me aside to thank me for it,” she writes. “She went on and on and on about how she’s struggled with negative body image for years and said she always declines invitations to the lake or the pool because of it, but this year she was going to have fun, dammit! I was looking at her thinking, “Are you kidding me?!?!?” She’s blonde and funny and thin and perfect.”
If only we saw what our friends see.
Kieren goes on to explain how she’s surrounded by these messages at work: “Every day in the dressing room at work I hear, ‘Oh my GAWD – my thighs! Ugh…my hair! Ew – look at this gut! Geesh, these wrinkles!’ These comments are coming out of the mouths of some of the smartest, strongest, most talented and beautiful women I know. Why?”
Kieren thought of a pretty brilliant plan of action. “Here’s what I’m gong to do…I’m going to try to monitor both my inner dialogue and what I say out loud in an effort to eradicate this sort of negativity,” she writes. “Not just for for myself – but for my son. I want him to be surrounded by people who value others for their hearts and minds, not their appearance. And that includes his parents and how they view and talk about themselves.”
Great idea. We should all try it.
“To steal a quote from a teacher whose yoga class I took recently, ‘It doesn’t matter how it looks, what matters it how it feels.'”
“Feel good, friends,” she ends her post. “And put on your damn swimsuit.”