Stop Apologizing for Your Appearance

It was one of those days. Full of plans. Many didn’t get done. Some did.

I dressed in track shorts and a t-shirt, planning to change before my evening meet-up.

After waiting 45 minutes for my son to emerge from his after-school meeting, I shot home. In less than 40 minutes, I had whipped up dinner and threw it in the oven to bake. I wiped the sweet from my forehead and headed to an hour-long appointment just a few minutes away.

I was still wearing my track shorts and t-shirt. While I had debated changing into some cute clothes for the appointment, making dinner had won the coin toss.

In my mind all my plans worked out. I expected to return home, freshen up, change into a cute outfit, and meet my friend at Panera looking calm, cool, and much better than I had all day.

Well those were my plans. And if I had been listening, I might have heard life laughing at me.

I came out of my appointment, looked at my watch, and realized I was meeting my friend in 15 minutes. The hour I thought I had to primp and change, well I had forgotten to add an hour for the hour meeting. Oppps!

I had a choice. Meet my friend wearing my track shorts or go home, change, and be late. I choose the first, but I was disappointed.

I knew she would look cute and I would look . . . like I had been running all day.

I also had another choice to make. I could worry and fret and maybe beat myself up for my lack of time awareness and planning of my day, or I could go and enjoy the time together with my friend.

I choose the later.

And while I knew I shouldn’t make a big deal about it, or draw attention to my lack of outfit planning, still, before I could slap my hand over my mouth, I was telling her hi and apologizing for my outfit and saying I had planned to wear something cute. (Probably because she was looking so cute and I didn’t want her to think I wore this 24/7).

Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.Ladies. Do you see what I was doing?

I was apologizing for my appearance.

And it wasn’t like I was standing there in my birthday suit. Or even needed to apologize. I hadn’t shown up at Panera Bread wearing something inappropriate.

But there I was apologizing for my appearance because I had planned to wear something different. My expectations were cute outfit. Reality was gym clothes.

Quite frankly, I was embarrassed and a little upset that my expectations hadn’t turned into reality.

Did I need to apologize for my appearance?

No.

And what did apologizing for my appearance do?

Well, it put all the attention on me, and my perceived deficit.

Instead of greeting her and making her feel cute, I was asking her to make me feel better about my perceived un-cuteness.

Of course, my friend did what any friend would do, she contradicted me and said I looked fine.

Ladies. Why do we do this?

Why do we apologize for our appearance?

Why do we pull the focus on us and then wait until our friends disagree with our concerns?

Why do we feel so insecure that when we don’t meet our expectations concerning our looks, we start apologizing?

Apologizing for something that doesn’t need to be apologized for.

Because the truth is, when we apologize for our looks, rarely is it necessary or called for.

Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.

Quick Question?

 

Have you ever heard a guy apologize for his appearance?

“You’ll have to excuse the stubble on my face. I didn’t shave this morning.”

“These nails? I am embarrassed to leave home with them looking like this.”

“Can you believe my hair? It just won’t behave today.”

“This shirt? Well thanks, but I should have gotten rid of it years ago.”

“Sorry my muscles are so small, I quit working out last year.”

“Can you believe my thighs in that picture? I need to quit wearing shorts.”

No. Guys don’t apologize for their appearance, pick themselves apart, and put themselves down.

 

Why do women apologize for their appearance?

 

We were created to be beautiful. And we want to be beautiful.

We like it when people notice us.

Nothing wrong with that.

Maybe part of our problem is that we have these voices in our head.

The voice that tells us we are not enough. Beautiful enough. Skinny enough. Young enough.

The voice that keeps us from jumping into the family photos because we don’t look the way we want to.

The voice that tells us what society expects us to look like and how we are failing to conform to the airbrushed women in print form.

The voice that picks apart our body, as if it is made up of pieces.

The voice that compares us to other beautiful women in real life and on social media.

The voice that wants to be accepted and part of the in-crowd.

The voice that sounds like our mean step mother who is granting no good wishes on our behalf.

The voice that focuses more on our appearance than our personality or any other aspect of us.

On and on it goes.

These voices cause us shame. To not appreciate our body. To doubt our appearance.

They cause us to apologize for our appearance:

When we run to the grocery store and bump into our boss wearing our pajama bottoms and our husband’s tee-shirt.

When people try and herd us into photos.

When we don’t look as good as we think we should.

When we are disappointed with our looks.

We apologize quickly and often for our appearance.

Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.

Picking apart our looks starts early.

 

I remember entering my teens and hanging out with the other girls my age in the dressing area of the lady’s room at church. One day some girl complained about her tummy. That she needed to lose some weight. We sympathized. Told her she looked good.

But it started something.

There became this unspoken rule that we were not supposed to come in and admire ourselves in the mirror and think of ourselves as pretty. No noticing our good points aloud. Instead, we were supposed to come in and notice what was wrong with us and our clothes.

Our crocked teeth. Our short eyelashes. Our dull hair. Our freckles. Our old skirt. Our too fuzzy sweater. Our unperfect toes. Our too thick thighs.

And the sad thing was that we were all skinny. All of us beautiful teens. But we wanted to fit in, so we bemoaned our waists and talked about diets when not a one of us needed one.

We will find what we look for.

 

If our definition of appearance is perfection, we will be disappointed all our life with our looks.

If our expectation for how we should look and the reality of our appearance don’t match, then we will be unhappy with our appearance.

If we are out to find the many faults with our bodies, then that is all we will notice.

But the opposite is also true.

If we don’t base our worth on our appearance or looks, or weight, or how many times we have exercised this week, then we will be more comfortable and satisfied with our self.

If we are flexible with our expectations concerning our appearance, we will be happier and more comfortable in our skin.

If we quit comparing our self with others, we can more appreciate our good points.

If we make a point to appreciate our bodies, we will be grateful for them and notice good than bad.

If we realize our specific deficits are considered desirable by others, or know that there are others who would love to have our body, then we can be kinder to our body.

If we look at our self more as a whole, instead of body parts that need fixing and sent to the shop for a tune-up, than we will be more positive with our appearance.

If we see our self through God’s eyes we will see we are good enough, and that his love is not based on our looks.

If we stop to see our self through the eyes of our family and friends, we will see our self in a new light.  Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.

Seeing our self as others see us can change our need to apologize about our looks.

 

Do you know that others see you differently than you see yourself?

When you see a picture of your family or friends, do you automatically start picking it apart? “Oh look! Her eyes are closed and her smile it to big. Don’t even get me started on how her jeans are a season old. And if she would have turned sideways a little and pulled her tummy in and her shoulder back, well then she would have looked better.”

Of course, you don’t.

And when my friend saw me in Panera Bread, she didn’t think, “Oh look, Theresa came as slob of the week in her exercise clothes. What a fraud. I bet she didn’t even exercise today. Well I know what she thinks of me. Why she didn’t even have the courtesy to dress properly and show me some respect.”

Of course, she didn’t.

Even if I think or felt like she could have been thinking this, I know she didn’t.

See that voice that I may be attributing to her, is really my voice. Not hers.

She was just happy to see me and spend some time together.

Just like I would have been happy to see her and spend time together. No matter what she was wearing. Gym clothes or dress clothes.

And that is because we have a relationship. And that relationship is more important than what we wear or look like.

So, quit hearing your voice and overlaying it on your friend or family, and thinking it is their voice. Their perceptions.

Your kids don’t look at you and see your cocked nose and to big feet. No, they see their loving mother who hugs them and feeds them and takes care of them.

Your friends don’t notice your thighs and wrinkles, they see your good qualities and how you reach out to them, bring them a dinner in hard times, and how you make them laugh.

Your husband doesn’t see your graying hair and stretch marks, he sees you as his companion. He sees your kindness and hard work radiating from your strong hands and gentle heart. He sees you as the person he couldn’t live without and who completed him.

So, do yourself a favor.

Quit badmouthing the picture others have of you in their mind.

Quit making them uncomfortable by listing what is wrong with you today in the department of your looks.

Quit apologizing for things they don’t see in you.

Instead, start seeing yourself through the eyes of those who love you. Because this is a more realistic picture of yourself. Not the one in your mind.

And while you are at it. Stop apologizing for your appearance.

I’m going to.

Let’s join together and save those apologies for necessary things.

Apologizing for our appearance is simply is not allowed anymore. We need to quit being so hard on our self (and thinking others are being hard on us too).

And when we feel the need to apologize for our appearance (which is focusing on us and what’s wrong with us), we can instead focus on the other person and compliment them or ask them a question.

And when we get a compliment, don’t apologize it away. Instead, take it and hold it, and enjoy it.

And best of all, believe it.

Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.

 

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 

P.S. Want to read more on this topic? What if Your Body is As Good as it Gets?  by me. Dear Moms, Stop Hiding Behind the Camera, by Candace Playforth. And Are You Tired of Not Feeling Good Enough? by Laura Hicks.

 


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: Do you find yourself apologizing for your appearance?

Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.

May link up at Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.

Why do women apologize so much about their appearance? We need to love and appreciate our bodies, not apologize about them and pick them apart.

How Pride Impacts Our Relationships

 

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.“I think you are angry.”

“Nope.”  I spat out.

We were in our first year of marriage and driving north to visit friends.

“Well you sure seem angry.”

“I’m not,” I said staring at the red light we were waiting on.

Just breathe, I reminded myself. Stay calm.

“There is nothing wrong with admitting you are angry,” he said, a few minutes of silence later. “Anger is just an emotion. It doesn’t make you a bad person.”

I listened a little more intently. I had never heard that before.

“So, what if you are angry. Big deal. It would be better to admit you are angry and discuss it, than try and stuff it down and pretend you are not angry.”

“Maybe.”

He sighed. “Why is it so had for you to admit anything? To admit you are not perfect? To admit you are wrong?”

Ouch. I didn’t want to answer that question out loud.

We stopped for another light. He looked at me. I looked at him, trying to smile, but it felt so fake.

“Okay,” I spit out. “I am angry. I am angry at you. I am angry about this morning. I am angry.”

“Well,” he laughed. “Now don’t you feel better?”

Tears sprang to my eyes. Not with him laughing at me. No, I now felt like a failure.

He took my hand. “Do you know what? I love you when you are stubborn and don’t apologize, and I love you when you do. But it is so much easier to love you when you admit you are human and admit your faults. When you admit you are angry, when you really are angry. Just be honest. With yourself and me.”

 

How pride in a relationship affects  the relationships negatively, and why. 

 

Some conversations are tuning points.

Some conversations make us think and then come to new truth.

Some conversations we will remember in the future at just the right time.

This was one of those conversations.

I had always thought of myself as an apologizer. I don’t know how many times I had been told by my mother growing up, “Tell your sister you are sorry. Apologize to your brother.” And I had. I had always said the words, even if I had not always meant them.

But I had also been the perfect child in our family of six kids. The one where mom would say, “Why can’t you be like your sister?” and point to me.  Because I worked so had to do the right thing, I ended up apologizing a lot less than my always-in-trouble older brother and independent-and who-cares younger sister.

Yes, I grew up thinking I was related to Mary Poppins. “Practically perfect in every way.”

And when I grew older and time had passed, I realized that my mom was very prideful. I don’t ever remember her apologizing. And I had adopted more of her attitude than was good for me.

As I thought over the next months, and even years, about why it was so hard for me to apologize, to admit I was wrong, I came back to the same thing. My pride was tripping me up. Causing me to stumble and keeping me from confessing.

Pride of wanting to be right.

Pride of wanting to defend my actions. (After all, my reasons were so good.)

Pride of wanting to appear almost perfect.

Pride of what others would think.

Pride of exposing the truth to myself and others.

Pride of appearing weak.

Pride of admitting fault.

My pride was a stumbling block and affected my relationships. Because one thing pride likes to do, is lie. Pride lies all sorts of convincing lies. Lies that keep us from the truth. From perusing love. From abundant grace.  From growth and change. From deeper relationships. Pride is supposed to keep us from pain, but it doesn’t. Pride weaves elaborate lies that we tend to believe. Lies that in the end extract harsher consequences because of the tangle of deceit we create.

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.Some lies of pride we believe that hinder our relationships:

 

Others wont’s like/love us if they knew the truth.

Hide. Never tell. It is safer.

Forgiveness is never free. We must work to earn our forgiveness.

Confessing makes us indebted to the person.

Asking forgiveness is admitting guilt and a sign of weakness.

Come on. Technically we are not guilty. Look for a loophole.

Don’t admit guilt unless we are 100% wrong. 96% or even 5% does not count.

We may not be forgiven, so why bother.

The other person screwed up too. Let them confess first.

Forgiveness is over rated.

Confessing may ruin us.

These lies have no truth in them. Satan wants us to believe these lies because then we will walk in fear, and not in the light of forgiveness. Because then we will walk in the same old rut, and not newness and change. Because it will cut us off from community and help. Because when we are consumed with guilt and shame our eyes remain focused on our self, not on a God who redeems us, loves us, and pours abundant grace on our souls.

Pride is one of the main culprits that hinders our relationships with others. It is our pride that causes us to defend our actions. Justify and explain why we are in the right and turn and blame them for their wrong doing. Pride separates us from others. It causes us to lie to them and our self. It keeps us from doing the right thing in the relationship. It stops us from pursuing reconciliation, compromise, and forgiveness. Pride holds onto our pain and then we in turn lash out in pain.

Often, we know we are wrong, but it is our pride that keeps us from doing the right thing.

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.How to deal with pride in a relationship; tips for chipping away the stumbling block of pride:

 

1. Strive for humility. Humility is seeing our self and God as we both really are. He is the only perfect one. We are the sinful one. And yet God want to have a relationship with us. He wants to parent us. Love us. Give us all sorts of good gifts. Call us beloved. When we realize that we are dependent on God and his forgiveness and grace (which he freely gives), that creates in us a desire to change and grow.

2. Take responsibility. It is so much easier than explaining why we didn’t really do something everyone knows we really did. Making excuses that make no sense, or trying to argue that it was really was someone else’s fault is just plain nonsense. Stop stepping away and instead take responsibility. People will be relieved, and our trust ratings will soar.

3. Just do it. Practice apologizing; it will become easier. Start with little things. Move to bigger things. Or do it the other way. Once you have confessed a big thing, other confessions may seem easier.

I remember the day I confessed to a big thing (Yes, I said the words out loud that I was not perfect!) My heart was racing, my palms sweaty. All the spit in my mouth had turned to dust bunnies. I knew my voice would crack. I knew my world would fall apart. But I did it. I squeaked out the words. And guess what? I survived. The world did not collapse. My heart kept beating. And of course, no one died of surprise. They already knew it. And still loved me.

I kept confessing. And it got easier.

The same will happen for us if we keep apologizing when we need to. The silly thing is, when we confess our wrong doing, we are usually not surprising anyone. Often everyone sees we need to confess before we realize it. If we have yelled at the family, they all know we yelled at them. There is no surprise when we say we should not have yelled at them and ask their forgiveness. Often there is just gratitude from them that we took responsibility for our actions, and now they can stop telling us we were wrong.

4. Keep it Simple. Forget the perfect words. Just say: “I am sorry for  – – – -, please forgive me.”

Remember, if we justify or make excuses, then we are no longer apologizing. “I am sorry I hurt your feelings, but you need to be nicer to me,” does not qualify. When we add a “but,” we are often justifying and blaming them. Saying, “I am sorry you feel that way,” is also not an apology. It is really telling them that their feelings are wrong.

After we say we are sorry, we can also offer some sort of restitution or help, if appropriate. “I know I didn’t mow the lawn like I said I would. Can I now clean the bathroom for you?”

 

Remembering what’s important.

 

I can’t say that I don’t still let my pride get the best of me. I do. But my husband was right. We are easier to love when we acknowledge we are human. When we admit our mistakes. 

It has taken me a long time, but I have learned that despite my aversions to it, confession is good for my soul. It helps restore relationships, keeps pride in check, stop the blaming and justifying of my actions, and passes grace and forgiveness out to others and myself.

So, go ahead.

Confess when necessary.

Apologize quickly.

Abundant grace awaits.

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the discussion: What lies of pride do you believe?

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.May link up at Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.

 

When We Are Misunderstood

Being misunderstood is hard. We have this deep need to be understood. So what do we do when we feel misunderstood?Being misunderstood is hard. We have this deep need to be understood. So what do we do when we feel misunderstood?Being misunderstood is hard. We have this deep need to be understood. So what do we do when we feel misunderstood?We have this deep need to be understood. To be approved of. To have others relate and agree with us.  

We desire others to understand what we say. What we do. And why we do what we do.

Being misunderstood is hard.

It is not fun to be questioned. To be misunderstood. To have wrong motives aligned to us.

Yet there was one who was misunderstood. Who was questioned. Who had wrong motives assigned to him.

 

Feeling misunderstood? We have company.

 

It was Jesus.

His disciples questioned him. And even wondered who he really was.

The crowds wanted him to perform and heal. They wanted him to be their leader and free them from the Romans.

The religious leaders accused him of blasphemy, being a sinner, and leading others astray. They questioned him to trap him. They took no delight in his healings of others. They eventually get so jealous and angry they plotted to kill him.    

No one understood his true purpose. His real motive for coming into the world as a small baby and then dying as a man.

No one understood his teachings and the impact they would have centuries later.

No one understood his upside-down parables about the last being first and the first being last. The beatitudes about the blessed. The stories of the kingdom of heaven.

No one understood why he hung out with fishermen, talked to prostitutes, ate with tax payers, cried over sinners, or noticed the demon possessed.

No one understood why he stood in front of Pilate and didn’t defend himself.

No one understood why he was washing his disciple’s feet and handing out bread and wine.

Being misunderstood is hard. We have this deep need to be understood. So what do we do when we feel misunderstood?No one understood why he would even talk to a Samaritan woman at the well. And then spend a few days in her town.

No one understood the comforter he promised to send. Or the mansion he promised to ready for them.

No one understood why he would invite his betrayer to eat his last supper with him.

No one understood how he came to do the father’s will and not his own. Came to serve others, and not himself. Came to do the father’s will, not his own.

No one understood why he delayed in visiting Lazarus.

No one understood why he died on the cross.

No one understood he would be resurrected.

No one understood Jesus when he was walking, breathing, healing, and praying on earth.

Only later, after his resurrection and the giving of the spirit, would the disciples begin to understand and unravel the mysteries that surrounded Jesus.

During his life, Jesus was misunderstood.

Even today, he is often misunderstood.

When you are feeling misunderstood. 

 

We want to be understood. Accepted. Have the approval of others.

But we won’t always. There will be times we are misunderstood. Times we are questioned, and our motives seen as wrong.

This is all a part of life.

May we at these times remember Jesus and how he was misunderstood. And then remember how because he came to earth as a human, he fully understands us. Everything about you, from your hairs on your head to your faults. And he loves you. Loves you more than you can imagine.  

Jesus understands you. Gets you. Approves of you.

He did not come to earth to be understood, but to help us. Save and redeem us. And because he lived as a human, because he created us, because he so tenderly and exquisitely cares for us, he understands us better than we understand ourselves.  

With him, we are always understood.

Let us in thankfulness, turn around and seek to understand him.

Being misunderstood is hard. We have this deep need to be understood. So what do we do when we feel misunderstood?

Happy Easter. He is Risen!

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the discussion: When do you feel misunderstood?

Being misunderstood is hard. We have this deep need to be understood. So what do we do when we feel misunderstood?May link up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory);  Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

 Being misunderstood is hard. We have this deep need to be understood. So what do we do when we feel misunderstood?