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.

What is Helping You Survive These Winter Months?

 

My grandparents headed to Arizona during the winter months, leaving me wondering why they left every year and why on Sunday nights we couldn’t visit them. Now with each passing winter, I understand more and more why they headed south. South towards the sun and warm balmy days.

Heading south is not an option, though. Even if I live where it is cold outside. So, what are we to do?

Winter blows in with cold temperatures. At first it is fun to wear those winter coats, sweaters, and long sleeve shirts that have been lying unused. Christmas arrives, amid parties and a flurry of activities that take minds off the cold. January arrives, and there is a new meaning to cold. To darkness. To dreary, now that all the Christmas decorations and lights are packed away.

It feels like there is nothing to do but hunker down and wait.

Then February sneaks in, and while the days are getting a little longer, it feels like winter will never end. The weather is unpredictable and cancels calendar plans. Sickness stalks the aisles.  The house feels like it will never be warm again.

By February, I tend to wear the few same things over and over. What does it matter what cute shirt I wear as a hoodie or thick sweater tops everything? And when I venture out, a coat tends to stay on more often then not. I feel like I will never be toasty warm again.

As February unfolds, I need to force myself outside for walks. To leave the house more often. To remind myself that winter has never lasted forever. To feed our souls. 

 

Find things that nourish your soul.

 

It seems that during this time period, this waiting for winter to end, it is little things that tend to bring me happiness. Little things that make me smile. Little things that brighten my day. Little things that sustain me.

Hot tea with honey and milk.

Fingerless gloves.

Good books.

Blankets to snuggle under.

Conversations with family and friends.

Windows that spill in light and sunshine.

Planning summer trips and activities.

A happy (bright colored) winter coat.

Flannel sheets, topped with a down comforter.

Pie of any kind.

Hugs

Words of hope and truth.

Memories of warmer times and places.

A good belly laugh.

Thoughts of spring and knowing it will return.

Knowing that I am not the only one waiting. Hoping. Dreaming of spring.

So, what bringing you happiness during winter?

What is sustaining you in these cold winter months?

 

How to nurture yourself.

 

Don’t wait until spring to be happy and satisfied. Find something that can sustain you now.

Winter is a time of rest, regrouping, and refreshing so growth emerges forth come spring.

Winter is a time of counting different blessings and finding joy in the starkness that surrounds us.

We may have to look harder to find the positive, to notice our blessings, to find the joy, but it is there.

Find it. Count it. Do it. Be happy. And then share that happiness with others.   

All that sharing will create community that lasts long past the seasons.

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 is bringing you happiness and helping you get through these winter months?

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

Why Getting to Know All About You is a Good Idea: 5 Benefits

 

I had been married for a little over ten years when an engaged friend asked for one important piece of marriage advice.

Well this tested my grey matter. Not because I truly know nothing about marriage, although it seems I know less the longer I have been married, but because I guess no one had ever asked me this before.

One piece of marriage advice? I pondered this challenge.

Smoke must have been beginning to seep from my ears as I tried to calculate an answer. Something worthy of great wisdom. Something she had not heard before. Something she could really use. I felt like Houdini bound in chains and a straitjacket trying to wiggle free in front of an audience.

She finally piped up and said that she didn’t need the advice right now. I could tell her later, when I eventually thought of something.

I heaved a sigh of reprieve and told her I would put my little brain to work and have an answer for her soon.

You may realize by this point in the story, I don’t like being asked tough questions I don’t know the answer to. I also don’t like being put on the spot. I feel like a possum in headlights, about to be run over and squished into road kill. My mind literally goes blank sometimes. Blank. All systems of computing and thinking seem to shut down, requiring a reboot.

Now luckily this doesn’t happen too often, but it is something I have come to learn about myself.

If this happens to you, please let me know. I thought it happened occasionally to everyone. But when I mentioned it to a friend, she had no concept of what I was talking about.

So much for thinking we are all alike. Because we are not. And sometimes this surprises me.

What advice finally came to me? I told my young friend to, “know thyself.” To take time to figure out what she liked and disliked. To know her personality and love language. But most importantly, to know what irritated her and frustrated her. It would be easier to meld two lives together if she knew herself and could communicate her needs. It would point out what she needed to work on and help her better understand her mate.

 

How knowing yourself puts you in the driver’s seat. 

 

I knew she was a social butterfly, but did she? And what happened if she married a stay-at-home- every-night-of-the-week guy? Frustration and resentment would build unless she understood this about herself and then took steps to get out more than he did.

She was ultimately in charge of her happiness and wellbeing, not him. It was her responsibility to communicate her needs or preferences, because others can rarely guess them, nor should they have to.

If she needed a time out during an argument to collect her thoughts and calm down, she would need to know this about herself and then take steps to ensure it happened.

If she worked better in the morning, then it would be best to schedule the most demanding chores early in the day. If in the morning it took her ten grumpy minutes to wake, then it was best to try not to engage with others for ten minutes.

If she hates surprises and her mate is one who likes to spring last minute surprises on people, then it is best to communicate this to him and also realize that when there is a surprise, her first response will not be the best response, or the one she wants to blurt out of her mouth.

Getting to know yourself is a process.

 

I know I have had many epiphany moments during my marriage when I realized my hubby and I are not alike. Not even similarly alike sometimes. Okay, complete opposites in many ways. And in ways that are neither good or bad, but just are.

Our upbringings were different. Our personalities are different. Our preferences are different. Our love languages are different. Our way of approaching life and challenges and people is different. And yet, the funny thing is, we agree on so many things.

I was raised in a house with 5 other siblings and was expected to blend in, not complain, and say thank you and smile no matter what happened. We were not asked what we wanted, nor taught that we had needs or that it was alright to state our needs. I don’t fault my parents, they were not raised that way either.

The result was that I was taught to please people. I went to the restaurant everyone else wanted to and never thought about where I really wanted to go. It took years to realize that I could have opinions. To state them. To ask for things. To get to know myself and what I would want. To evaluate my motives or the perceived truths I believed.

I learned I was a night owl. An introvert who likes to socialize with others but needs alone time. That I hate being interrupted during a task. That I thought I needed to be a perfectionist. That I like to talk about something to help come to a decision or to cement information in my brain. That my mind goes blank under stress. That it is hard to laugh at myself and admit I am wrong. That I need a clean kitchen before I can start cooking. That I thought if someone loved me they could read my mind. And more.

Learning these things about myself helped me understand myself better. It showed me what I needed to work on. It helped me communicate what I wanted or needed. It helped me better understand those around me. I began to understand what frustrated me and caused me to be crabby and critical. It helped me love myself and better love those around me.

Here I am talking in the past tense, but the truth is I am still getting to know myself. Still learning things I didn’t know. We can live with someone for decades and think we know everything about them and then they tell a story and we discover something new. That someone can be our self or someone else. Because there is one thing for sure, as humans we never stay the same and we will never totally know someone. Even our self.

So why should we get to know our self? Here are a few reasons.

5 Benefits of knowing yourself:

 

1. We can be our true self, and quit trying to be something we are not. Or saying yes to things we should say no to. Or apologizing for how we were made or the way we function. It is easier to set boundaries with others and our self when we know our quirks, motivations, frustrations, and our limitations. If we are not a kiddy person, our talents would be better used by not volunteering for nursery duty. If we know we have a hard time working with background distraction, we can relocate to a quiet space.

2. We are better able to serve, help, and understand others. Knowing our self helps us develop awareness for others and see how they are similar and different from us. In the process of learning about our self, we can better understand others, relate to them, and live with them. When we see the variety within people, it is easier to accept them and realize they are not trying to purposely irritate us. The morning person is not trying to annoy the night owl when they jump out of bed singing at 4 in the morning.

3. It is loving to our self and others. Knowing our self helps us relate better to others and communicate our needs, wants, and frustrations. We are not placing the whole burden on others of reading our mind or trying to figure us out. It helps when a social butterfly understands their mate is a stay-at-home. Or that too many decisions is not a good thing for some.

Knowing our self, good points, weaknesses, just because points, and sins, helps us better accept our self, and in the process, accept and love others, flaws and all. When we begin to see our self more realistically, we have an easier time offering compassion, kindness, grace, and forgiveness to others. Acknowledging that we are far from perfect, allows others to be flawed.

4. We can make the best choices. Knowing our likes and dislikes helps us identify our dreams and passions. It helps us navigate life and people. Understanding our thoughts and behaviors, allows us to change unhealthy ones to more healthy ones. Perceiving the lies we believe, helps us replace them with truth.

When we understand our self, our personality, what makes us tick, how we relate to the world and others, our strengths and weaknesses, our pet-peeves and trigger points, we are better able to change, adapt, and improve. If interruptions during deep thought irritate us, starting a big project when the house is full of people is probably setting us up for disaster.

5. It is easier to be vulnerable with others and God. When we are honest with our self, it is easier to be honest with others. Honest with God. Because when we honestly know our self, we realize we are far from perfect; really, more human than not. We come to realize that others see our flaws, and yet we are still loved by them and God, even though we are not perfect. And that frees us. Allows us to be more honest and vulnerable with others and quit trying to be something or someone we are not.

So, do you see the benefits of knowing thyself?

Give yourself permission to know yourself. Start on the journey and prepare for discovery.   

Learn how you are uniquely and wonderfully made. What makes your tick and brings you joy, what disappoints and frustrates your soul.

God already knows all about you and loves you just as you are. He wants you to get to know yourself, because in the process you are getting to know more about his creation, about him, and his plans for you.

Don’t you want to learn about what makes you so special?

He wants you to know yourself and love yourself, just like he already does.

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

Theresa

 

P.S. As you embark on this quest to know yourself, you may also enjoy Will the Real You Please Stand? 


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 have you learned about yourself? What benefits have you discovered from learning more about yourself? 

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