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{Transparent Tuesday} Your flaws are not a threat

Editor’s note: These posts were written back when my brand name was Remodel Fitness. I’ve decided to include them here without editing them, in the interest of…well… transparency. 😉

Recently I was sitting at the Grand Canyon in Chiang Mai with the man I’m currently spending time with, when his eyes were obviously drawn to something or someone hot behind me.

I turned around to see what had caught his attention, but my eyes didn’t immediately land on anything obvious. There was a group of older Chinese people in hats, and a whole bunch of daring Thai kids jumping off cliffs in the distance.

Hmmm.I looked at him questioningly. He grinned, and made a curve gesture with his hand with a mischievous look on his face.

I look back again, and this time I notice a woman who is slightly bent over toweling off. Why hadn’t I noticed her before? I suppose because she was in her late 40s, she was a bit overweight, and she was wearing a plain black conservative one piece bathing suit. In searching for the subject of my man-friend’s attention, my eyes had simply skimmed past her.

I paused for a moment to observe this woman. She had a great smile, some cool tattoos, white-blond hair and an air of being completely comfortable in her jiggly curves. She looked like a woman who has spent her life collecting adventures, and she seemed very cool.

Then I noticed her butt. OMG her butt!

I don’t know how to describe it, but it was just beautiful. It had this great kind of juicy shelf thing going on. It wasn’t a fitness butt, mind you. This woman had plenty of cellulite on her thighs, plenty of rolls on her hips and belly. She didn’t look like a model or a gym bunny.

But there was something just magnetically fabulous about the curve of her butt.

I’ve been thinking about this moment a lot. It was such an amazing reminder that we do not need to look “perfect” in order to be attractive or catch someone’s attention.

The thing is, as humans, we’re actually wired to notice only two things:

1. Things that pose a threat, and 2. Things that give us pleasure.

Literally, our brains are meant to look around and filter out everything except the stuff that makes us go either oohh I like that, or shit, that seems dangerous.

Our brains kind of just ignore the stuff in the middle. If it doesn’t offer us pleasure or keep us safe, it gets kind of scrambled into oblivion by our brains.

Why then, do so many women notice and recognize every spot on our body that’s squishy or jiggly? Why can our brains so sharply identify and remember the physical “flaws” on ourselves, each other, and random celebrities in bikinis?

Because we’ve been taught that cellulite and belly rolls are a threat.

Physical “flaws” on a woman have been culturally deemed dangerous, therefore they enter our consciousness and stay there. The idea behind the danger underscores every single scare-tactic used to sell us fitness and beauty products, supplements, diet food, undergarments, fashion, and everything else.

The idea is that if we aren’t perfect, we don’t have as much value. That if we aren’t perfect we won’t have any social capital. People won’t like us. People won’t desire us. The threat that looms large over every single one of our heads is that if we don’t look physically “perfect,” we will be outcast and alone.

Unfortunately this threat is all top real for a LOT of women. If you buy into the idea that a woman’s worth is determined by her appearance, then you also buy into the idea that your physical imperfections are a threat. Which means that your brain is going to focus on, identify, and remember every single one of them.

The entire movement toward loving and accepting your body as it is relies on accepting this one true fact:

Your physical so-called “flaws” are not dangerous.

They’re not a threat to your well-being. Not physically, not emotionally, not mentally, not spiritually. Your weight doesn’t make you good or bad. Having cellulite doesn’t say anything about your worth, your gifts, your potential, or even your beauty. Having a soft tummy doesn’t mean you won’t find a good partner, or be deserving of success.

We must strip our flaws of the power they hold, by looking at them plainly and saying you are not dangerous. You are not a threat to me.

When you do that– when you really believe that–  you will suddenly free up all this extra brain-space for thoughts about what you find pleasing and beautiful. Your eyes will suddenly be free to skip and ignore certain body parts, while lingering on the ones that give you pleasure, like your great smile, your cool hair, or your fabulous shelf-butt.


Jessi Kneeland Get strong. Feel confident. Look amazing.

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