“Somewhere along the way, we have to stop beating ourselves up for not being our idea of ‘perfect.'”
As silly as it sounds, I was extremely affected by an episode of The Bachelorette that aired last night.
It was the notorious and controversial fantasy suites episode, and in it Hannah took a big step for women everywhere.
And it really got me thinking…
Spoiler Alert: This post contains spoilers about the 15th season of The Bachelorette with Hannah Brown up through the fantasy suites episode. Please only keep reading if you are okay with reading this information.
Very quick backstory: The Bachelorette/Bachelor is a show where a girl or guy starts with 30 eligible suitors. Over the weeks of the show, the pool of suitors is reduced as they go on dates and have “rose ceremonies” (in which the leading lady/man give out roses to those they want to keep around). While many think The Bachelorette is a sort of fantasy world – to be fair, the dates do include sky-diving and exploring foreign countries together – some genuine relationships have been born out of the show.
But I digress.
Fantasy suites is one of the last episodes of the season. The Bachelorette/Bachelor gets to spend the night alone in a hotel room with each of the remaining guys/girls. No cameras, no mics. Sometimes they have sex, sometimes they don’t, and sometimes they don’t really tell you. I mean, it’s not really our business anyway.
A Date Gone Wrong
The final fantasy suite date they showed Hannah going on was with Luke, a former party boy and player turned born-again Christian. They spent the day out and about, and are at dinner before the “fantasy suite” part when the trouble begins.
Luke opens up the conversation about sex, or what he believes are proper values regarding sex. He tells Hannah that if she’s had sex with any of the other guys in the fantasy suites, then he’s going home because he believes sex should only ever be between a husband and a wife. He also says that if she’s slipped up once, he’s willing to work through it. But he wants to make sure that she’s not going to sleep with all the guys just to “see what it’s like.”
Hannah, rightly outraged, tells him that he has no right to tell her what she can and can’t do with her body. He’s not her husband, and she doesn’t owe him anything. It’s her body.
And she adds, “I have had sex, and Jesus still loves me.” Then she sends Luke home.
Many are calling what Luke did “slut-shaming.” They had no commitment to each other and no promises made. Not only did he try to control Hannah’s actions, he made her feel bad about her decisions – ones she openly said she gave lots of thought.
A Fierce and Inspirational Role Model
Hannah has utterly surprised me during this season.
She’s been fearlessly herself. While she’s wavered on some decisions, she’s both followed her heart and her brain. She believes she deserves to be treated well and loved fiercely, and she does.
Hannah’s not afraid to act goofy in front of the cameras. She’s appeared on camera both dolled up and without a full face of makeup on. And clearly, she’s not afraid to talk about sex on TV either. While many women would cringe at the idea of talking about their sex lives on national television, she’s ruthlessly honest.
It’s a breath of fresh air for anyone who’s ever felt slut-shamed or guilty about having sex. And especially for anyone who’s ever felt guilty because of religion.
During the last season of The Bachelor, Hannah couldn’t even make a toast for fear of saying something dumb. Looking at her now, she’s completely transformed and become so much more confident.
It’s made me think a lot about self-love and self-acceptance. While yes, some could say that Hannah is beautiful and has tons of guys vying for her love right now, it doesn’t mean she’s any different from me or you. She’s a human woman and has admitted she’s had her own self-doubts to overcome.
Somewhere along the way, we have to stop beating ourselves up for not being our idea of “perfect.”
It’s the same with body positivity. While someone at sometime said that there’s a “perfect” body type, they’re wrong because there’s no such thing.
Not everyone is attracted to the same things either. What matters is who you are and that you are your real self.
Self-Improvement Vs. Self-Acceptance
So my question to you today is this:
Where do our self-improvement goals meet our self-acceptance?
I’ll give you an example.
I’ve always wanted toned, flat abs. And now I’m getting pretty close. I was unhappy with my stomach and wanted to change it, so I’ve committed to regular ab workouts, weight lifting, and cardio.
Is it okay that I wanted to change myself? Clearly, I didn’t have complete body positivity or self-acceptance since I wanted to change something, right?
First of all, yes it’s okay to want to improve yourself. If we didn’t want to be our best selves, we wouldn’t achieve very much in life at all.
What matters is how you go about it and your state of mind as you do.
25 year old hates the way her stomach looks in bikini pictures. Decides to work out 6 days a week with lots of ab workouts. Gets angry about how few crunches she can do. Looks in the mirror after every workout and hates how much her stomach pooches out. She keeps working out, determined to change it.
25 year old thinks her stomach looks large and untoned in a bikini picture. Decides to work out 6 days a week with lots of ab workouts. Sets goals for different exercises and pushes herself. Looks in the mirror after every workout and realizes she hasn’t hit her goal, but is proud of what her body is capable of. She wants to keep getting stronger, and if abs come with it, then great!
If I’m honest with myself, I did not have body positivity when I began making changes. And I still struggle with it sometimes. But I enjoy working out because of how it makes me feel. I love pushing my body and seeing what it can do. It’s a wonderful feeling when I finish a tough workout; my stress is lower and I feel empowered.
I also want to be healthy, and exercising and eating right are great ways to take care of my body. It’s a form of self-love. That’s what keeps me exercising. Not my desire for abs or any sort of disgust with my body.
Body positivity and self-acceptance are honestly the best things you can do for yourself. They sure as hell aren’t easy. But seriously, WHO CARES if you’ve got a little belly pooch?? It doesn’t mean you’re not healthy. And it doesn’t mean you’re not attractive! As long as you have a smile on your face and are enjoying life, that’s all that matters.
I’m going to try to my best to start being more real with you guys. I feel like lately I’ve had a lot of epiphanies and have truly started to understand self-acceptance.
I’ll never tell you that I’m perfect or that I always love my body, because that would be an outright lie. But if you ever see me pulling some hypocrisy worthy of Luke P., please feel free to call me out! We’re all on this journey together.
Sending out love and happy vibes to you all!
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Have any thoughts about self-acceptance? I’d love to hear them! Please feel free to comment down below!
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