I’m flawed. If you look in the medical guides or beauty magazines – I don’t quite fit the ideal normal body. I have slightly bowed legs. When I stand with my feet together my knees don’t touch and there is no chance my inner thighs are going to rub. I supposed I could gain 40 or so pounds and have swishing inner thighs… but that’s not really the goal. The point is I’m flawed. You probably are too. You may not be bow -legged but I bet there is something ‘wrong’ with you! Maybe one of your legs is slightly longer, or a hip is slightly higher, genetically you have saddle bags, or your left side is weaker than your right… who knows but I’m sure you aren’t perfect. Does perfect even exist?
Knowing that we are all somewhat flawed … why do we still focus so much on an unachievable attempt to be perfect? I could also hope to be taller but that’s not going to happen. There are only certain things I can control or change. One of those is I can choose to be healthy. I can eat right, exercise, build a strong heart, have strong, useful muscles and that would be pretty great. That could be what perfect looks like for me.
When I was doing my pilates training there were about 10 of us gals in the class. Within the first session, our leader, mentor and instructor noticed I was bow-legged and was all too eager to share this with the rest of the class. From that day on in training – I was referred to as bow-legged. With just about each exercise we practiced our leader would say “let’s see what bow-legged looks like doing this exercise!” Thank goodness ‘scoliosis’ was also in my class or I might have felt like the only freak! Some of you may be thinking that that is just awful and must have been a terrible experience. Actually, it was great. Beyond the first instance of embarrassment and feeling self conscious (and I definitely had that moment!) – I learned to embrace my difference and received lots and lots of hands on attention. Had I been ‘normal’ I would not have had the opportunity to demonstrate the exercises or gain as much guidance as I did. I also learned how to work with other’s with less than perfect bodies. My flaw turned out to be a real advantage! I’m sure scoliosis felt the same way.
I embraced my difference and used it to make me a better instructor. I can now confidently saw to my students – ‘this is how this exercise should be performed but if you have this issue – it might look more like this.’ I am no longer embarrassed or hoping no on notices that I’m flawed. I’m also more aware of other’s flaws… but I don’t see them as flaws. I see them as unique and opportunities. I see a lot of knock-knee’d clients and telling them to keep their feet together when physically they can’t would only be frustrating. Instead. I reach for a ball and put that between their feet. Pilates is a very understanding form of exercise. Pilates accepts that we are all different or flawed and adapts to meet our needs. Sometimes that flaw might be temporary such as a weak low spine or permanent like scoliosis. None the less, Pilates can be performed safely to produce a great whole body workout.
If we focused on being the best version of ourselves, not some unrealistic standard of normal or perfect, wouldn’t that be pretty great? If we worked to be healthy and worried less about looking like a model, wouldn’t that be satisfying and a relief? If we stopped comparing ourselves to a photo-shopped image in a magazine, wouldn’t we embrace ourselves and like our selves more? A wise woman once said to me “Don’t point out your flaws to others because chances are they haven’t noticed yet. And once you point it out – that’s what they are going to see”. Let’s stop focusing on our flaws and start focusing on what we can be and do with our strong healthy bodies.
Here’s to a healthy love of your body – flaws and all!