I was in a yoga clinic the other day getting increasingly frustrated when I blurted out, “I just think my arms are too short.”
I’d been trying to do many different balances over the past few months, feeling like I’m constantly overcompensating for my short wingspan. The teacher stopped me from my next attempt and got the entire class’ attention. Then she asked another girl come to the front of the room.
I’d been watching this girl since the beginning of the class secretly envying her practice and her body type.
She was very tall and slender, and of course, had very long arms.
The teacher says to the other girl, “Joy thinks her arms are too short.”
The girl responded, “I’m always saying my arms are too long!”
We both had to laugh a bit, and the teacher had us get into an extended side angle position and showed us how we fit into ourselves. She said touch the ground and see how your arm fits the exact length of your leg? I looked at the other girl, and it was true. Then she had us stand back up and put our arms next to each other and hers were almost laughably longer than mine. The teacher reiterated, yes our bodies are made differently, but they fit into themselves.
To be honest, I teared up.
I’ve been feeling such a burden lately seeing how we treat each other, particularly as women. We are so quick to compare ourselves. We inhibit our relationships with one another because we somehow think that each other’s beauty is a threat to our own. Instead of having beauty that is contagious and making the people around us feel valued, we feel threatened and (consciously or subconsciously) create a rift.
Some people tear others down in what looks like conceit or overconfidence to mask their feeling of inferiority. Some just make small remarks emphasizing the comparison to make themselves feel validated. And some just choose to avoid being friends with certain people because they feel they can’t measure up.
Why do we do this? Women in particular.
Think of your best friends. Think of the most beautiful people you know. Why are they beautiful? I’ll tell you, I know plenty of pretty people. You know, the girls you go to high school with that ended up working at Hooters or started doing beauty pageants. There are plenty of pretty girls, but, the ones that come to mind when I think of the word beautiful are the ones who shine from their souls. Their beauty is contagious. They love themselves, and can love me back without threat of competition.
They love me so hard, I love myself more when we are together.
Some of them are blonde and hollywood approved looking, and some are moms who’ve gained 100 pounds. Somehow, that is entirely irrelevant.
They are the perfect fit and they know it.
Beautiful women fit inside their own skin, and they are confident enough in theirs to make us feel beautiful in ours. We all have our moments—moments when our beauty shines, and moments of weakness when the world starts to get to us and our bitterness spreads. There are times when we feel like we don’t quite fit into our lives, our dreams, our relationships, our jobs and that is a part of life.
But remember: you are the perfect fit.
If your arms were a different length, they’d be too long or too short for your legs, but it doesn’t stop there. If you didn’t have the parents you had, the divorce you faced, the music you wrote, the heartbreak you experienced, the death of the one you loved…if you didn’t have all of that, the pieces that make you you, you wouldn’t fit.
Your life was built for you. The people that come into your life were built around you, and you fit exactly there. All of your experiences and all of your difficulties including the moments you felt like you weren’t enough. Including the moments you felt like you didn’t fit. These are the parts that have built you, and they are perfectly assembled for you to make your mark on the world.
You are always always enough. And you are always exactly where you need to be.
Don’t compare yourself.
Don’t hide your beauty away.
Let’s feed that beauty that is contagious. It is inside every one of us.
Your life is a series of perfectly crafted pieces. It’s what you do with the pieces that lets your beauty shine and lights others on fire.
You are beautiful. And you are a perfect, perfect fit.
Author: Joy Paris
Volunteer Editor: Kim Haas / Editor: Renee Picard
Photo: Eli Christman/Flickr