We all have some idea of how we see ourselves - and also a perceived idea of how other people see us. These ideas influence each other, and are influenced by our own self-talk, personal expectations, and societal pressures. We sat down with Dr. Ariane Smith Machin, a Licensed Clinical and Sport Psychologist, momma, and business owner, to talk about life, self-love, and raising healthy, happy children.
One of the most common issues that we, as bra fitters, encounter, is some level of body-dissatisfaction. Whether this is openly expressed - or shown silently, through women cringing at our mirrors and measuring tapes - we think it speaks to the larger issue that we sometimes do not look kindly at ourselves. Dr Machin believes that “when we are not feeling good about ourselves, we will never see ourselves in a positive way”; much of her work is centered around this idea. As a society, we place an incredible emphasis on physical appearance - and, because “body image is a reflection of self-image,” this negativity can really get us down.
At Derriere de Soie, we believe in beauty - inside and out, and we want our customers to feel as beautiful as we think they are. Dr Machin provided us with some tips for how we can all be a little nicer to ourselves - and how we can help the young women in our lives grow up to be strong, independent, and beautiful - from the inside out.
Change the way we see exercise. Dr Machin redefines exercise as “movement”. It’s so easy to get caught up in “I didn’t exercise enough” - but when the goal is movement, it is harder to say “I didn’t move enough”. Taking the stairs at work or parking farther away from your destination to walk both totally count - and moving more can help us deal with stresses in a positive way.
Accept that body image is not a yes or no question. How we see ourselves really occurs along a continuum - shifting positively or negatively depending on how we feel. According to Dr. Machin, we need to cut ourselves some slack and realize that low moments do not have to be permanent. Body acceptance is a fluid concept, and there are always little ways that we can make small improvements in how we feel about ourselves.
Something that comes up so often is that we feel girls are being bombarded with unattainable, unrealistic expectations of how they should look - and we wanted to get a professional opinion on how we can be part of a solution. Dr Machin mentions that for both boys and girls, developing a sense of what their bodies are capable of is so important - encouraging participation in activities that children find fulfilling and fun can help them insulate themselves from negativity. She emphasizes that the important part is the independence and feelings of accomplishment - not being the star athlete or perfect student. By encouraging our children to associate self-worth with abilities, they will be less likely to assume that physical appearance is the only way to measure their worth.
We asked Dr Machin what beauty means to her:
“Beauty is on a continuum for me. For me, it is not “do we have it” or “do we not have it”, but it consists of SO MANY different variables that it is actually hard to assess! For example, when I think a person exhibits empathy, compassion, and kindness, this is BEAUTIFUL and they are BEAUTIFUL! And underlying everything, body image is a reflection of self-image.”
The last thing that we want to emphasize from Dr Machin is that it is okay to have bad days - but as a community of women, we need to stand up and be a resource for each other. We do amazing things as women, and changing the conversation from what we look like, to what we are capable of, is an idea that we, at Derriere de Soie, are in love with.
Dr Ariane Smith Machin is a mother to three beautiful children, an educator, business-owner, and all-around champion for women everywhere. More information about her work can be found at http://www.machincounselingandsportpsychology.com. Follow her on instagram @sportbodyhealth, or find her on Facebook.