Monday, June 22, 2009

What I learned from Liv Tyler

People who know me will probably roll their eyes when they read this, but I'm going to say it anyway: I may not have a perfect stomach, but thank God I have skinny ankles!

I stole that from actress/model/Steven Tyler's daughter Liv Tyler, actually. It's a quote of hers I read recently, and it hit home in a way that made me realize, "Wow, what a good way to think."

It may seem obvious that it's always better to look at the positive. For a person with perfectionist tendencies, though, it's not really part of the deal. For a perfectionist, there's always something that can be improved, something that could be better.

The actual quote, from Britain's "The Sunday Times Style" magazine, is, "All you can do really is try your best and accept yourself. I'll always have a more round stomach, but thank God I have thin ankles."

Reading this quote somehow, for the first time, really made me realize, "Hmm. I guess some things just really can't be controlled."

If a superstar with endless resources realizes she can't have a perfect stomach -- or whatever else it may be -- maybe it's time I accept this, too, I thought.

I'm pretty sure all of us are unhappy with at least one thing -- and in most cases, for women at least, a few different things -- about our appearances. Mine has always been the stomach area. It's just the one thing I've always focused on, staring at it, prodding at it, checking it out from different angles, different positions, both seated and lying down. It's the first and, well, last, measure of how good I'm keeping up with myself. And with my genes -- where six-pack abs are just not in the cards -- checking it out more often results in a, "Ugh," as opposed to a, "Wow, way to go!"

Now the eyes are really rolling, I know. I know this because I realize I'm in pretty good shape. I exercise most days and eat a pretty healthy diet. I'm petite and by no means am unhappy with my figure. But, that's kinda the point.

No matter who we are or what we look like, many of us still focus on the things we think are crappy -- or imperfect -- about ourselves, and use that as a measure of the whole package. (For perfectionists, unfortunately, this female tendency is magnified even more.)

But Liv Tyler doesn't measure herself by the imperfect (or at least she didn't the day she gave that quote). Instead, she said something pretty profound for all of us body-part haters out there: Focus on the good stuff, damn it!

This idea of focusing on the good is an age-old motto, but somehow, I've never really heard it applied to body image stuff. Or maybe I just never listened.

I found myself stopping after reading that quote and thinking, "Wow, I don't have a perfect stomach either, but darn it, I do have nice ankles!"

Some people don't like their ankles. Some people don't like their knees, or their legs in general. But maybe those people get boatloads of compliments on their beautiful skin, gorgeous hair, stunning face. Do they focus on those nice things, though? If they're perfectionists -- and in most cases, if they're women -- probably not.

So, I just want to say, "Thank you, Liv Tyler. I think you're gorgeous. And I'm appreciating my ankles now, thanks to you."

Of course, the belly checks still take place ... I don't know if those will ever end. But I do have another little voice in my head now, running after the less-forgiving one, and it's saying, "Hey, stop being so mean to yourself. Maybe you don't have perfect abs, but check out those ankles!"


  1. So true, so to find the one asset I can be thankful for :) Hmmm, my elbows perhaps :)

  2. Are you kidding? There are too many to count!