I tweeted this a few months ago and knew it could be misinterpreted. But the response I got from a few women told me they understood.
I love the word vanity. It’s filled with negative connotations, but I’ve taken ownership of it and changed its meaning. This word represents everything weight training has given me. And once you have healthy vanity, it changes your life forever. You can not go back.
Vanity and weight lifting go together so well not just because of the external results weights give you, but because of the inner confidence. While you’re lifting machinery and chunks of iron, the weights are lifting you.
You know you’ve found weight training vanity on when you:
- Learn to lift weights next to men who’ve been doing it for years,
- Feel like you have a right to be in the weight room,
- Feel like you know what you’re doing,
- Don’t mind standing out, even around other women (you aren’t competing with them and they sense that),
- Make no excuses for who you are, what you look like, or what you’re doing.
My style of vanity is a self confidence that rocks beyond anything you imagined. You’ve seen people like this, and you know it when you see it. I have my insecurities just like the next person, but I don’t let them rock my world.
If the word vanity still conjures up images of an evil stepmother plotting to do away with a competitor, remember that this is not Snow White… This is a world in which women are held to unrealistic standards of beauty by the media, our culture, and ourselves. Most of us hold back on proudly showing off our assets because we don’t think we look good enough, or “perfect.” Not to mention that our culture’s insistence on modesty keeps us nicely held in our places, afraid to publically be proud of our bodies.
I saw a quote from @SelfMagazine on Twitter recently:
“Proud heart: Want to be healthy? Love yourself. High self-esteem may protect your heart.”
If you can’t reconcile yourself with having healthy vanity, then give yourself a proud heart. The words “proud heart” also resonate with what I feel about myself and try to encourage in others. Not to mention the truth that being happy and being healthy are connected.
How Do I Get There?
If you’re lifting weights with confidence, the next step is to freaking own the weight room. You will not see killer results while you’re flopping those little toy dumbbells around. Try these:
- Use heavy weight sisters! If you’ve been lifting awhile and know proper form, you can gradually increase the weight. Barbie weights will not get you anywhere – not more confident and not more muscle.
- Post pictures of yourself. This is about feeling like you rock, not about how flat your stomach is. Healthy vanity is not being afraid to show off a little.
- Compliment yourself. I spout off on social media occasionally about how I rock and roll. I do this because (1) it gives others permission to do the same, and (2) I deserve it.
We assume others will look down on us if we display our self love and confidence, and maybe some do. But most often our self confidence ends up being a magnet.
People are drawn to strong women who have self confidence – weight lifting vanity.
In the end, we’re always our own worst enemy. You don’t need to protect me from your self love. You can show me and tell me how hot you look one day. I’d love to hear it. I’d love for you to get that feeling from whatever activity you love doing – weight lifting, running, cycling, or whatever. Feeling like a hot mama should shine through, not be modestly put away to help other people stay in their comfort zones. So give vanity a try. Start in the weight room, and then see how it walks out with you.