You Can’t Photoshop Scars and Suffering

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
<p>Shannon Jay Dougherty - <a href="http://fitmomdiet.com/" target="_blank" role="link" rel="nofollow" class=" js-entry-link cet-external-link" data-vars-item-name="Fit Mom Diet" data-vars-item-type="text" data-vars-unit-name="5a2ed762e4b0bad787126ee8" data-vars-unit-type="buzz_body" data-vars-target-content-id="http://fitmomdiet.com/" data-vars-target-content-type="url" data-vars-type="web_external_link" data-vars-subunit-name="article_body" data-vars-subunit-type="component" data-vars-position-in-subunit="0">Fit Mom Diet</a> Founder, Lifestyle Coach & Fit Mom!</p>

Shannon Jay Dougherty - Fit Mom Diet Founder, Lifestyle Coach & Fit Mom!

Photo: Justin Gill

By Shannon Jay Dougherty

We live in a world of photo shopping, enhancing and putting a fake twist on reality. Too many people portray the perfect, filtered and photo shopped life, especially in the world of social media, yet deep down they are suffering. Have you ever tried to photo shop pain, suffering and the real scars out of your life? It doesn’t work.

I use my scars to tell a story. To remind me of times when life tried to break me, but failed. Although I can’t control the filters others choose when they look at me, I can control my authenticity. Through fitness, eating disorders, parenthood, and other life struggles I have some incredible scars that have shaped who I am today. I have no need to paint a filtered picture of the perfect life. It doesn’t exist.

Upon entering the health and fitness industry as a fitness model and healthy living advocate, I’ve watched men and women of all ages strive for the perfect body. So much of the fitness world is based on appearance, which the pain and suffering individuals go through is kept quiet. At one time, I was in those shoes, dying to be thin and using unrealistic measures to look a certain way.

As a preteen growing up in appearance-conscious California, I was teased about my weight. After struggling with an Eating Disorder in college and keeping it a secret, I decided it was time to open up about my struggles. During the time of my eating disorder I may have “looked” my best but deep down was miserable and suffering.

As a mother of two young children I have had my own parenting challenges. I was at a loss for words and actions on how to manage my own child. Many days I spent feeling down and depressed, and too many nights crying myself to sleep, dreaming I could do a better job as a parent. Feeling helpless and unable to provide my child with the tools to manage difficult situations, I knew it was time to get help for my daughter. Often times we get embarrassed or feel ashamed about counseling, therapy, or talking to others to work through issues. We must grow and learn from tough situations instead of covering up over our pain and reality.

My scars and struggles were the inspiration for a community designed to help educate, support and inspire moms. My goal was to empower women, to promote a positive body image, and to teach others how to live a healthy lifestyle through clean eating and fitness. My goal was to relate with parents, overwhelmed with the responsibilities of raising children and taking care of themselves. Most importantly, my goal was to change lives, one person at a time, which is where my company Fit Mom Diet began five years ago.

Bottom line, you can’t photo shop pain, suffering and real scars. I struggle Every – Single - Day. Through parenting, relationships, marriage, kids, social media, social pressures, and juggling emotions, life can be extremely stressful. Sometimes it takes an overwhelming breakdown to have an undeniable breakthrough. Free yourself from the expectations of what you should be like, what social media portrays us and what we think happiness looks like. Don’t let others define you. As an adult, I no longer look for just the good in people; I also search for the “real”. While good is often dressed in fake clothing, real is naked and proud no matter the scars. I’d rather see your real, authentic self any day, Nothing FAKE! It’s better to be real and flawed than really fake and a facade. Get naked people!