If you could wave a magic wand over your body that could transform one thing, what would you ask it to change?
Most of us would have at least one thing we’d like to change. We’d ask for thinner thighs, a skinnier tummy, a bigger bootie, longer, leaner legs, skinnier arms or even more wishes so that we could change more then just one-body part. Many of us have a strong distaste for our body. We look at it and shame it for everything that it is and forget to thank it for everything that it does.
Our bodies are strong.
They roll out of bed, day after day, and continue to be abused. From the moment we open our eyes to 16 hours later when they are closed, our bodies run non-stop. But instead of loathing our bodies for not being the picture perfect images we see portrayed, we should love our bodies for all that they can do.
Change your mind to start thinking about all that your body can do instead of focusing on all of the things you believe it should be.
Our bodies allow us to run, swim, jump hurdles, walk, sleep, laugh, cry, think and eat. They enable us to live healthy lives yet we still continue to treat them with disdain. Why do we do this? We need to shift our minds to focus on continuing to keep our bodies strong and our minds fit. Not because we struggle with our own identity and intend to mold ourselves into perfection but because we are blessed to have fully functioning bodies that can do the incredible things they do.
The perfect body is more than an obsession it has become a goal that many woman spend their lives attempting to achieve.
But realistically these goals are unachievable. We attempt to lose weight and somehow will our minds to believe that the weight loss will extend our legs and make them longer, or that the fat will melt off our tummies and land directly on our derriere. When it comes to our body, women (and men) are crazy. Well at least the programmed thoughts in our head are.
Can you recall a time when you felt shame about your body?
I can. I can remember a few. I imagine you can as well. I remember being at a party in early twenties. It was one of those few times in life where I felt confident in my skin. I had just lost a couple of pounds and was feeling cute and sexy in my new white jeans. They fit like glove. I confidently dragged my girlfriend closer to a couple of guys at the party and just when I was about to inch my way into the conversation I heard the cute one tell his friend, that the girl in the white jeans was chunky. I looked around for another girl in white jeans. He couldn’t be talking about me, was he? But he was, as I was the only girl in white jeans. I was heartbroken and once again I reverted back to my old behavior of hating myself.
That day, my mind repeated something it had repeated for so long… That it wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t skinny enough. Or tall enough. Or never enough. I knew the song by heart, as I had already spent a lifetime playing it over and over in my head.
Have you ever felt this way?
Just yesterday, I found myself standing in line next to two teenagers who were shaming their bodies for not looking like those of someone else. My heart sunk as I reflected back to who I was then and who I’ve become now. I wanted to grab them and shake them and tell them all I know. But that minute standing there, next to them, I was scared. I found myself going back in time and before I knew it I had shrunk down to their size. I was a plump, young teenager standing beside them, questioning my own worth. I couldn’t save them. All I could do was gather enough strength to ensure that I didn’t crawl down the rabbit hole with them.
My body was never one that fit into society’s standards as beautiful but I’ve come to learn that most aren’t.
But that in itself is beautiful. I don’t want to be a picture-perfect image of perfection that’s outdated. I want to be short and round, muscular and curvy. I want to be healthy. And healthy isn’t determined by the size of your pants or how round your tummy is. It’s determined by how your body feels and how it moves. What it can achieve and how we nourish it. It’s no longer about striving for physical change it’s now about striving for emotional health and mental clarity.
It’s challenging to say the least.
But it’s a challenge I’m willing to try. Are you? Consider all of the times you’ve shamed your body. Or wronged it. Or willed it to change. I imagine there are so many scenarios and experiences that replay over and over in your head. Hundreds if not thousands, right? Well the exact amount of times you’ve wronged it is about the same amount of time you need to put back into loving it.
To be honest that critical inner voice that shames you need to be put back in its place. Begin by challenging it and doing the opposite of what it tells you to do. Put that bathing suit on. Work out in a sports bra. Wear shorts. Wear that little black dress. You’re never going to learn how to love yourself, as you are if you continue to live the life of self-hate. But when you start to challenge your inner critic you also begin to silence it. And this creates a beautiful opportunity to let love in again.
If you’re reading this right now and you’ve struggled with loving your body please know that you’re not alone. But within that beautiful, imperfectly perfect body of yours is a beautiful heart that deserves to be loved. Please give it some. Stop thinking about all that your body is not and start thinking about all that it is and all that it does.
One day, you’ll look back at a picture or a memory and you’ll think to yourself “look at how beautiful I was” or “look at how skinny I used to be” or sadly even “that was when I was healthy enough to walk.” Don’t waste another day trying to change every beautiful piece of who you are… just love yourself and the beautiful skin you’re in now while you have the chance.
I see you and I think you’re beautiful. Always.