Love Your Body
As we move into the summer months, a very popular topic of conversation is body image and being comfortable in one’s skin. The summer months tend to expose a lot of skin, metaphorically and literally, bringing up a lot of vulnerability, self-consciousness, guilt, shame, comparison and more.
I’ve found that body image is a multi layered phenomenon and experience. It is complex, impacts many areas of our lives, and can affect both your mental and physical wellbeing.
In order to have a healthy body image, it is important to identify where you get most of your body image messages.
Who taught you to either love or hate your body? Are they a valid source? Did they love their own body?
What did you learn about masculinity or femininity? Which one was valued more in your culture?
Who were/are the body ideals that you were exposed to during puberty? What values did those people align with?
What are things that you have been called, and what are things that you have thought about yourself?
Our bodies are much more than physical beings, which is all we tend to give them credit for. Our bodies are typically objectified, adorned, praised solely on appearance and very often disrespected (whether by ourselves or others).
We tend to take our bodies for granted as well. Not only do they allow us to have a physical presence in this world, our bodies give us capabilities to communicate and connect with one another, experience pleasure, move around from place to place, and create magic through our work/creations.
While it is undeniable that the media promotes a certain body ideal, I think you have to ask yourself what more is there to me than just a body? What other values does that ideal body align with, and do I align with those ideals?
These questions apply to everyone. A lot of people who are praised only for their looks tend to crave being seen as more than just a body. People often assume that once they look a certain way they will feel better about themselves and be able to do the things that they want. The truth is that there is nothing holding you back from doing or having what you want right now, other than your own perception of yourself. Everything you want is on the other side of self-respect and self-acceptance.
If you are dissatisfied with the way you look, try to hold onto the other aspects about yourself. Ask for feedback from your friends and family. I guarantee that they will point out something that they see is beautiful within you. Try to really let that in and receive it as truth, rather than just them trying to placate you.
I also wonder if you saw someone who looked exactly like you, would you judge them, shame them, and be as harsh and critical as you are with yourself? The answer is probably no. So why are you berating yourself?
I empathize and understand that looks are a part of how someone views and how they feel about themselves. I personally like to play around with make up and fashion and discover ways that make me feel good about myself physically and emotionally. I also love to find different ways of expressing myself, and exploring how fashion and make up can alter how I feel. I believe this can be done at any size though. Not only the model thin population deserves to look cute, and feel good in their skin.
Play around with fashion. Explore different make up and hair looks. Emphasize you’re naturally occurring assets.
I’m not saying take the focus completely off of physical appearance, I am saying that there is more to a person and we must explore, encourage, and feel good about ourselves as a whole person, not just a body.
I remember the first time that I didn’t care about the weight on the scale or the size of the clothing that I purchased. My closet is filled with a variety of sizes ranging from small to XXL. It all depends on the manufacturer and sizing of the label. What I realized I valued more, was how I felt. While my looks may influence how I feel, how I feel can also influence how I look. I stand with more confidence, more radiance, and more connection when I am feeling good on the inside.
I encourage you to find your own personal beauty, your own personal sense of style, and your own personal self-expression. Be attuned to yourself; personalize your unique expression of health and beauty. Avoid comparison because there are too many variable factors that come into play. Focus on being the best version of YOURSELF!