I’ve been thinking a good bit lately about how we view our bodies and ourselves. It’s almost never positive. If I asked a random woman on the street what she liked about herself, and then what she disliked about herself, I bet we can already guess what list would be longer.
Society has created visions of what the perfect woman should look like and shoved it into our heads and made us believe there is no other way. We have made these irrational views the social norm.
Because of these insane views, I have disliked myself and my looks for years.
Everything from my weight to my feet, I could give you a list a mile long of things I don’t care for about myself. I see this in other women. They are scared of gaining weight, getting older, and doing everything in their power to stop both of those things. Everything from starving to doing extreme things to their bodies.
Instagram has a community of women who are about body positivity. This is body positivity at any size, any shape, any form, and any fashion. Women who wear a lot of makeup, women who go barefaced. They encourage body love and self love, but also receive a lot of hate. When I read comments on positive photos of themselves, there are people who say that they are fat, unhealthy, and ask them how they can even show their face on the internet.
What does this tell you about our society? A woman can post a photo of herself online and show a little positivity only to be told that she’s wrong. Why can’t a woman have fat and be beautiful? Why is it so hard to be positive or move along rather than be hateful and cause someone to feel worse about themselves?
If there is one thing I know for sure about being overweight and unhealthy is that it only gets worse until you love yourself enough to do something about it. We need to instill in our children a love of self and, at the bare minimum, a respect for their bodies. Just because you are shaped differently than someone on TV, does not mean there is anything wrong with you.
It’s up to us to break this norm.
I am obese and have been most of my life. I’ve found that in my low times, I turn to food as a comfort because in those moments, I dislike myself and my body. During those moments, I don’t care that what I am putting in my body is not good for it.
I’ve been transitioning over the past year. I’m coming to terms with my body and learning to like, if not love, the skin I’m in.
I’ve started doing yoga and eating more veggies. I am in no way vegetarian, but I’ve been eating meat only once a day, most days. I pay more attention to my body and the way it moves and the way it feels. I am more mindful of my body.
My feet are wide but are a good foundation for balance in yoga. My legs are steady, hold my body, and move me from place to place. My hips are shifty and offer better mobility. My back has it’s issues but has carried me for 31 years. My chest and ribs protect my heart that sends blood throughout my body and carries oxygen and water and nutrients to every part of me.
Sometimes, loving ourselves is hard and could use a little help. Getting to imagine yourself from another’s point of view can really help your view of yourself. A family member, friend, or significant other can really open your eyes to yourself.
I asked my husband to make some notes on what he liked and admired about me. The majority of what he wrote was about my mentality. For someone who is not wordy, I was impressed. A lot of it was flattery, but he did very well with his assignment.
He said he appreciated that I’m strong and that I really put myself into whatever I’m doing whether it be cooking, planting flowers, or putting up with him. His words, not mine.
He said that he admires my ability to immerse myself into my writing or reading.
I thought about what I like in myself. I like that I’m compassionate and empathetic. I love my appreciation of nature and living things. Finding things that you like in yourself and recognizing those traits will put you on the right track for self love.
The human body is a miracle and universe unto itself. It all connects and flows to make your body function as a whole. Carl Sagan once said, “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” How amazing is it that we are made of the same thing as the stars? When you think of your body in that fashion, it becomes much easier to love.
Before I close, let me tell you something that I am still learning myself. PERFECTION DOES NOT EXIST.
Striving for perfection is like draining the ocean with a straw. No matter how hard you try, you will not reach perfection because it simply does not exist. Just because I love my body doesn’t mean I don’t want to improve it. I want to make it healthier, stronger, and better because I’m learning to love it. So, on the national day of love, I encourage you to love your body, love your heart and mind, and love something about everything about yourself. Happy Valentine’s Day!