What Is The Deal With Loving Your Body
What is the deal with loving your body. I’ve just spent the past week hiking in the mountains. Not just small walks up hills, but 6 hour trails, scrambling over rocks, walking steadily uphill for what seemed like an eternity and then silently hoping that I wasn’t going to trip and roll down the side of the mountain breaking my neck in the process.
Now, I’m fairly fit. I take dance classes several times a week and I walk everyday, but these trails were hard. I often found myself gasping for air and even had to tape my knees since they completely gave out on me after the first major decent.
What shocked me the most is the vast spectrum of shapes and sizes, ages and abilities that were hiking the mountains alongside me (and almost everyone was doing a fantastic job). There were individuals, both men and women, who were overweight and looked like they would keel over any minute, little girls scrambling up the rock face in pink sandals and frilly backpacks and even three girls sitting on top of the mountain, diligently applying red lipstick as I tried, in vain, to glamorously wipe the sweat streaming down my face. Nonetheless, I felt good about myself. My body is strong, we were consistently passing people on the ascent and after a short rest were always ready to go again.
On this same trip I received a Facebook notification that a bunch of pictures of one of my performances were uploaded to our group page. I hesitantly looked at them and was horrified. Do I really look like that? Here I was starting to slowly feel good about myself again after a long hiatus and suddenly, every insecurity I have came at me like a ton of bricks. Needless to say, I made sure that the photos got deleted very quickly. There was no way I was going to feel okay knowing that they were on the internet.
Lately, my various social media feeds are packed with feel good messages telling me to love my body. Honestly, I think they are a load of crap. Now, before you react, let me explain. I’m absolutely 100% against self-deprecating comments and I can’t stand being around a group of women who are complaining about their bodies, but I question whether the other extreme of blindly loving your body is necessary or even helpful.
WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH LOVING YOUR BODY
Our bodies are so much more than how they appear casually from day to day.
- You can visually elongate your body by choosing the right shapes
- You can make yourself look thinner by picking the right cuts
- You can make yourself look younger by wearing the right makeup
- You can look less frumpy and more modern
There have been days when I walk out of the house feeling fantastic about myself and other days when I feel like crap and generally it has everything to do with what I’m wearing and what area of my body is camouflaged.
WHAT IF WE START LOVING OUR BODIES NO MATTER WHAT, IS THAT A GOOD THING?
Warning, I’m entering controversial territory here. What if someone is very obese, should they unconditionally love their body when it might be killing them? If they can’t move or take care of themselves adequately then is blind self love the best option? I I am not saying they need to sit in front of the mirror hating themselves because that’s awful and completely unproductive, but shouldn’t they be aiming to want to better themselves?
I extend this thought to everyone, no matter their weight, shape or size.
ACCEPT YOUR BODY FOR WHAT IT IS BUT ALWAYS STRIVE FOR WHAT IT COULD BE
That’s the motto I try very hard to live by. I’ve had many ups and downs when it comes to my weight and I’m definitely not happy with my body as a whole, (just ask my husband when I demand that he deletes photos he’s taken of me). What I try to do instead, is to focus on the things my body does well.
- It’s strong
- It can still kick some ass in a dance class.
- It can hike mountains
- It can run
- It can do the splits and is more flexible than average
Although I may not love my body in its entirety, I do like certain parts of it.
- I love my legs
- I love my neck
- I love my clavicle
- I love my wrists (I have no clue why, I just like them)
- I love my ankles
Those are the parts that I choose to focus on and I believe, if pressed, everyone has something they like about themselves.
We live in an all or nothing world. Either we are the image of perfection or we are the exact opposite. What if, instead of trying to do everything exactly right, or trying to fit into the perfect mold, we take it day by day, minute by minute and work on a big picture instead of sweating the small stuff?
What I’m proposing is:
- We stop all negative talk about ourselves, it’s really not funny and frankly it sounds kind of pathetic
- We wear only what we love. Why do we insist on hanging onto pieces that don’t make us happy?
- If we miss a workout or overeat, we do. There’s no reason to post it on social media or to tell everyone you know.
- If we go for a meal with friends, we enjoy it rather than making note of how fattening it is or how we are splurging (really, this is just an extension of negative talk)
- We celebrate all the cool things our body did (this can be anything you are proud of)
- We spend conscious time highlighting what we love about our bodies
Enough is enough. There is no reason we have to be blindly in love with our bodies because as humans, we should be striving for improvements, but that being said, we can’t fall into negative traps either.
So the next time you feel fat or you want to say how much you hate something about yourself, take deep breath and count all the stuff you actually like. Find the perfect balance and let that be what drives you.
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