I am linking up with Amanda to share these thoughts.
It’s Monday morning, 8 am. I stand in front of the mirror ready to go to work. Man, I look good today. I fill out my top really nicely and my legs nice and toned. I’m doing something right.
It’s Tuesday afternoon, 4 pm. Wow, when did my arms get so big? Do they always look so flabby? Gosh, I need to get back on track.
It’s Friday night, 7 pm. Date night. This dress is so flattering… I look beautiful. My hair looks thicker and more full than ever. Yes, let’s go.
Friday night, 10 pm. Date night is over. Ugh, when did I get so gross? I put way too much make up on. These pants are far too small. I must have gained weight.
Do I love my body? Or do I hate it? Do I feel light, free and in total admiration of the body I reside in? Or do I feel intensely uncomfortable, like a wet towel lying in the floor? Well, it depends on the day, the week of the month, the time you’ve asked.
My old therapist did an activity with me a few years ago that I remember very well. She had me write a list of things I valued: honesty, kindness, academia, family, my spirituality, freedom, and genuine-ness. Then she asked me what I spent my time thinking of most often. How much time did I devote to scrutinizing my appearance or concerned with fitting a certain mold I made for myself? Or working out and eating clean to achieve a body I would love?
Yet, how does “being in love with body” align with any of the things I value? Don’t get me wrong, I am all about “body love” and taking care of oneself. Yet, how much of our mental energy goes into achieving a body that we believe we will love? While I think it is totally possible to fall in love with your body and be in admiration of everything about it, I think waiting or anticipating a time when you feel like that is probably a waste of time.
Our minds have been infiltrated with beauty and body ideals that we are destined to compare ourselves to “the world’s most beautiful.” We think- “how far off am I from that? If I do my hair a certain way or wear a little bit more make-up will I be there?”
I have come to the realization that I may never totally love my body- at least not its appearance. I used to think I would reach a point where I did. Where I would look in the mirror everyday and think “yes, I am beautiful!” When I didn’t feel that way, I’d be discouraged and think… “maybe there’s something I should be doing.” Now, however, I see if I want to live fully and without concern of my outer shell, I must move aside from my body and just accept it.
There is no need to “suffer to be smaller” or spend a ton of money on the perfect skin treatment or hours in the gym trying new workouts.
Stop waiting to “love” your body. Instead, accept and respect it. Focusing on your outer shell is like spending years building the perfect home and never living in it. The house may be beautiful and you may feel incredibly proud of it, but what’s the point of it? To look at it? To spend your life’s work on a building that is never even enjoyed?
When you live in the house, you will want to take care of it and make sure it remains a healthy place to live and doesn’t crumble on top of you, but you will soon realize its main purpose is for shelter. Anyone who comes to visit is visiting for what’s inside, not to look at the house!
When I see woman choosing the most boring foods in order to watch their weight or manipulate their appearance in some way I wonder, why? Are you trying to ensure that you live a long healthy life or are you fighting to remain attractive or possibly become more attractive? Are you striving to do whatever you believe will make you love your body?
Move aside from your body. Realize it’s the only chance you have at a fulfilling life.
I may never fall in love with my abdominal area. I will likely never love my cellulite. But I can realize how total adoration and love for my appearance isn’t essential to living a full, active life.
My body is a gift that allows me to LIVE. Don’t waste another minute waiting to love your body- choose now to accept and respect it for all it has to offer you.