Every time you hear this expression you think about how clichéd it is. Which is a shame, because it is something that we all should live by. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about body positivity and loving yourself, or not-loving yourself, and why it’s so hard.
Think about all the amazing things our bodies can do; like creating life, for example. That is just so freaking incredible. Yet, we wake up every morning and assess our body, compare weight loss photos, dwell on the fact that we ate a burger yesterday and grill ourselves for it (pun intended). We often compare ourselves to other women, despite knowing that every body is different and comparing ourselves is, to put it bluntly, stupid. We feel envy towards those who flaunt bodies we dream about and begin to make up stories in our head about who they are as a person and why they’re inferior to us, not because of who they actually are, we have no idea most of the time, but because we are so desperate to feel beautiful and worthy, that we thrive off bringing down the worth of others. Why don’t we wake up in the morning and think, ‘Wow, my body just spent the night repairing itself while I slept’, ‘How cool is it that I don’t have to think about how I’m going to get out of bed because my body naturally functions through my brain and I don’t even consciously think about it?’ or ‘I really enjoyed that burger I ate yesterday, and I make sure I nourish my body with a balanced diet, so I’m not going to give it a second thought’.
Obviously, those ‘thoughts’ are highly exaggerated, because let’s be real, who wakes up and thinks like that first thing in the morning? I definitely don’t. But hopefully you can see where I’m going with this. It is so important that we turn those negative thoughts, the kind that make you question if you should skip breakfast, into positive ones that remind us of what’s really important. Hopefully this can take us to a place where we can focus entirely on the things that really matter in life, and not get stuck in a constant cycle of regret, guilt and self-consciousness. Because if I’m honest, unless we make a conscious effort to truly love ourselves as we are, we never will.
When I was at my ‘smallest’ I thought I looked like a whale. I would go out with friends and irrationally decide that when people would look all they would be thinking was ‘look how much bigger that girl is from her friends’. I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that those are the thoughts that relentlessly circulated through my mind, or that fact that I believed I was SO important that people would stop their day to contemplate my size. I look back at photos now from that time and think ‘Why was I so hard on myself? I would LOVE it if I was that size now’. I know that sounds like a contradiction because I’m preaching the importance of body-positivity and loving yourself unconditionally; but these are things so many of us struggle with on the daily, still. In fact, Rachel Krantz’s article ‘7 Ways To Love Yourself and Have Positive Body Image (Because We’re Tired Of The BS)’ discusses how nearly all women she’s spoken to have confessed to struggling with their body image or some part of their appearance.
A few weeks ago I reached the size that I was writing down in my ‘New Year Resolution Goals’ for YEARS; and, here I am, still struggling to love myself, still wanting to lose weight, still unsatisfied. So there I was, standing partially naked in front of my mirror, contemplating why it is so damn difficult to just cut the crap and love ourselves. We can blame it on a whole bunch of things, like society perpetrating the ‘Victoria Secret Super Model’ body as a ‘one size fits all’ standard for beauty, or toxic relationships where affection is withheld as an excuse to accept that we’re only as beautiful as other’s tell us we are. But for whatever reason, this is where 95% of women, and likely equally as many men, are at. So… I thought, and thought and thought..
That’s when I understood that unless we focus on changing our MINDSET, rather than our BODIES, we would finally be able to achieve satisfaction and an unshakable love for who we are. Because at the end of the day, deep down, I know my worth is so much more than the size of my jeans, that the people who love me have loved me at my ‘smallest’ and at my ‘largest’; because it has never, and will never, define who I am as a person. I mean, honestly, if you’re being healthy, if you’re loving on yourself and feel truly happy, and you can go to sleep at night knowing that you strive to be the best version of yourself every day, then nothing else REALLY matters.
Whoever said ‘you have to love yourself first before you can love anyone else’ was spot on. So how do we learn to love ourselves? It’s not as easy as saying ‘you’re beautiful’ sub standardly to the mirror every morning and not believing a word of it. So I’ve gathered some of my shower thoughts on what it means to love yourself each step of the journey to bettering who we are…
- Start changing those constant, nagging, self-loathing thoughts. When you begin catching yourself checking out your stomach as you walk past a window and regret what you last ate, or what you didn’t eat, remember that your body is incredible and works endlessly for your health every single second of each day. You are beautiful regardless of weight.
- Stop deciding what other people think of you. I promise you, the way you see yourself is not how others see you. That is a proven fact. Better yet though, just stop caring what other people think.
- Love yourself where you’re at. You decide your worth and with each negative thought you have, you’re only backtracking yourself in achieving a happy and healthy mind. Please learn to love yourself, because we are worth so much more than we could ever imagine. You are SO loved.
- Remember that you are wonderfully and fearfully made.