For me, body-positivity has been very complex, in part because I grew up with a number of negative messages that came with identifying as a girl or a woman. I think for a long time I ignored my body and tried to hide it, or overcompensated by obsessing with diet and exercise so I could finally be the best version of myself. More recently I’ve been attempting to have a better relationship with my body, food and what is "healthy." What I have learned thus far is the best version of myself was there all along, I just didn't believe in her.
You don't have to look far to see the popular self-help advice that suggests we "learn to love ourselves." I agree. It’s good advice, but how the hell do we do it?
It's not so simple: Here's the thing, we often believe that we do love ourselves, and yet our actions and reactions suggest otherwise. I want to share with you one of my waking up moments because I thought I loved my physical self. Btw, this is a typical scenario that I often see when I am vending at a market. A woman will rush over to my booth and pull a garment off the rack that she has spotted from across the room. She turns to me and starts narrating a story of herself wearing it, talking about how incredible the garment looks and feels. She turns around and catches her reflection in the full-length mirror, holding up the garment - IMMEDIATELY it is no longer about the clothing she fell in love with and the positive feeling she just experienced. It becomes about her arms, waist, thighs, the few extra pounds she all the sudden remembers she wants to lose. I want to go over and clean the mirror to make sure we are both looking at the same woman. All I see is someone who is beautiful, imaginative, likes unique clothing, a complete badass babe.
As I carefully gather up the pieces of shattered self-esteem and try to help her view herself in a different way the feeling of guilt hits me, I do the same thing to myself. And there it is, honesty. Behind closed doors, I was doing the same damn thing to myself. That repeated situation was a big eye-opener, I realized how I had been trained/pressured from society to think beauty and health are size specific and I too was following along blindly not challenging that belief. I, just like this woman was denying myself of happiness, self-love, and space.
Have you ever denied yourself a piece of clothing, snack an outing because your damn self-doubt crickets start chirping away in your head?
You are NOT alone. We've all been there. We all have triggers that transform us from a functioning human into a snarling, snapping dog.
So how do we learn to love our physical selves?
I believe accepting your body, ultimately, is a choice.
I don't think there is a magical roadmap or list of steps, rather, a decision to practice a different way of thinking.
You are more than your appearance.
You are strong, smart, beautiful
no matter what the size tag or scale says.
Diet Culture Dropout
I acknowledge that health is more than physical appearance, for this blog topic it was focused around physical self-love so the post wouldn't be too long. ;)