How do you see yourself?
I’m realizing that this has become a hot topic on social media. And while I’m really happy about that, it’s something that ultimately needs to come from ourselves.
I’m really glad to see celebrities, influencers, and people just deciding to be real about their bodies and not be the photoshopped model all the time. They stand up and declare that normal bodies need to be normalized.
Finding evidence for how backwards our society is isn’t hard. The people who do declare their body as normal get so much hate. Not only is our worth only in our physical appearance, but we assume that everyone’s physical appearances need to look the same way. That everyone’s attracted to the same thing.
Personally, I struggled with hating my body for as long as I could remember.
From the time I was six or seven, everything I did revolved around my body.
Before I allowed myself to eat, I’d ask myself if I deserved it.
When it was time to get dressed, I would criticize my body size.
Before I would go out with friends, I would do whatever I could to make myself look as slim as possible to be as attractive as possible, or to look as invisible as possible. So that way, I wouldn’t be the fat friend.
When I got pregnant with my son, it only got worse. When my body looked like pregnant, I didn’t like how it felt. And honestly, I would have nightmares of what would happen to my body after he was born. I became obsessively worried because when I got pregnant, I was already overweight, and had some saggy skin.
The terror I experienced every time I imagined my body after pregnancy made me physically sick.
Those nightmares came true.
I was bigger and my stomach sagged. My hips were a little wider, and my body carries weight differently. I didn’t know how to handle this new body and frankly I hated it.
I hated it with everything in my being. It wasn’t until about a year ago, when my son was five, but I finally began to see the beauty in it.
No one ever talks about this, but hating your body takes so much energy.
And I am not just talking about mental exhaustion here.
Every thought you have uses caloric energy.
It literally burns calories just to think a thought. So if it’s always in the back of your mind that you hate your body, you hate yourself, you hate X, Y and Z, you’re taking energy away from other things and pouring a lot of energy into that hatred.
But the thing here is it’s possible to change that.
What a lot of people don’t realize is that when you love your body, you don’t have to love every part of your body all the time.
I certainly don’t.
But I know that my body has done so many amazing things for me, I can’t help but be grateful for it.
This was also something that was really hard for me because I not only am I a mom, not only did I struggle with body image growing up, but I also have chronic illness.
On top of hating how my body looked as a teenager, I hated how it felt. I blamed it all on my weight, as did most doctors. At 17 I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia and arthritis. Suddenly everything made sense.
That was why it was painful to get out of bed. That’s why I was so so fatigued all the time. That’s why I felt like I had no motivation. However, no one told me any of that. Doctors told me I was lazy. They told my mom she was too soft on me.
So even after my diagnosis, I hated my body.
When I started to wake up to the fact that I could be grateful for it I didn’t really know what to do. I felt like I didn’t have anything to be grateful for regarding my body because it was legitimately attacking itself. It wasn’t happy the way it was, no matter what I did.
I felt like, even even though I manage it with diet and exercise, I felt like I still didn’t have anything to really thank it for.
Because I had to work so hard. I had to work so hard to feel okay. I didn’t feel good. And I was like, Okay, well, what, what do I have to thank my body for? Even if I don’t hate how it looks, I don’t like how it feels. I don’t like it here.
But the fact of the matter is that my body was my home.
My body was my home and my responsibility. And I could do one of two things with my home.
I could absolutely hate it and could leave garbage everywhere.
I could leave dishes piling in the sink and could leave moldy food on the table.
Things could get worse and worse and I could leave it that way.
Or I could accept that my home is a fixer upper. But it’s still beautiful.
When I have to get centered and stop hating my body, I visualize an old lady version of me dusting things off, taking out the garbage, sweeping the floor, wiping off cobwebs.
I purposefully visualize this, because I want it to be an act of keeping my home clean, I want it to be an act of constantly growing and taking care of myself. And the fact of the matter is when you clean the house once it’s going to end up getting a bit dirty again.
There are going to be times where it gets dirtier than usual.
There are going to be times when unwelcome guests come over and they slip in your mind rent free. And then you have to not only force them out but also clean up after them.
This analogy helps keep me centered and grounded.
Because when I see my house getting dirty, that’s when the symptoms expose themselves.
They expose themselves as negative self talk.
As: “I’m a failure.”
When I say I hate my body.
Through comments saying I’m making myself fat and no one’s ever gonna want me.
They expose themselves as “No wonder you’re single, you’re so ugly, no one’s gonna want you.”
When those things start to come up in my brain, I know it’s time to clean house. And cleaning house doesn’t always take 10 minutes. If you keep up on it, you know, 10 minutes every day. Yes.
But every once in a while, it’s going to need a deep cleaning. And when those symptoms of a dirty house expose themselves, that’s when I sit down and I pull out my journal. I begin to focus on all the things my body has done for me.
This is just so important. Especially as women we have so many standards pressed on us.
We’re criticized for being too big or too small.
We’re criticized if our boobs are too big or too small or our butts too big or too small. And now thick is this new thing which is like you’re curvier but you’re not you’re not too fat. Like there’s so many standards and there’s so many names for these standards.
It’s ridiculous. It’s absolutely ridiculous. Loving your body is loving your home. Even if you don’t love your body all the time, you can still love it.
If you don’t like the way your house creaks when you walk across the floor, if you don’t like the color on the walls, that’s ok. Even if you don’t really like the furniture that you picked out, it’s still your home. It’s the thing you live in.
The difference between an actual home and your body is you can’t leave your body. You can’t leave your home.
This is the thing you’re in all the time, so why not learn to love it?
Your body is beautiful, wonderful and absolutely amazing. And your body is your home. Now with that being your home if you want to renovate and change it, that’s okay.
My body right now, I love it. I think it’s sexy. I love my curves.
Do I love the way my stomach sags? No.
Do I like my double chin? No.
Do I like how I look when I’m bloated and I feel like an overfull water balloon? No.
But I still love my body. However, I do want to be a bodybuilder, which means the body is going to change, it means that I’m going to lose a lot of fat and the size is going to change and the shape is going to change.
I’m gonna have lots of muscles. And I’m probably going to have skin removal surgery for the extra skin from that happens with extreme weight loss.
Does that mean I love my body any less? No.
I’m allowed to do to my body what I want, because it’s my home and I can decorate it however I want to. I’m allowed to renovate and do what I want with it.
Is everybody going to like how I renovate my house? No.
Is everyone gonna like how I color the walls? No.
And that’s okay.
This is my house. I’m the one living here I am the one in charge of the house.
I am allowed to have crazy hair and tattoos on my ever changing body.
I’m allowed to have a smaller body or a bigger body.
I’m allowed to have a soft body or a hard muscular body.
I am allowed to have loose skin or to not have loose skin. I am allowed to do whatever I want with my body.
How cool is that?!
I love my body every single step of the way.
And I just think that’s freaking amazing.
I need you to hear me right now. You are beautiful. And your body is amazing. You’re not only allowed to love your body, you’re encouraged to.
You don’t have to wake up and leave the curtains shut and hate your body and try to hide it. You’re allowed to appreciate the sunlight, you are allowed to paint the walls.
You’re allowed to appreciate your body however you want to.
I know it’s not easy, but it’s possible. You deserve to love your body.
Take it one day at a time. You’ve got this, boo!