To Thine Own Self Be True

happy-weight-hear2962This month’s SELF magazine, which focuses on the notion of finding your “happy weight,” has a great quote about body acceptance that I shared a couple weeks ago.

“Life is far too rich, interesting and short to waste on hating your body.”

I re-read the magazine in its entirety last night at the gym … and seeing that quote again just reinforced the message of really loving yourself as you are … hard as it may be for me (and so many of us) some days.

As I read, I found myself drawn in particular to two articles.

The first one (which I can’t find online) features six nude (but modestly/strategically covered up — it’s not pornographic or sexual at all) women of all different shapes, races and body types.

As I looked at each woman’s shape, I was able to see a bit of myself in each of them … in spite of their own variance.

But instead of dissecting my body and criticizing it like I might ordinarily do, while sweating it out on the Precor, I rather found myself thinking positive thoughts such as:

“Wow, my derriere is lifted, firm and toned, just like hers,” and, looking at a different woman, “my belly curves just like hers, and that little pooch is cute, not a problem-spot” and “hey, my legs are thick and strong like hers but look at how graceful she carries herself”

The things I might have previously deemed as flaws on me seemed … beautiful, empowering, strong … on these women. It was pure admiration — not self-admonition … And I think it was very neccesary for me to experience last night, in particular, after such a bad body image day.

The second article focuses on learning to love your body and the negative behavior so many women engage in called “body bashing”

The article talks about changing our thinking about our bodies so we can change our behaviors (poking our tummies, staring in the mirrors, asking our friends or significant others “do I look fat?” and other annoying habits so many women do).

I am guilty of so many of these things … and it’s not pleasant … not for me, not for my loved ones or my friends … the more I see it spelled out, the more I realize the need to change my thinking. Just like with anxiety and the CBT methods I’ve learned with Dr. G., … I need to apply them here to body image as well.

So what if I take small steps forward and then a little bump in the road, and a pebble, if you will, throws me off? I don’t give up.

I know myself — I will keep on trying because I do want to get to that healthy place– physically/mentally/emotionally where I love myself and my body exactly as I am. Not 10 lbs from now … but here in this very moment … now.

How about you? Do you love yourself exactly as you are? How did you get there — was it a struggle, or something you just felt?

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15 thoughts on “To Thine Own Self Be True

  1. I still have days where I don’t love myself or my body, and then I’ll have days where I feel so healthy and strong. It has been such a struggle just to get here though, that honestly, even the days I’m not appreciative of my body, I still am so elated to not feel weak, and sick anymore. But I am a HUGE advocate of stomping out “fat talk.” Whenever I hear my friends or anyone around me getting that way, I am quick to contradict. NO ONE should ever be down on themselves, it can only lead to more and more lowered self esteem. I believe that being down about what’s on the outside affects us more than we could ever know.

  2. I don’t know if I’ll ever love myself exactly as I am, but I DO try to focus on the good parts…wow, I can see definition in my quad muscle…I’m having a great hair day…my arms are getting stronger…my flexibility is improving. You’ve got to focus on the positive. Life is too short. Negative thinking will only bring you and everyone else around you down.

    Now go strut that toned and lifted derriere around. Make us proud. 🙂

  3. I had gotten to the point of loving myself as I was, and being proud of it. Now I’m struggling to do that. It’s going to take a lot of work and dedication to get back the unconditional love for myself and my body.Thats on of the last parts of my Ed that won’t let go-my self hatred towards my body.

  4. Jenn, I so know what you mean. Every day is a different sentiment. But I love how you say how empowered you feel to NOT be sick; that is awesome! I agree; I don’t like”fat talk” either, ESP when it’s skinny people doing the talking. It makes everyone feel self-conscious, even if we have no reason to feel that way!! I tend to do the most “fat talk” w/ family and my hubby — none of whom appreciate it!! So I’ve stopped a lot. It’s hurtful … and it’s like screaming for attention … but it’s hard, too.

    Exactly, Heather — focusing on the good parts. 🙂 So true! LOL — I will remember that today!! I always hated my butt b/c it was always “so big” but now I look at my backside the way my hubby sees it –as a total asset — not at all something to be ashamed of. I work hard for this booty 😉

    Sarah, I think that’s just it, it takes time. So long as there are more positive days than negative, I think we’re in the right direction.

    One interesting thing to note in the story was the therapist said body-loathing is usually a cover for something else going on … something we can’t control in our lives, so we “take it out” on our body. I think there’s merit to that.

  5. Hey~
    It’s been a while since I have commented, but I have been reading. I am really guilty of all of these, and definately do notlove my own body. I am struggling so much with this especially in the recent weeks — I have experienced a bit of a relapse.
    I have started my own recovery blog which is helping a bit in talking through issues and others commenting and giving me support, though it is just starting. I am hoping the optimism and advise of others will help me to overcome some of these issues.
    Anyways, just really wanted to say hey and that i am still here!

  6. Hey Sheena, nice to “see” you! I was wondering if you were here or not. I took a look at your blog — good for you!!!

  7. I’ve recently noticed I started looking at other women’s bodies differently too, and I know that has something to do with me being more accepting of my body. It’s not that I’d think specific negative thoughts about them, but my thinking was more polarized. I saw bodies as being heavy or thin. Now I see a much broader spectrum of “healthy” and appreciate the subtle differences our bodies have.

    I think noticing those thoughts you had while reading Self is a huge step forward. I’m going to keep an eye out for the magazine and pick it up if I see it!

  8. Hey Kristen, congrats on your realization too! I totally hope that is a sign of being more accepting. It’s so true — it isn’t “fat” or “skinny” but rather a wide range and knowing that somehow makes it seem like less of a struggle. It’s the magazine with Isla Fischer on the cover — Feb 2009 🙂

  9. I think at times I’m really happy about my weight and I love eating to my heart’s content.. but then i have those days and i’ll be like i wish i wasn’t so squishy. it still is a constant struggle. sad day. but we must continue on and… like you said… never give up!

  10. I started reading the same magazine on the train this morning! I was thinking a lot of the same thoughts as you mentioned above. I do have a hard time loving my body most days. I tend to always think my tummy is too fat but I do like the rest of me. I need to learn to accept it and be happy for what it is. I am also guilty of complaining to my boyfriend that I look fat. Not good!

  11. Grace, that’s exactly it — a constant struggle. Yup — never give up! This ship will keep on sailing … fair winds or following seas!

    Too funny Missy — isn’t it awesome? My husband SO wishes I loved my body like he does. Sometimes I think we see different things in the mirror!

    That said, I am lucky b/c he fell in love with me at my absolute heaviest and thought I was beautiful then … so it’s not like I worry about him not liking what he sees: he loves me no matter what. *I* just don’t like being a “B” student and at this weight, I’m a “B” student.

    And yea, men HATE it when women bitch about their bodies. My brother has told me that on many an occassion 😉

  12. there are some days that are still hard. but it took two hospital stays and more support than you could imagine to be where i am. i’m getting more and more comfortable everyday eating and enjoying it wholly as an experience. i’m getting so comfortable with the natural weight my body is, and it feels more liberating than you could imagine.

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