Greetings, and welcome to the first week of September! I’m not ready for fall weather, seasonal activities and having to wear cardigans all the time, so I’m reveling in the warm weather and sunshine-y days we’ve been having over here.
While I’m not ready to say goodbye to the beach for the season, I am ready for a few months’ break from the societal focus on tiny bathing suits, micro skirts and the ridiculous trend that is booty baring jorts… WHAT?!
Every spring we start hearing this call, from all corners, that the only way that you can possibly hope to enjoy yourself this summer is to go on a diet now so you can escape shame when you attempt to fit yourself into whatever is this year’s summer trend. The world around me is buzzing and humming with fad diets and youth-bringing superfoods, and “Top Five Exercises to Lose Weight/Lean and Tone/feel Great in your Bathing Suit/Get Back at Your Ex”. We spend thousands of hours and billions of dollars a year feeling badly about our bodies… We are so much more than this and yet we exhaust ourselves thinking about what we eat, how many calories we burn, how best to stand or sit so we don’t let people see our actual shape. We end the day with a sigh, wishing we had a few more hours to dedicate to changing our bodies, or taking back the food choices of the day.
I know I talk about this stuff all the time. In general Media is a big ugly monster designed to make us feel awful about ourselves to sell products. I work hard to actively fight against those messages, calling them out when I see them, and trying to limit any of that junk in my everyday life. But now that I know the harmful effects those messages have on self-confidence, happiness, productivity and fulfillment, I can’t just sit over here ignoring them! I have to shout the positive messages from whatever rooftop I can find! I have to praise the people calling out media bullies preying on our inferiority complexes. I want to share the beautiful people sharing powerful messages of learning to love their bodies, accept their flaws, and embrace their unique abilities. Mostly I want to make sure that everyone else knows what I know.
That you are more than your body. You are more than the negative things you think when you see yourself in the mirror. You are more than self-doubt, and shame. More than an ideal dress size or the total number of calories consumed each day. We are more than a meal plan and an exercise routine.
So for the next four weeks I’m issuing a challenge.
For the next 28 days I challenge you to find one thing every day that is more important to you than your weight.
Something you value more than how you feel or what you think about your appearance. Identify something every day that brings you joy regardless of how your body looks. If you never reach your ideal weight, loose the post baby bulge, fit back into your skinny jeans, have defined abs, or make all the girls in high school regret ever saying you were fat, what would make you happy, or proud, or put a smile on your face? Own it. Whatever it is that you have prioritized in this life, the thing that makes you fulfilled, your accomplishments, the people you have helped. Maybe your body is your priority and your accomplishment! That’s great too! What else makes you proud to be you?
My goal is never to neglect health. I’m not suggesting we forget making healthy choices, or don’t think about how we feel. I’m not encouraging that we throw realistic expectations to the wind and give up on our goals because society helped to make them.
This is not about thinking less of our bodies, but rather thinking of our bodies less.
To give a little less mental space to the way we look, or think we look, or wish we looked! For the next 28 days I want to remind myself of all of the incredible things about me that have nothing to do with my weight, size or appearance.
I’m learning that if we change our bodies without changing our mindset, we’ve only done half the work. Telling yourself that you’re too big/thin/pudgy/flabby/tall/short/awkward/slow/lazy etc makes it impossible for you to see yourself any other way, regardless of reality. This month let’s flip that around. Let’s learn to appreciate the things that are more valuable than all of that. Reminding ourselves of all the things that are more important than the weight we want to lose or the shape we want to be can only serve to infuse our lives with joy.
Focusing on the beautiful things in our lives elevates them. What you look for you find, so let’s go find some self-doubt busters.
Write them down. Tell them to your friends. Speak them to yourself in the mirror. Share them on social media. Whatever you do, embrace these beautiful things about yourself and let the world know that you are more than your weight, your insecurities, your dress size or how your makeup looks. That something in this life is more important to you than the way you look. That there is something more valuable than trying to make yourself more physically appealing. That you are a complex and beautiful creature, and that beauty is so much more than your body.
Starting tomorrow and until October 5th you can hear all about this challenge, and see my daily post over on my Instagram, www.instagram.com/theaudestcooper ! I’d love to hear from you. #somethingmorechallenge