Sometimes when I’m planning for the upcoming post, I get a bit mentally blocked. I think of all the things we’ve talked about, from what you can achieve in ten minutes to failed truffles and what they teach us about life and from self-talk to things I’ve learned from my husband. I think of what I’ve been learning recently, the experts teaching me through their books and podcasts. The holidays or days of celebration coming up soon are always on my mind as something to that would warrant a discussion. I think about what you might be needing, what people in my life are struggling with, the challenges that have been most present in the lives intersecting mine. This line of thinking sometimes takes me to the blogosphere or social media at large, looking for folks asking questions about which I might just have a new perspective.
While I greatly enjoy the celebration of Thanksgiving, and we could (and may yet) spend the whole month talking about the various elements of the holiday, none of those discussions felt as important or relevant as the most talked about concern I found in my social media search.
Overwhelmingly, across the board, people were talking about changing their bodies. Which sure, on social media that’s to be expected. But what about in podcasts? Conversation with the girls at work? Radio talk shows, TV shows, chats with the barista at the coffee shop… People are spending their energy talking about, thinking about, problem solving, planning, hating, reworking their bodies.
In September I spent three weeks talking about things other than my body, things I liked about myself, the things that drive me and excite me and bring me joy. I was encouraging and challenging us to divert energy from hatred and disdain for our bodies to respect and love for us as people. I still stand by that idea. The best thing we can do to overcome our appearance based culture is to spend less time thinking about the bodies we tote around this world, and more time appreciating the things that body houses.
While I wish we could all just forget about our physical hang ups and the things we wish we could change, I realize that the journey to physical self-acceptance is an arduous one, and while the change in perspective can change in a moment, the engrained thought patterns take a mighty effort to correct.
We’ve been here before. We’ve talked about this. I spent three weeks of September sharing things that were more valuable to me than the way I looked or thought I look. If you want to read that click here. I’m not going to serve last month’s post and call it new, but I want to keep talking about this idea. The idea that you are so much more than your body, and life will change if you change your mind about the way you look. I sound like a broken record to myself, but sometimes we need to hear a message one more time in a slightly different way, while we’re in a different place, and our minds are slightly more open before we start to embrace the truth.
You can change your body. You can invest in that and use your thoughts on it. That’s beautiful. It’s important. If it’s your goal and the process makes you happy, I heartily encourage you to keep at it! You can do your hair and your makeup and look completely different when you leave the house than when you are staying home. Again if the process makes you happy and you are more able to share your joy and passion and creativity and purpose that way, I applaud you.
If however, your attempts at making yourself look more attractive are motivated by other people, your own negative thoughts about yourself, something someone said once about how tired you looked without concealer, I want you to think about what it means for your life. What are you saying ‘no’ to when you obsess about the way you look in a bathing suit? What do you not have time for because you are busy counting calories of foods that you know are healthy enough that you could eat the whole bag? Are there things that you didn’t buy because someone said it wasn’t your color? What have the jiggly bits under your arms kept you from doing?
Alternately, what would life look like for you if you were to decide that your body was good enough for you to use it for whatever you wanted? What would you have time to do it you decided that wearing a full face of makeup every day didn’t make you happy? There is a definite chance that without the pressure, occupation and stress of thinking about your body all the time, you would find freedom. You may find a sweetness you didn’t know your life had. You might be excited about shopping and dressing again. Maybe you’ll feel lighter and more calm. Maybe you’ll have the confidence to try something you’ve never tried before, and find your new favorite thing.
When I decided to wear what I liked and found inspiring and joyful, instead of what my friends thought was cool, I discovered my personality. Erasing the daily thoughts of what other people would think of the way I looked let me use that mental power for other things. I can see others with empathy, wonder at the world around me, and enjoy the little pleasures in life so much more now that I have decided to dress strictly based on what I think looks good, and embrace the way those clothes make my body look.
I don’t have all the answers. Heck, I don’t think I even have half the answers about this topic alone, but I do know that more beautiful things wait on the other side of accepting, loving and embracing your body. So don’t waste another day hating your body. Find a way to appreciate even little things about it. Listen to someone who wants the features you have, because I guarantee they’re out there. Decide that you, the real you, the inside you, are more important than feeling bad about your body.
You know you are. ❤