And I don’t mean like a scene from American Pie. I mean the kind where you actually, truly, like yourself, feel good about your body, and embrace it!
Subversive concept, I know.
Because, like many women, I have moments of not feeling good about myself, and I am talking about not feeling good about my body and how I look.
And I am quite a confident woman. I have a lot of self-love in many aspects in my life (go me). But I too, seem to fall into this trap of thinking and feeling about myself in a certain way.
In fact, the last couple weeks in particular, there has been this lurking shadow of self-doubt. A photo here, a comment there, and with the underlying knowing that yes, currently I am not in the best shape of my life.
Just recently a friend and I were messaging each other about a photo on Facebook. She was saying she wanted to be untagged because she felt that she looked awful and I was saying I hated how my arm looked. Relate?
And with a little holiday coming up, I really started to feel rubbish. Because I knew, well it is one week until the holiday, there is not much I can do now to change the final version overly much. I can keep eating healthily and doing my workouts when I can, but big changes are not going to happen.
Then I decided. Instead of spending the week leading up to my holiday worrying about how I will look in shorts, or my tummy in that dress, or dear lord, the photos!...And the worst part, talking from experience, is actually going on an amazing holiday, but having this constant niggle of not being fully happy with myself and my body, so that I can’t totally enjoy myself. Because, in my opinion, that is the worst thing I can do. That is exactly what I don’t want to be like, or feel like. I am all about embracing every experience and sucking the marrow of life out of it. And believe me, when you’re feeling crappy about how you look, you lose some of that sparkle. Self-consciousness, and walking around not feeling great about your body, is not conducive to loving life.
So as I was saying, I made a decision. I thought, what if I tried something different? What if, instead of the last minute panic and feeling disappointed with myself, I directed my energies instead to a mental and emotional workout? What if, instead of wasting precious moments feeling crappy about myself and putting myself under this pressure, I actually embraced what I am right now, exactly as it, every little bit, good parts, as well as the rest? What if, everyday I practiced some self-love, and practiced feeling good about myself?
Why do we not love our bodies?
The question I’ve started asking myself in just a few days of doing this is, why can’t I feel great about myself right now?
And I’ve been giving it a lot of thought. I guess some of it is just a bad habit we carry around with us. I know a lot of women who have this bad habit. And I’m not going to pontificate about the media and models and unreal expectations…because it doesn’t matter how slim you are, or how tall, or traditionally beautiful, or if you’re a model…
I have met so many gorgeous women who feel rubbish about themselves. In fact, I am not sure if I can name one woman who has total self-love when it comes to their body. And I don’t mean arrogance, because to me that smacks of ingratitude, and is just really quite annoying. I mean real, deep meaningful love and embracing of yourself and your body.
At the end of the day, the only person you need to account to is yourself. We can’t blame everything and everyone else for feeling crappy about ourselves.
Another aspect is that somewhere deep inside I’ve had the belief that I am only able to bring about change in how I look when I feel truly awful about myself, the concept of feeling so awful about myself that I am desperate to do something about it. And I started to think about this. I mean, just reading what I’ve written makes me go WTF?! I am an intelligent, confident, capable woman, where the hell did this buck-f*&k crazy mentality come from? Now that I’m aware of it – it might be time to change it.
If I look at it logically, has this actually worked? Sometimes yes. Clearly though, if the last two years are anything to go by, sometimes no. And that is probably because on some level I am rebelling against this concept that I need to change, that I can’t feel amazing just the way I am. I would like to change, but I should not feel in myself that I need to – if that makes sense.
Radical Self Love
So I intend that any physical change comes from a good place. Not a place where I’m so miserable and spend time almost deliberately berating myself in order to motivate myself. How is this a good value to have, a healthy attitude to bring to life, a useful model of motivation?
No. I don’t want to do it that way anymore. So I am working on it everyday – I am practicing radical self-love. It will take time and a lot of deliberate practice, but eventually like any habit, it will become iterative and ingrained.
I decided that I am responsible for how I feel about myself. I am accountable to me when I look in the mirror. I am accountable not only to the outer package, but to all the inner parts too, the whole shebang! Yes, other people and other influences can affect how we feel, but I am old enough to: A). Deal with it; B). Filter out the nonsense; and C). Choose how I feel about it and what I decide to let into my head and my heart. It is choosing I guess to play a very active role in how I see myself. Because I think some of feeling bad about ourselves is a passive thing, letting other people tell us what is beautiful, letting other people have that power. But isn’t what we think about ourselves the most fundamental thing?
So, I am choosing to feel good about myself. In fact, I am going to work damn hard at not only feeling good about msyelf, but loving myself – ALL OF IT, just as it is right now. It is going to take some work, it is going to take active engagement – deliberately filtering out things that don’t support this view, conscisously stopping negative self-talk and niggling thoughts from creeping in, and choosing to ignore people’s looks or comments. I am going to rebel. I am going to look feeling crappy about my body right in the eye, smile, and say: ‘Fuck you. I’m awesome.’
What’s the worst that could happen?
I love myself? I enjoy myself? I look happy instead of inhibited in my photos? Some turd thinks I look 'crap/fat/not my best' in a photo?
I mean, what am I scared of? Feeling good about myself? Being happy? Not having a constant underlying nagging that I need to change, improve? Feeling truly grateful and embracing my body?
That it will take hard work? The sneaky negative self-talk is hard. Feeling not quite 100% happy unless you are 58Kg, a size 8 and fit into denim hot pants is hard.
I’m going to spin it on its head. I’m going to just love my body. Full stop.