Have you ever looked back at a picture of yourself from a few years ago and thought, “I looked good.” But you know that at the time you thought you weren’t good enough. The day of the picture you told yourself you had a bad hair day, thick arms, or weight to lose. We get caught up in body shaming ourselves in little ways, never really thinking we are good enough at the time.
I selected the picture here at random. It’s from 2014 or earlier. This is an example of a picture that I see now and think I look fine, but at the time I thought I had all sorts of ways to improve myself. Now, when I catch myself thinking I don’t look good, I try to look at myself from the perspective of Maggie from five years from now. I’m pretty sure she’s thinking I look great.
Sharing What’s Good
Not long ago I read an article about how women meet up with friends and complain about themselves. They never show up and say, “I look great today,” or “I’m having a great hair day.” Part of that is societal. We are taught to be humble so it would be odd for anyone (man or woman) to arrive anywhere and announce how sexy and incredible they are. Still, I wonder if it might be worthwhile the next time you are gathered with friends to go around and say one physical attribute you are happy with. Everyone participates so it feels a little more normal. Or, admit to an attribute you don’t like, but make a point of coming up with something good to say about that frustrating part.
I never liked my legs. They are short and stocky. A couple years ago, I decided to change my outlook on my legs. When I caught myself thinking about my distain for them, I just started telling myself they were strong and took me up mountains and enabled me to run a marathon without training. My legs haven’t changed, but my perspective has. I don’t dislike them anymore. I’m still working on my relationship with my arms. It doesn’t all have to come at once.
What Truly Matters
But here is what we need to know most of all: the size of our waist, the color of our hair, the wrinkles on our skin—these are not the things that make us loveable. Our attitude, our courage, our strength, resilience, friendships—these are the traits that make us worthwhile. The other stuff is the vessel that gets us where we want to go.
We must care for that vessel and treat it well. Trying to feed it and move it in healthy ways in important, but we also need to love it in all it’s shapes, sizes, and changes because it is in part what enables us to be the friend, the teacher, the lover, the parent, or whatever role we fill. Our bodies do that for us. We need to realize all they do and how incredible that makes them right now. To do that we need them to be healthy. They do not need to be unattainably perfect.
We don’t need to be thinner for the sake of being thinner. We don’t need to be more toned for the sake of it. Our bodies need to be healthy to enable us to do the activities we need and want to do. Stop body shaming yourself. Your body is good enough today as is. In five years you are going to see that. Maybe it’s time to notice today. Maybe even tell a friend.
I went swimming and a young girl though I needed to lose weight.
Some tips for healthier eating (to help keep that vessel in it’s best form without body shaming yourself).
Got a bunion that hurts? What might help? Click here.
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