It’s summer. Do you want to know what that means? We’re going to hear a ton of messages about our bodies. Some of those messages will be very positive. They will tell us our bodies are beautiful and strong. Some will offer guidance on how to get our bodies in better condition. Some will be totally offensive making anyone who doesn’t have a perfectly airbrushed body think that they are not worthy of sun.
Regardless, everyone will have an opinion about bodies.
So, here’s mine.
When I look in the mirror and see my smallish body, with a stomach covered in stretch marks, and legs that won’t show muscle no matter how I hard I work out-I don’t feel all that positive. Actually, let me rephrase that, I don’t think to myself “I love my body.”
I love that I am strong and I feel grateful when I can carry all of the groceries in the house in one trip. I love that I can run with the kids on my back and that I can hike in nature for a long time. I feel badass when I do push ups and I wouldn’t be able to write a single word if it weren’t for running (that’s where I get my inspiration). That’s all great, but it doesn’t equate to me looking in the mirror and thinking to myself “Man, I’ve got a banging body!”
Maybe this is because I lack confidence? Maybe it’s because of years and years of the messages telling me that I need to have a perfect body? Or, maybe it’s the truth? I literally do not love my body. The same way that I don’t love carpool line and work meetings.
Here’s the thing, I don’t have to love my body to love myself. I am tired of being brainwashed into thinking that I do. You know? I love my husband and children with all of my heart and soul. But, do I love it when Drew chews his food right into my ear while I am working? No. Do I love it when Kate picks her nose or when Max makes that angry sound every time I ask him to do the smallest of things? No. Does that interfere with my overall love for them? No. Not at all.
You see? We are too focused on the wrong thing.
I recently saw a quote that said something like if we were as focused on tweaking our souls, fine tuning our minds, and nourishing our relationships as much as we were with our bodies we would be a whole lot happier. Exactly. If we poured the same amount of time, money, and effort into ending hunger as we pour into how to diet without feeling hungry I am confident that we could solve all of the worlds problems (and then some).
I’m over it! I am over thinking about the shape of my body. I am over listening to the messages about body image. I am over trying to love my body enough to love and accept who I am. I am over the diets, the workouts, the outfits. All of it!!! It just isn’t going to be the thing that makes me the most happy. My body shape won’t set me free. My waist size won’t grow my relationships.
So, if you are looking in the mirror and telling yourself that if you were only skinnier, or if your body were only fitter, or if you looked better you would love yourself more-you are lying. A certain body does not make you happy. The shape of your body is completely irrelevant. Or, at least it should be.
Go look outside. (Like right now). Walk over to a window and look up at the sky and down at the grass. Look at those trees, weeds filling in between the concrete, the flowers, the garden. Notice the shapes. You see how everything is completely different? No blade of grass is the same. No leaf is exactly the same as the next. No cloud is shaped perfectly. Are you thinking “well, if that leaf were just a little thinner, the whole tree would look better?” No. Because that would sound insane. There is no “right” one. They all serve their purpose which is a vital part of what keeps them alive and thriving.
Contrary to popular belief, you are actually not what you eat. You will never wake up one day and be a slice of pizza, or a donut, or even that kale salad. However, you are exactly what you think. And, if you think you are lousy, ugly, and worthless then how you appear outwardly? How will you show up for yourself?
You are meant to look like exactly what you look like. Including every single scar, flaw, weird mole thingy, lazy eye, gray eyebrow, pimple, and dimple. It is what makes you unique. You don’t have to love that piece to love yourself. Instead, you can give your soul a nice warm hug and give your mind peace from the constant scrutiny.
When I look in the mirror I have to learn to look past the skin, bones, muscle, and fat. I have to learn to look beyond the shape of my face, stomach, and legs. I have to look deep into my heart. I have to love my inner self. And as a result I am softer, kinder, more respectful, and I take care of myself, the earth, and others.
Our bodies are the form in which we live. They are the house for our function. The body is completely separate from your inner self; your being. When you think about it this way it will start to make sense. Stop hiding behind your body. Look right on past that shell. Look deep into your soul and let your heart shine through. That’s where the answer lies, where the happiness comes from, and where you’ll find that beauty you’ve been searching for.