How I Quit Body Shaming Myself
I can remember in junior high loathing being on the IBTC (itty bitty titty committee), because my friends made sure I was aware of my membership. But I also was nicknamed Shakira, and praised for being blessed with such a behind. Up until then I wasn't really aware that my body had any "flaws". It just was what it was. But now, the size and shape of things all of a sudden mattered.
Sadly, it is starting at a younger age than junior high for most girls. We are finding our identity and self worth too much in what people say about us. We are forced to believe that our body defines us. We think it tells the world who we are. That if I have it all on the outside, then I'll snag that dream date. I will look more like a successful woman. A powerful woman. More people will like me. And unfortunately we believe looking a certain way will make us feel more complete.
I wish I were lying when I say that I struggled with my body image up until recently. But I am always honest on here, and the truth is I had a hard time loving myself on the outside. And after I had babies, that was a whole new level of oh sh*t. No one prepared me for what would happen to my body post pregnancy. My husband was always extremely verbal about how much he loved me and my body in every stage of our marriage and my physical changes. However, I always brushed it off as something he "had" to say or else he knew I would be pissed. Like the commercials where the wife always asks the husband how she looks in the dress, and he glances at the camera like its awful but then looks back at his wife lovingly with a "It looks great honey!" trying to avoid the shoe to the head or an argument.
But then our daughter came into the picture. I realized I was putting on a show for her so that she would grow up with a high self confidence. Meanwhile, still body shaming myself in my own head. That's when I realized, If I am teaching her to love her body, then why shouldn't I. I was teaching her to be proud of what her body could do, instead of what it looks like. And thats what we should all be doing. Be grateful of how amazing our bodies are and what they can accomplish. For me it was nursing two beautiful babies. I may have lost a cups size or two, but hey how awesome is it that I was able to do that for them. I am able to run around with them. Pushing limits with my body when I go to the gym. Running a business. Heck walking right? We take the simple movements of our body for granted.
The second thing I did was become aware of negative self talk. What you say is what you believe. When you continuously tell yourself and everyone around you you're just really shy, how do you think you and they are going to expect you to act. Shy. Because you have convinced yourself and everyone else that that is what you are. And frankly people will get tired of arguing with you trying to convince you otherwise about the subject. The most powerful thing I have done is become more aware of my thoughts. As soon as I think it, I pause and think about if what I am thinking is actually true or if I am just being negative about myself. If the thought doesn't serve me in a positive way then I move on. I usually try to think of one positive thing about myself instead. This gets easier with time. The more you do a habit the more it becomes natural. And hey, remind yourself that the reason your perfect selfie friend, is most likely using an app to make her face a little more airbrushed and her teeth a little whiter.
The biggest benefactor to my wellness in my own body image was realizing that I was trying to find my identity in other things outside of God. When I would love the inside of me and be rooted in Him. Then I was harder to break. I love this quote I saw from Blessed Is She, it said, "Seek to recognize the beauty that God sees in you." He made me. Like from the freckle on my face to the types of toenails I have, he beautiful designed me. And to put myself down, would be disrespecting His work essentially. Like he didn't know what he was doing or something. When obviously he made us in His image. So how can we deny what he says he has done for us, over a muffin top.
I don't participate in group conversations of putting each other down. For whatever reason women find common interest in complaining about different body parts they all have. "Oh I hate my legs, they are so skinny.". Yada yada yada. Why do we do that?! Why do we pinpoint something "wrong" with our bodies to make conversation. How about celebrating what it does look like instead. And if all you have in common or the only conversation you can make is a negative one about each other's body image, then the real thing to evaluate here is your friendship and if it is a healthy, deep or productive one.
Treat your body kindly. We are only given one. And if you have little ears around you, they are taking in what their momma does. They get their idea of self worth from you. And social media isn't making the fight any easier. Focus on the things you love, not the things you hate. And if you have a husband and he loves you, then he LOVES YOU. All we can do is be aware of how we are trading our body. If we are feeding it healthy foods. If we are exercising a little bit. If we are giving it the nutrients it needs to thrive. If we are enjoying life. I eat ice cream by the pint sometimes. But breakfast lunch and dinner is most likely a healthy meal. I don't stress about the junk I do eat, because I know that ultimately I am taking care of my body and treating it every now and then provides good balance.
Lets stop body shaming ourselves. Body shaming is bullying.
By the way I'm pretty sure Mother Teresa didn't walk around stressing over the lack of a thigh gap, she was too bust making things happen.