When was the last time you stood stark naked in front of the mirror and appreciated your body, flaws and all?
There’s a scene in the movie “Mean Girls” where the three popular girls stood in front of the mirror and pointed out their self-perceived flaws, while the new girl watched in wonder and finally said, “I have bad breath in the morning.”
We all grew up in a culture with a set of standards for beauty. Those standards may vary from culture to culture, but they’re there and we are measured against them from the day we’re born. Were you a chubby baby? Did you have a full head of hair? Was your skin dark or light? Someone always had something to say about us, and soon we did, too.
Loving our bodies is part of selfcare, but it starts with dealing with our attitudes and perceptions. Change comes from within.
I have always been chubby, and I grew up being reminded of it from being warned not to wear horizontal stripes or told to suck in my tummy in photographs. From childhood to adolescence to my teenage years and even as an adult (though, suddenly, people were more tactful about it), people have commented on my size.
It taught me to have an attitude. Tough on the outside: I don’t care what you say or thing, I’ll do what I’ll do because I love who I am. But struggling on the inside because I want to be thinner, leaner, and healthier. But whatever I did eventually backfired. I lost weight through a program or diet, but then gained it back with interest.
Something snapped inside, or maybe clicked into place. I realized and then committed to get healthier inside first. To work on being happy, more compassionate, and less angry. To start letting go of the things and the mindsets that were killing me. To really love who I am and to better my overall health.
I called it healing. Just about every of my life (not just with my weight) needed healing and I worked towards it. It involved a ton of selfcare practices that helped me deal with the things inside: issues that affected my heart, soul, and spirit. It was when I started to heal inside that I saw lasting results outside, not just with losing weight but with better skin, more energy, and an openness and kindness to the world.
Loving your body starts with confronting the lies that have been thrown at you and you might have believed. It is accepting and loving the body you’re in. It is acknowledging the changes you need to make to move towards a healthier lifestyle, but also realizing that if you had died yesterday with the body you have today, you have lived a happy and satisfied life.
Remember, you were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). Every inch of you was crafted with care by a loving and all-knowing Father. We all have challenges with our bodies (ie: I’ve got really bad asthma. Yesterday, I had to use my emergency inhaler 4 times). That doesn’t mean our body is less than somebody else’s or it’s a failure of a body. It means, we’re given challenges to rise above so we encourage others to do the same.