If you own your flaw, you own your life – Nadia Addesi
No one can condition me to be less attractive than I feel. I know that what’s inside of me is more beautiful than any physical trait could ever be – J Yamagucci
A few years ago, if someone asked me how I truly felt about my body, I would simply say, “I don’t like it”. Most times, I have struggled with self-love and acceptance when it comes to my body. It is like what you will call a love-hate relationship. One day I am gushing about how beautiful my body is, and the next day, I am painfully rehearsing everything that could be wrong with my body.
It is no secret that I am not the size I was in high school; my hips have grown wider and my arms bigger, my thighs have started getting caught in my Jeans when I put them on. I mentally cut short my dream of modeling because I made myself believe that my body did not fit into that path any longer. Then I began my body positivity journey, and it didn’t take long before I started loving the arch in my back, the size of my legs, the build of my arms, my curves, stretch marks, and all my imperfections because they all tell the story of a growing woman. For so long, I had held my body to societal standards of beauty, pressuring it to be something that it was not.
My body positivity journey had and has continued to be one heck of a rollercoaster ride. It has taken a lot of unlearning, learning, and relearning. Learning that my self-worth should be based on how I feel, rather than what people think, that my body does not define who I am or what I am capable of, and that no amount of tape or scale can measure the greatness within me.
The idea that it is not okay to love your body started when I was young, as we were unconsciously conditioned from that age to have a certain opinion on what is acceptable for a woman and how we ought to look. We played with the disproportionate Barbie doll and thumbed through highly altered magazine covers, which can be likened to the present day scrolling through Instagram pages with the distorted ideal body goals. These taught us that we were not good enough the way we were, but it didn’t end there. Other people reinforced that message that we shouldn’t love our bodies, that it’s too big for a bathing suit unless we take that crash diet course or live in the gym. Some have said it directly while the others taught us by their action.
We might have heard the obvious put-downs from family. “Girl, you’ve gained some weight, haven’t you?” Or we heard others laugh at us because our legs jiggled when we walked. We learned in the reminder that we needed to work for that summer body; I hate that we had to deal with any of that.
However, I have a message for you today. One that I pray will sink in, give you hope, empower you, and strengthen you in your fight to celebrate and love your body. The standard for what body type is ‘acceptable’ will change a hundred more times in your lifetime. The pressure will always be thrown on you to ‘measure up’. It will be up to you to fight it. And while that is not okay, it is the current reality. It is time you stop believing these ridiculous ideas that the number on the scale somehow measures your worth. The number on the scale is irrelevant to your worth as a person and your value to this world.
A tip that has worked for me is one I learned from Nadia Addesi, who is an amazing therapist on self-love. She teaches that every time you find yourself upset or down about a specific part of your body. Ask yourself this simple question,
“What has that body part done for me?”
If you look in the mirror and you’re mad at your stomach for being too big or round. Angry at your legs/arm for being thick. I want you to ask,
“What has that body part done for me and how can I say thank you?”
“Thank you to my stomach for telling me when I’m full, when I’m hungry, when I’m having an upset, or even when I should go to the doctor” Thank you to my legs for bringing me from point A to point B or helping me in a sport that I love.
Research has shown that by shifting our perspective from doing something so negative to showing appreciation, we can increase our confidence and decrease our stress and the next time it (self-loathe) comes around, our automatic thought won’t be so negative.
I know that shifting your beliefs about your body is hard work, but it must be done. It is time to screw the standards of beauty imposed on you and decide for yourself that you are beautiful.
It is time to love your body. You deserve your acceptance.
Your Fellow Woman
Ememabasi Udoinyang is a Meditator🧘🏾♀️| Book Lover| and Obsessed with chips
Image credit – Sharon McCutcheon Unsplash