WARNING: Reflections in this mirror may be distorted by socially constructed ideas of beauty.
So the other day, I was looking at my reflection and I made the realization that there’s nothing – NOTHING – wrong with my body! I had an intense wave of love and appreciation for my body. Yes, I’m “over weight” but I’m not unhealthy. Yes, I can be more healthy, but I’m working on it! I eat healthy 90% of the time, I’m physically active, and I get good sleep. I have cellulite – as do 80-90% of women! And almost 70% of women are over weight or obese.
So why do many of us have to deal with hateful comments, bullying, and shaming?
Because society dictates what is acceptable. It has constructed this arbitrary image of slim but curvy married to Mr 6-pack earning a six figure income, living in a beautiful home, driving an expensive vehicle, with 2.5 children. Seriously – where did 2.5 children come from. Yeah, I know it’s an average, but still. Pick 2 or 3.
This image of the “ideal life” is highly unrealistic and extremely damaging to those of us who fall short of this image.
And it’s not just women who deal with an unrealistic body image. Men deal with the image of “6-pack, bulging biceps, rippling pectorals” to be desirable. My husband has dealt with poor body image for years – decades! – because he didn’t fit that image. He has the opposite problem, though. He’s very slender and has a hard time gaining weight and specifically muscle. He’s finally realized that adding 20-30 lbs of muscle onto his 6’4″ frame. His workouts have changed to match his new goals.
Men deal with cellulite and stretch marks but not as frequently as women. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I post a photo of myself on IG, I always get nervous – the more skin, the more anxiety. As much as I say there’s nothing wrong with my body, I know many others don’t feel the same.
And THAT’S why it’s important to post the pics! Because SO many people believe that cellulite is bad – that their body is wrong. There’s SO many things that are natural that we just need to accept and embrace. Yes, if something can be changed, by all means, try to improve it if it’s going to improve your wellbeing but there has to come a time when you need to accept that it just won’t change. Then, for your wellbeing, stop stressing over it!
I have a few things I dislike about my body and there’s absolutely NOTHING I can do about it. One is my knees – yeah I know. Weird! And the other is my ankles – or cankles. But I know that even when I was competing, I still disliked my knees and my cankles were still there. Yes, less, but not gone. So what am I supposed to do? Hate these random parts of my body? No, because it’s how I’m built.
Stop stressing over what you can’t change. Embrace your body and start living life on your terms!