Today I was inspired by a beautiful post from the Militant Baker, one of my favorite bloggers who relentlessly calls out the ways our society enables self-hate and body shaming. The post is titled This Year Love the Mirror and features what 29 people say about the importance of self-love.
It has been a challenging year for me. I decided to truly give up a restrictive lifestyle and to abandon my identity as the "fit, thin girl." Gaining weight had always meant failure in my mind, so to finally be OK with it is something I still struggle with. Accepting my body as it's going to be (without forcing it through rigorous exercise and calorie counting) is the hardest part of this journey - but I feel like it is the only way to finally present the real me to this world. It almost feels like I am redefining my entire identity.
This article reminded me that this is something that almost everyone battles. We are told our entire lives that our bodies are flawed and can be made better. We are told that we must look a certain way to be happy. We are supposed to cover-up when we get too old, too fat, too flawed. We are not enough as we are. If we all can start to change this, maybe we can live in a world where our daughters and sons eat healthy to feel good, run outside because it's fun, and have the confidence to love themselves as much as we love them.
Here are a few of the quotes that resonated most with me from the MB post...
"But now I accept my body as it is. As it wants to be."
"My body is my home. It's where my soul lives. It's the vehicle with which I present my voice and vision to the world. Without love for my body, I'm lost with no place to rest, no place to receive, and no place to believe in everything I have to offer the world."
"Loving your body is the only way you can be you authentic self..."
"I now realize that my best friend would never tell me 'You're not worth looking at' so why do I say that to myself? I am sad that it took me 50 years to come to this place, but it's never too late...."
"We've got a billion dollar industry out there set on convincing us that we need to pay them to make our bodies better...We'll always have people telling us this stuff, but it only matters if the person in the mirror listens."
Even the most successful, powerful people in the world have a hard time accepting their bodies.
I was so saddened the other day when I watched Barbara Walters' interview Oprah Winfrey as one of her most interesting people of the year. Barbara's last question was, "What is the one thing you still feel like you need to find peace with before you die." Oprah replied "...the weight thing."
I was baffled. How could someone who helps spread love throughout the world not love the very vessel from which so much inspiration grows? Someone who has overcome so many challenges, and fought her way to the top, still struggles to accept her shape?
We need to stop letting ourselves tell ourselves that we are not enough
and we need to realize that this body is the only one we are given. I shouldn't pretend that I am there yet, but I hope that I can someday be as
sure as the men and woman in this article.
I want to love my body because it is me, because it unlike any other body on this earth, because it carries me through the world, and because it is my one and only lifelong home.