Taking Responsibility for your Body Image.
Do you take responsibility for your body image? For the negative voices in your head? For the things you say to yourself when nobody else is around? For the way you judge yourself?
You may be shouting 'YES!!!' from the rooftops! Or you might be in the 'umm... NO! It's not my fault!' category.
Lately in my life, the subject of taking responsibility has been coming up A LOT. Responsibility for your actions, for your words, for your finances, for your relationships, and for yourself. When we take responsibility for something, we are in fact taking ownership of it.
So the big question really is: Are you taking ownership of your role in how you see your body today?
Since the time you were a small child, you've likely been fed the stories. You know the ones...
'Women should be seen and not heard.'
'Thin is pretty, fat is ugly.'
'Stretch marks are disgusting.'
'Acne scars should be covered with makeup. Nobody wants to see that.'
'Your physical beauty is what defines you.'
'Disabled bodies are not wanted.'
'Beauty equals worth.'
'Fat women or ugly women aren't worthy of love.'
Does any of this sound familiar??
Unfortunately, I'm not making this up. These are all stories that I grew up with too! This is what I was taught as a child and teenager. The stories run rampant in the media. Movies, television shows, magazines, and now the internet. Have you ever searched #fitspo on Instagram? Don't. It's scary. Because this is what the next generation thinks all bodies should look like. It's what girls and women are being programmed to believe is the only right way to have a body in this world.
The question becomes, what story do you want to believe? Just because you've believed these stories for your whole life, doesn't mean you have to carry them forward with you. That is a conscious choice.
As adults we have the capacity to choose. To bring our childhood traumas, lessons, and stories with us. To continue to live our lives being a child. Playing the victim. Blaming others and saying it's not our fault. Or we can choose different. Choose to see the bullshit in these stories. We have the ability to re-write them, to choose what serves us and decide how we want to live our lives. Just because we're told that beauty equals worth our whole life, doesn't mean we have to believe it.
It's just somebody's opinion which has become society's current narrative. In different cultures all around the world and at different times in history many different body types and traits have been desirable. Round and voluptuous has been in, small feet has been in, narrow shoulders, high waist, plump thighs, flat chest, large breasts, thin, athletic, androgynous... Each and every one of these traits has been considered the cultural ideal for women at some time and place in history!
This goes to show that it's all opinion based, not a hard truth. A fact is something proven. Like the fact that water is made up of Hydrogen and Oxygen. Fact. An opinion is something a person thinks based on their perception. Big breasts are beautiful. Opinion. Not proven and will change and morph over time as ideals and people change.
Cultural ideals aren't facts. And they don't have power over you if you decide they don't.
Now, is this easy? HECK NO!!
Going against the grain is hard, especially when you do it alone. It is challenging, it is quite possibly outside of your comfort zone, and it's going to push all of your buttons. BUT it's SO DAMN WORTH IT!
Knowing in your core that these stories don't define you. That they are not true. That you're taking responsibility for what is true to you, that is powerful! That is stepping up to the plate and deciding that life doesn't happen to you, it's created by you. What an awesome way of seeing it!
But how the heck do you take responsibility for your body image?
Firstly, you decide you don't want to play the victim anymore. That you're not going to play the 'woe is me' card, blame everyone else, feel sorry for yourself. Don't get me wrong, this is a normal state that we all get into at times, it's just not the state we want to stay in! If you're not playing the victim, then you're am empowered woman. You're standing up, making your own decisions, creating your own stories, and deciding your truths.
Secondly, please learn from my mistakes and reach out! Find yourself a community of like-minded women who will support you through this transition. Changing your mindset and stepping up to the plate is no small feat, and getting guidance and input from others on a similar journey is priceless. Loving your body while surrounded by like-minded women is often the difference between success and falling back into old habits.
Thirdly, be kind and compassionate with yourself. You've likely spent the last 20, 30, even 40+ years believing the stories that society has told you. Believing that scars are ugly. Believing that your worth is tied up in your physical beauty or ability. Creating new beliefs won't happen in a day. There is no magic pill. Work on it every day, challenge your beliefs, journal, meditate, shift, grow.
If starting to question societal norms and ideals is where your head's at, then YES SISTER, keep at it.
If standing up and taking responsibility for your body image is your thing, then YOU ROCK! You are my freaking hero.
If you have no idea where the heck you stand but you just know that you're SICK AND TIRED of hating your body, then I got your back. Seriously, you're not alone in this.
Regardless of where you are on your journey with your body right now, please know you're not alone. There is help, support, and hope. There is another way to be.
Do you want to access this help and support? The Body Love Tribe is for you.
This group exists solely to support, educate, and empower women to learn to love their bodies! We talk all things body love, self acceptance, health, self care, and so so much more. It is a safe space to connect, grow, and be with like-minded women who are sick and tired of the bullshit we've been fed our whole lives. It's time to stand up and take responsibility for yourself! For your body image. For your story. You are worth it my love, and it's my hope that you can see that too.