“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” ~ Carl Gustav Jung
My brain is hard-wired to zone in on imperfections, so when I get in front of a mirror, my inner critic takes the reigns and has a field day. The inner critic voice is pervasive, playing like background music in my head most of the time, but gets much louder inside a fitting room at the mall standing under soberingly bright fluorescent lights in front of a three-way, full-length mirror.
This critic points out, one-by-one and with great attention to detail, all the things it finds wrong and unacceptable about me. There I am, just me and my reflection in a public fitting room with utterly loathsome feelings about my body and subsequently about my entire self.
I’ve given shopping trips the power to catapult me into a body-shaming spiral of deep depression. The downward spiral happens rather quickly, leaving the equivalent of a hurricane’s aftermath on my mental state.
But flaws are perceived. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder then ugly is too, no? We see what we look for. Our perceptions undoubtedly create our reality. It doesn’t matter that I have beautiful eyes or a sparkly smile, I zero in on my cellulite and stretch-marked thighs and facial blemishes because that is all my inner critic perfectionist can see. And thus my reality is created, a distorted reality of not being good enough and therefore not being worth—all because I’m not perfect.
As women, we must get this idea out of our head that we are unlovable if our thighs touch. The opposite is true—we are inherently worthy and immensely lovable and always will be, even if and especially if, our thighs touch.
Stop the needless suffering. Stop the fat chat. Start a radical revolution of body acceptance.
Somewhere beneath the endless diet fads, detoxes, and cleanses, the “I’ll-be-happy-whens” and the “once I’m in my skinny jeans daydreams,” there is a person.
Underneath the muffin-tops and bra-pinching flesh, there is a person. A person who needs your unconditional love. That is—love without conditions.
Not once you lose the last five lbs. (or the first 50), but right now, as you are. You are a beautiful, wonderful, multi-faceted human being with a miraculous body, mind, and soul. And I know this because I am too.
Let’s start a revolution and let’s love our bodies no matter what flaws we perceive them to have.
They do so much for us. In the idea of MLK Jr., love is the only thing that can drive out hate. Body-love. Self-love. Love is the answer.
“Enjoy your body, use it every way you can–don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.” –Kurt Vonnegut
We all know what happens when we treat our bodies like our own worst enemies. I propose we try the other route and radically accept our bodies. Acceptance naturally leads to love and gratitude. And while we’re at that, why not enjoy them too. Enjoying the way you feel in your body is a byproduct of accepting it as it is. Enjoy the way the sun rays hit your skin, the way the wind blows your hair.
Buddha said, “you, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
Next time you find yourself standing in front of a mirror, see if you can love the person looking back at you.
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Apprentice Editor: Jessica Sandhu / Editor:
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July’s Full Moon in Capricorn: The Heart wants what it Wants. The 4 Stages of a Good Divorce. How to Love a Woman who Scares You. Our Soulmates are Rarely Who We Expect. I Still Think of You. Men, Let’s Stop Fooling Ourselves: Size Matters. To the One Who Tried to Break Me. An Open Letter to the Fixers. How your Stored Memories in the Amygdala can lead to PTSD. How My Sister’s Death Transformed my Self-Perception.