Our society is continuously bombarded with body images that are heavily photoshopped, filtered, or angled quasi-impossibly.
These images are the so called “perfect” bodies.
I question that often enough. It’s easy. I look at a magazine picture, then I close my eyes and I imagine this person walking toward me in the street. For some reason it clashes—I can’t quite picture that person.
The reason is simple: that person doesn’t exist.
A model was used to create the base frame to work with, but the results are a composition made possible by many artists working together. By now, we know that. We’ve been told many times over and, hopefully, it’s starting to register.
When we are not bombarded by images of “perfection,” we’re bombarded with another type of message. The one that tells us that we need to love our body, no matter the shape. We have those oh-so-needed Dove commercials, along with songs like All About That Bass. This is followed by multiple videos and social media articles that urge us to accept the many forms our bodies take.
Whether photoshopped images or pro-all-body ads, these are two sides of the same coin: they both reduce the human being to merely a body. It feels like humans—especially women—are nothing more than their bodies.
How did it even come to this? We’re such wonderful, yet complex, creatures!
How about we put the beloved body back where it belongs?
Once we understand where it fits, only then can we start creating lasting changes as to how we view ourselves physically.
Yes, we have a body. It takes various shapes and colour, but for the most part, our bodies are very similar.
We also have a mind and a soul. Our bodies are not empty carcasses—we have the capacity to reason, unique personalities, a range of emotions, different tastes. We have an understanding of who we are and how we fit into the world and the universe. We connect to people and our environment.
Our body is the reflection of our mind, an extension of our soul. This is deep. Let’s explore this concept for a minute. Our body is here to teach us.
Here is a short exercise for you:
Close your eyes and think about three people you know, who you find attractive or beautiful. Now, physically describe those people. Are they the same age? Same height? Same weight? The chances are, they are not. Then, there must be something more than their physical features to make them beautiful.
The problem is not that we don’t think we’re beautiful because of what we see on the cover page of a magazine, or on an angled-filtered Instagram post. The real issue is much deeper and we must take a close and honest look if we want to change this nonsense on how we view beauty.
When we are faced with unrealistic images, we feel we are not worth being who we are. We think we are less-than and not-capable-of.
A beautiful picture isn’t just a beautiful picture. It’s an emotion, a promise of happiness, a demonstration of status. It’s associated with so much more than an image.
Yet, we compare. And it often results in bringing us down.
Our natural tendency is to try to find something to blame for it. The easy pointer is our body, because it’s tangible. We then enter the spiral of limiting ourselves to our body.
The fact is that there will always be someone younger, smarter and thinner than we are. The good news is that we’re not defined by any one attribute (and certainly not by a few dimples on our backside.) We are a whole package and that package is awesome. It demands to be spoken about with respect.
Our soul and mind are infinitely powerful, so there is no good reason to constantly return to our physical body with the mindset of either loving or hating it. How about we love our soul? We love who we are and love our mind and let our body be the result of that love? When our body changes, it’s a direct result of our mind and soul.
Learning to love oneself takes a strong and true decision, time and personal training. It begins with de-programming—years and years of erroneous belief systems—and is followed by a healthier re-programming.
Can you imagine the possibilities, how much more you could gift yourself, your wonderful body—if only you could change your mindset?
The first part is to start looking at your body and instead of judging it, listen to what it’s saying. Try to understand its messages. For example, if you have a deep line between your eyes on your forehead, what are you constantly worrying about? Sure, there are treatments and products that are going to help relax those forehead muscles, but the line will come back unless you address the underlying causes.
Once we start observing our body and try to understand its messages, our body can actually transform.
I used to go to the chiropractor regularly for pain between my shoulders that would get unbearable. I suffered from that particular pain for years. Then, I met someone who helped me realize that, deep inside, I didn’t recognize my contribution to others (which made me contract those specific muscles).
We worked it through and the pain went away. It sometimes comes back and I then remind myself of my contributions and the pain subsides again.
The same applies to many skin conditions. It’s not magic—your body simply reacts to each of your emotions in a specific way. Your body tells you what you haven’t been listening to.
We must give our minds and souls the utmost attention. By doing this our physical bodies will be beautiful.
What is beauty truly about? Beauty is not just about your soul, your mind or, for that matter, your body. It is the bond between the three—working harmoniously, growing, evolving and continuously creating one’s self.
Beauty is about observing our own patterns and seeing what makes us who we are. Beauty is a state of mind.
Love yourself—truly and deeply.
Author: Julie Michaud
Assistant Editor: Hilda Carroll / Editor: Renee Picard
Photo via Flickr