When it comes to the relationship with our bodies, self-acceptance offers interesting challenges.
I recall days where I would do everything in my power to keep my eyes off the mirror, before getting in the shower, so I would not have to experience the regret of being in this body.
I saw deficiencies. I’ve experienced failure. But, there is space for much more—starting with acceptance.
Recently, a client of mine explained how she made the choice to purchase new clothing that fit her properly—she stopped prioritizing size and went for options that made her feel confident and beautiful.
Let’s be clear. This. Is. Huge.
Choosing to accept and honor the body we are in, no longer attempting to cram, expand or change it into something else is powerful. When attempting to cram, expand or change our bodies, we are consciously or sub-consciously telling our bodies, and therefore ourselves, that our body should be different.
Choosing otherwise is an active choice to deep self-acceptance.
However, self-acceptance is defined as “acceptance of self in spite of deficiencies.”
This definition is particularly dangerous when it comes to relationship with our bodies. It explains that in order to self-accept, there must be a deficiency. And unless you are dealing with a magnesium deficiency or something of the sort, “deficiency”, “lacking” or any similar term is not useful. In fact, it’s incredibly harmful.
Nothing about your body is deficient.
Let me repeat that—nothing about your body is deficient.
Let us redefine the meaning of self-acceptance as the choice to declare that deficiencies aren’t deficiencies at all.
Instead, they are original pieces of our unique, powerfully beautiful and dynamic bodies—to be honored and celebrated, absolutely not declared as deficiencies.
So, I declare to accept and honor that I am not deficient.
This is especially significant when it comes to our bodies.
For years, our bodies have been a conversation, a political discussion, something to debate. I invite you to join me in choosing to no longer allow our bodies to be a topic of discussion—regarding its pros and cons, positives and deficiencies. Our bodies are not our to interrogate.
Choose to quit enabling the discussion regarding the labeling of our bodies as anything but ours and beautiful.
In addition, self-acceptance is not to be confused with giving up on ourselves.
There is an accepted social norm—if we choose to accept ourselves, then therefore we are willing to give up on goals and perhaps even our overall health and wellness.
I have heard clients say: “I’ll accept myself and just stay fat. Whatever.” (There is a reclaiming of the word fat. However, in this case, the client claiming her fatness does not do it in a way that signifies ownership and self-acceptance in our newly molded definition of it. In this case, fat is “bad” and therefore she is giving up.)
Let’s make it clear right now that the idea of “giving up” is intrinsically linked with the idea that we actually have a deficiency.
What would change if we owned it all? Don’t give up on yourself. Instead:
Own what you have.
And drop the notion that anything about you or your body is deficient.
When we stop trying to change what is “deficient” and begin to see ourselves as complete and truly acceptable, we no longer seek to take parts of ourselves away and can begin to empower ourselves and rise into embodied beings.
Repeat these mantras twice a day for the next week or so. See what happens.
I choose to respectfully adorn myself in clothing, I accept to honor that I, body included, am not deficient.
I affirm to make everyday an opportunity to empower myself.
And as always, go gently. Honor that you are not expected to transform overnight. Hone in on what already makes your feel empowered and deeply nurture that!
The more you find the space to truly accept and honor your body, the more you will witness the walls and blocks in your life crumble, opening up space for opportunity and empowerment in unimaginable and magical ways.
Author: Natalie Marie Shapiro
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock