What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you think of the word body?
Big chance you’ll think about things like diets, weight loss, clean eating, and crazy workout plans such as “10 Steps to Get a Beach Body” or “5 ways to (finally) get a flat stomach” etc…
Bodies – and more important – their physical appearances, have become important conversation topics on birthday and dinner parties, weddings, and the workplace. And ways to change the physical appearance of our bodies have resulted in numerous cover stories in every major female magazine over the past couple years.
There is simply no denying that today’s society is obsessed with beauty and appearance. And it’s quite obvious that misleading advertisements – that emphasize thinness (or extreme ‘fit’ness) as a standard for beauty – are continuously being shoved in our faces. Not only are we continuously being bombarded with messages telling and convincing us in a (not so) subtle way that we’re not good/skinny/fit/healthy/pretty enough, we are also led to believe that being skinnier/fitter/prettier equals being happier.
I’m not saying this is causing body dissatisfaction but it sure does make you (too) aware of the presence of your ‘physical’ body. In fact, research also supports the notion that exposure to media images depicting the thin-ideal body is related to body image concerns for women.
The ads, cover stories, and #fitgirl photos are to your mind what food is to your body. Nutrition. Energy. And we all know what happens when you deprive your body of essential nutrients. It affects your mood, metabolism, energy level and overall well-being. The same thing is happening to your mind. If you are continuously feeding your mind with negative and harmful messages, you will start to believe them and they will become your reality.
At the same, we have a choice. YOU have a choice. You have a choice to say, “No, I will not allow these negative and unrealistic messages to contaminate my mind and dominate my thoughts.” I’m not saying this is easy, but it all starts with bringing awareness to your – self-critical – internal dialogue. The ‘I need to be skinnier’, ‘I am not pretty enough’, ‘I have to run 10 miles on the treadmill’, ‘I need to compensate food’, dialogues. Realize that they don’t add value to your life, nor do they make you feel alive.
There is SO much more to life than striving to be the next #fitgirl on Instagram, having a bikini body (whatever that means anyway) or wearing a certain size of clothes.
It’s just such a waste of time.
Shouldn’t we be focusing on chasing our dreams, finding meaningful and fulfilling jobs, investing in our relationships, starting families, traveling the world and learning about new cultures?
Shouldn’t we be learning news skills, reading books, discovering our passions, and growing as human beings?
Our body is the vehicle through which we experience life and with which we travel along the path of our journeys. It protects us, guides us, supports us and cherishes us.
So what if we just quit all the BS and start accepting and loving our bodies instead?
When we constantly tell ourselves, “I’ll be happy/successful/pretty when I am skinnier or more toned”, we send ourselves the message that we are not okay as we are now. As a result, we force ourselves to go on the treadmill to run ourselves happy.
The problem is that we never arrive at that stage. It’s a self-destructive and downward spiral.
I totally get, I’ve been there and I know what it’s like to constantly push yourself beyond your limits in every endeavor. But here’s the secret: there is not a single number on a scale that will make you enough because enough is already inside you.
You were born enough and you will die enough.
It’s time to make a positive change for yourself to propel you forward instead of focusing on the things that pull you backward.
Give your body and mind what they need to help you thrive: love. And give yourself permission to fully embrace the one word to live by:
ENOUGH. As in “I am enough, right here, right now.”