Jan 24, 2016

Body Image and Love

A topic I had in mind when I wrote my last post - but didn't touch - was body image and how that body image affects us. A writer I follow on Goodreads shared a post about how she has always felt about how her body image affected her for quite a long time, reaching into her self esteem. This got me thinking. Indeed, since we are born with a body and live with it through our whole life, often we see our bodies as it is us, and whatever happens to our bodies affects our selves as well. If we are good looking, then we - the whole of us - is desirable, but if there is something we consider a "flaw", then the flaw is also within us. Separating our body from our selves is nearly impossible to a lot of people, even though we are bombarded constantly with messages that tell us that we are two separate things. I mean, think about it, how many times have we heard all that stuff about "inner beauty" and how "the exterior doesn't matter" and so on?

I guess it's normal to see your body and yourself as the same thing, and so when something about our bodies doesn't please us, we feel also displeased with ourselves. It adds to this negatively when we are also bombarded with estereotypes and ideas about what the body should look like, and often these ideas create artificial discomforts in us. Wherever we look we are shown bodies of models that most of us don't have, and which can't be reached by many. This is where pseudo-positive messages (like those images shown so often on Facebook and shared by many) try to convince us that we are good the way we are and that we must accept our bodies the way we are.

The way I see it, we are bombarded with two negative messages. On one side we are told that we have to be tall, sickly thin, young and supermodelish. On the other side we are told that we must accept and do nothing. I've been average all my life. I was thin when I was a kid, but after puberty I've got an average body shape, with which for a time I wasn't happy because it wasn't as thin as I was told I should be. Then I was lucky enough to realize that I was good the way I was and felt happy. Through the years I gained some weight and though I was still happy, it was becoming displeased about not fitting in my clothes. A physician had told me that my weight wasn't healthy, but I didn't listen to him until I realized that either I started losing weight or I'd have to buy a whole closet again. I had tried for years to lose weight, get my old weight back, but it never worked, so not really believing anything could really be done, I went to the nutritionist and started my regime. And I lost weight.

What I learned was that though we can't always separate our body image from our self image, we must start realizing that the body is the body and the self is the self. Yes, we must come to terms with our body and the body we have, but if there is something we don't like about it, and it can be changed, hey, don't conform and change it! Maybe it won't work if you try doing it yourself, but look for a professional to help you. Be it losing weight or gaining muscles or learning to make up yourself, or having a great hair... whatever it might be, if there's a chance to change it and you'd like to change it, don't settle, do something! It's all up to you. And if it doesn't work at first, keep trying until it works. :-)

Your body image can do a lot of harm to you, if you let it, so remember that whatever there is that you don't like, you can always work with it. Love isn't about being perfect nor can you trick yourself into accepting something you are not comfortable with. I don't think love is about accepting if you see this acceptance and resignation. Love is about being happy, and you can be happy when you are comfortable, and you can be confortable when you are at ease with yourself. If there is something you don't like about yourself, think why that might be displeasing or not, and whether changing it is the solution. Use also health as paramether. Make sure your body is healthy, and then, fuck the body and do what pleases you. ^_^

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