Hey all! Sorry for my absence, I’ve been overwhelmed (to say the least) with work and class. My class is almost over and I’m in the home stretch!
Something that’s been on my mind lately (for good reason) is body acceptance. It’s something that I think a lot of people struggle with at one point or another in their lives; there are a lot of outlets in our life (media, family, friends, lovers) who influence what we perceive as beautiful. It can be hard to wrangle with those perceptions if they do not completely embody how we look.
I think it’s something that I’ve struggled with since I was a little girl. The idea of being thin was big in my household and while I was never overweight I was never thin. I was (and still am) an average size. For a while I felt like as if I wasn’t good enough because of this and was on a perpetual diet from age 10 to about age 22. I did all things that would fall under the disordered eating categories in an attempt to become thin.
There was one incident I can recall that has always stuck with me. I was seeing a therapist as a teenager and she encouraged me to take a look at myself in the mirror unclothed and just study myself, noticing what makes me unique and what I like. I remember feeling so uncomfortable with my body that I couldn’t do it.
I’m not sure what exactly changed at age 22 but I slowly but surely started to love myself and how I looked more and more. I didn’t mind my curves or the fact I wasn’t very thin. I stopped counting calories and started just listening to my body – stopped eating when I was full and let myself have a treat every now and then.
Learning to accept my weight and body was a big step for me. Since then I’ve made smaller (but still significant) steps towards more acceptance. Something I’ve always been self conscious about is my baby hair. I have a ton of (very noticeable) baby hair – I’ve hated it since I was a little girl and always wanted to shave it off. I started plucking it off last year (a task that took up an hour a week) and recently thought to myself “You know what? My baby hair makes me unique, not everyone has it and I should embrace it if I can”. So as uncomfortable as it makes me I’ve let the baby hair grow back and will leave it be.
I think something that helped me was changing what I followed on social media (as silly as it sounds). I made a conscious effort to follow pages and blogs that were body accepting and overall more empowering. I think it helped to see other people who were trying to love themselves more and more. Seeing those types of messages more and more on social media helped me continue the journey to self acceptance.
Another helpful thing for myself is learning to do things (dressing up, wearing make up, doing my hair) for myself rather than others. I’ve stopped feeling as if I have to do these things so others will like me and started doing them because I want to.
It’ll be a long journey to full acceptance but it’s one I’m excited I’ve started. What things help you with accepting yourselves?