I often work with populations of clients who suffer from eating disorders. Day in and day out I have assisted clients who struggle with body image and body dysmorphia to overcome intrusive and inaccurate thoughts about themselves and their bodies.
It makes me think a lot about how we, as young women are taught about our bodies from a societal and familial standpoint. What did my parents teach me about my body? What did my peers teach me? What do I learn from the media?
I don’t personally have any children of my own, yet, maybe, however, one of my close family members has a daughter who is about six years old now. I love her more than anything and I think about the pressures that society may one day put on her. This is why, I pay extra attention, to the messages that I personally send to her. Sometimes an eating disorder can develop based off of one comment stated by a parent, peer, or authoritative figure. We must protect the children from these damaging thoughts.
Often, we are taught from young to nitpick and point out the flaws of our bodies. But, why? Similarly to how each one of our personalities is different and unique in its own way, so are our bodies. We should embrace these differences, not punish ourselves for them.
It’s sad, really, how we look down upon our own bodies. Our bodies are vessels for our beings and we should love them, with all of their unique quirks. You’ll only have one body in your lifetime. It’s yours and yours only to love, care for, and to nourish. It does so many things for us, day in and day out. So, make sure that you are doing things to benefit your body and not to shame and change it. Think about, perhaps, what your body has done for you in just the past fifteen minutes. Take some time to reflect and honor your body for what it does for you.
Everything is good in moderation. This is the rule that I stick by. Some people will look down upon the idea of eating sweets and carbs, but your body needs these things too. Too much or too little of anything can damage your body. This goes for exercise as well! Many people think that the more you exercise, the healthier you are. Whereas, in fact, even over-exercising is damaging and harmful to your body. Some can become addicted to exercise, otherwise known as Orthorexia, in which they feel anxious when they are not able to exercise and in most cases, put their bodies under extreme and harmful conditions when exercising. Our bodies need relaxation too. Just as our minds benefit from sleep and self-care, so do our bodies. What have you done lately to care for your body?
There are so many tips and tricks out there that are glorified and are aimed at us, women, changing our bodies. Oh the pressure! Challenge yourself to not give in to these new Fads, Diets, and measures created to help you to exploit the only body that you have. Before you continue on your day, think about the things that you love about your body. Now, think about the things that you don’t like so much. Think about the ways in which you can learn to love and accept those things that you feel as though you do not like. We all have insecurities, but our bodies are so much more than something nice to look at! They are powerful machines, capable of so much!
I used to absolutely loathe the fact that I am so short. I was often bullied for this reason and am still often mistaken for a child, even as I quickly surpass my mid-twenties. I then thought about the fact that, if I was taller, I just simply wouldn’t be me. There are so many benefits to being small, for example. And there are benefits to my body being shaped exactly how it is. There are benefits to you being you as well! Embrace them.