Do me a favour and close your eyes. Well, not yet. Let me paint you a picture first.
You’re out shopping. You need some clothes for an upcoming holiday that you’re really excited for. Since you’re going to the beach, you want a new bikini or two. Maybe some shorts, tank tops, sundresses. You definitely need a bodysuit because those are so freakin’ cute.
Anyway, you’ve got a bunch of clothes in your hands and you’re headed to the fitting rooms. You get inside and you start with the most important item here: the bathing suits. You try it on, you look in the mirror, and you feel sick.
You’ve been working out really hard for two months. You’ve been eating so many vegetables and only lean meat. You’ve been drinking smoothies, you’ve barely had any alcohol. And on the off chance you do, you’re drinking tasteless vodka sodas because of the small amount of calories.
And yet, you still don’t like what you see. You get frustrated. You try on the rest of the clothes. Maybe you take a few of the baggier items. You feel awful. Your day is ruined. You’re hungry, but how can you get lunch after that? So you just go home. You’re feeling miserable and you don’t even want to go on holiday now. You know you won’t photograph well on the beach. You have no confidence. Your hard work has not paid off.
Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s gotta stop.
Yes. Shut down that ridiculous mind of yours right now. It has gone on for far too long. We’re sick of it.
When I say we, yes I mean we. Every single person who has experienced the above, or something similar. We’re all sick of it, right? Let’s face it. It’s tiring – caring way too much about our bodies.
We compare ourselves to anything and everything all the time.
From models we see all over the media, to all the bloggers and vloggers on Instagram, to our best friends, sisters, even our own mothers. It needs to stop, because guess what??
It doesn’t matter.
In the grand scheme of all things, it does not matter. I’m sorry to tell you this, but most people do not care about your love handles, or the fact that you still have the pouch on your lower stomach. No one cares that your butt still has cellulite. And I most certainly don’t care that your legs jiggle when you walk.
I do, however, care if you’re a nice person, if you’ll treat me with respect, if you’ll celebrate my birthday with me. I care if you’re happy and healthy. I care that you love yourself and the others around you. And I can tell you that most people worth knowing and loving feel the same.
Ok so if I haven’t convinced you yet, you’re probably thinking, “Sam, it’s easier said than done. It’s hard for me. I’ve hated my self image my entire life. I can’t just stop caring.”
And I will respond with this,
I had never been completely happy. And I’m still not. I’m still trying to lose weight, tone up my body and look my best. I am still struggling. I am not perfect, and I most definitely do not look perfect in a bikini.
I had pictures of me on my last holiday in a bikini. When I finally saw them, I wanted to scream. But instead, I posted them on Instagram.
I’m hard on myself. And I’ve let how I feel about myself keep me from missing out on a lot of things in my past. The lack of a thigh gap has kept me from wearing shorts in the summer for years. And one of the main reasons I hate summer is because I’m not confident with my body.
So yeah, I get it. It’s not all that easy to stop caring just like that.
Except that it is. You just have to make the choice.
Now I’m not telling you to give up on taking care of yourself altogether and stop working out, I wouldn’t advise that. I firmly believe in living a healthy lifestyle. But what I am saying is that you need to start loving yourself, and accepting your body.
You can love yourself and still want to work on things about yourself.
Try this. Next time you’re standing in front of a mirror, look at yourself and try to point out five things you like about your physical appearance.
I’ll go first:
Side Note: I’ve always had a good amount of strength in my quad muscles, and it’s always made me happy so that’s why I’ve included them 🙂
Have you got your list?
Now every once in awhile, try to pick out new things you like and add to the list. Try to see yourself in the eyes of your loved ones. Ask them what they like about you, and try and see that within yourself.
D always tells me I have a nice butt. I have always thought it was too big and had too much cellulite. But, he’s always complimenting it. My own boyfriend has always loved that about me, so why can’t I love it about myself??
I’m working on that one…. I’m working on a lot.
I know I’m not perfect, and may never be. But I do love myself, and I love my body. I love how easy it is for me to build strength. I love to walk and I love that my body enjoys a nice walk as well. I have always loved swimming and have been a very good swimmer since I was a kid. My body allows me to enjoy that. I love playing volleyball. Even though I’m a short girl, I am still decent at it. I used to be a cheerleader and I was a base. I had a lot of upper body strength to be able to throw girls in the air, which has given me the ability to be able to lift heavier objects that many of my other girlfriends could not. It’s made me more independent in that way.
I’m very short, but I don’t have the skinny minny body type. I never have and probably never will. I have the athletic body type. The body type that will allow me to succeed in gaining muscle and toning it up. I can do cartwheels and handstands, and one day I hope to be able to do really cool yoga poses. My body allows all of this because I work at it.
Eventually, my body will allow me to birth beautiful babies. And I may get more stretch marks and gain weight and lose hair, among many other things. But I will have children! Something I’ve always wanted.
Our bodies are amazing. They’re not something we should hate. They’re something we should value and take care of.
We should eat healthy foods, moisturise our skin, wash our hair, workout on a daily basis, and meditate to calm down our minds. We should appreciate what we have. And if there’s something else we want, instead of being angry and hating it, realise you want to work on it because you love yourself and you want to be the best version of yourself.
When I met D two years ago, I was in no healthy mental state when it came to my body. I remember working out extra hard, eating only healthy foods, and stressing out majorly in the days before getting to see him. I did this because I was so worried he wouldn’t like me anymore if he saw my stretch marks or noticed my cellulite. You want the truth? I had to point out my stretch marks a whole year later for him to even notice they existed. And he don’t give a F about cellulite. The majority of people I know have both stretch marks and cellulite. It’s completely natural for the human body.
As time went on, I started to see myself through his eyes. And I started to love myself more. I put on weight, and yet I didn’t hate myself for it, but instead thought of it as a good thing because it meant I finally found someone I could be comfortable enough with. Which by the way, was something I had always been scared I’d never find.
The last 6 months have transformed everything from how I view food to how I view myself and others. And it’s taught me that your mindset makes or breaks everything.
Shit will happen in life. It will never be perfect. You will never be perfect. You will gain weight sometimes and you will lose weight sometimes, but what matters is your mindset about it.
Loving yourself and your body comes from within and how you choose to view life. It’s a work in progress. It’s not something that will happen overnight. But if you make the decision right now to work on loving yourself and make changes because you love yourself, not because you want to impress others, that will change everything.
What if we all made a vow to work on this a little bit each day? What if we, as women and men, chose to care less about other’s opinions and more on being good and wholesome people, doing the right thing because it’s the right thing. Well, then we’d all be a hell of a lot happier. And the world just may turn out to be a better place.
Do yourself a favour today and look in the mirror. Point out 5 things you like about yourself. Every once in while, try to point out something else. Try to understand that being miserable and hating yourself will never serve you well, and loving yourself will give you so much more peace and happiness. It’s so worth it, believe me.
I hope this finds you well. Please know you are loved. And please stop caring so much about little things that don’t have a high importance in the grand scheme of life. Instead, choose to be happy.