Body Image: A One-Way Street. Know The Way, Follow It & Don’t Let Anything Else Direct You.

Body Image: A One-Way Street. Know The Way, Follow It & Don’t Let Anything Else Direct You.

What if I told you that the only thing standing in the way of you & a healthier body image was yourself?

What if I told you that your body image is what you make of it? That it’s in your hands?

What if you took the word “body” out of “body image” & simply identified with your IMAGE?

Nowadays, we live in a society where we have been taught that we must constantly compare ourselves to others in order to determine, create & impose standards (sometimes, unrealistic ones) upon ourselves for the way we should look. Why do we do this when we know that ultimate happiness is achieved only once we are happy in OUR skin, in OUR uniqueness & in OUR individuality? Because it’s all we know. 

Putting yourself down plays on your mind. It destroys you internally & in turn, externally in terms of the energy you give out & radiate. Instead of comparing ourselves to other women in a workout class or in general, why don’t we instead walk into a workout or wherever with a positive mindset & commend ourselves for our strength, our motivation, our determination, the fact that it’s freezing cold outside but we still got out of bed to kill a workout? Why don’t we acknowledge how much stronger we’ve become since we started? Why can’t we for ONE SECOND acknowledge the things that we feel good about ourselves for instead of putting ourselves down? And in acknowledging those things, why can’t we acknowledge how motivated, determined & strong we are WITHOUT comparing ourselves to the person next to us?

If you constantly nitpick everything you don’t like about yourself, you will not feel good about yourself. No matter how “thin”, “big”, “small”, “tall”, “short” you are. We are all human & we are all our own worst critic. There are a million things we don’t love about ourselves or that we’d like to change, whether it has to with our appearance, personality or the fact that certain things make us anxious or stressed. But why do we focus on those things? Why can’t we instead focus on the things that we love about ourselves?

The reason we can’t do this is because society has taught us to always compare & to impose unrealistic standards on ourselves that puts pressure not only on our bodies but also on our minds.

We also live in a society that is SO focused on appearance that we’ve reached a point where we fail to recognize that a person’s worth is not based on how they look but rather on the goodness of their heart. Shift your focus & perspective and instead, look at yourself in the mirror & acknowledge how good of a person you are, how big your heart is, how you did something for someone without expecting anything in return, how much you love your smile or your eyes, how much you appreciate that you are such a loving & generous person, how you are proud of yourself for contributing to someone else’s life or making someone’s day better.

You are the only person that can change your mindset & the way that you view your body. If you fuel your mind with negative thoughts about how much you hate your thighs, stomach, arms or face, or whatever it is, on a regular basis, you will begin to think those things & you will teach YOURSELF to hate YOURSELF.

And I know, it’s hard. Some days, it isn’t easy to look in the mirror. Although I am recovered, there are days where I look in the mirror & I want to crumble & cry. I don’t recognize myself because ED is trying to trickle her way back into my life. But, when those moments happen, I have two options: I can give in to those thoughts or fight them. It takes a lot of strength & mind work to fight them but I choose to do that every time because I know what the alternative entails.

And no, I am not here telling you that everyone is going to develop an eating disorder if they fuel their minds with this negativity, but one thing’s for sure: fuelling your mind with negativity will lead to the development of negative self-worth. Why do that to yourself? Your body is here to sustain you. You should love it for all that it is.

You are AMAZING in your own worth. In our own way. When you walk into a room, whether it be at the gym or elsewhere, know that every person in the room is going through a struggle you know nothing about. We all struggle with our bodies. It’s human & it’s normal. The real problem lies in the fact that we let that struggle control our lives & minds. It’s so easy to walk into a room & to look at everyone else & pass judgment about yourself, but what if you looked around the room & acknowledge how different & unique every person is & that that’s what makes life so beautiful? What if you acknowledge that you are unique in your way, that EVERYONE is going through something & being in competition serves no purpose at all.

I bet you a million dollars that if you sit down for a second & reflect on the last time you were hard on yourself & compared yourself to another woman/man, the answer would most probably be TODAY or YESTERDAY. And yes, it’s a natural tendency we all have. But what we don’t realize is that while this natural tendency may be harmless on one or two occasions, if it happens every single day, we develop our own self-hate.

And that’s what I mean when I say that your body image is in your hands. Only you can control the way you view your body. And this is why I think that it’s SO IMPORTANT that we all try to shift our focus away from appearance & that we learn to value who we are as people.

And you know what? The person you would NEVER believe is going through these struggles probably is. And that’s the problem: You cannot see the struggles people are going through. That’s why we must always be kind. Recognize that if you feel a certain way, if you don’t feel 100% comfortable in your skin, if you’re constantly making comparisons, odds are other women are doing it too. Don’t be down on yourself for doing it, BUT CHANGE IT. Change your perspective & stop viewing yourself negatively. Look in the mirror & acknowledge your progress, whatever that progress is.

We don’t have answers to why we engage in such negativity fuelling body image thoughts & behaviours but we do them anyway. They have been ingrained in our minds because society has taught us to do those things & we’ve been doing it for so long that it becomes a part of who we are.

This is one of the many reasons I’m here blogging & taking you guys through my days on Instagram to try to spread the message about mental health, body image and eating disorders. These are all topics we try to put on the back burner because we are ALL so affected by them & we just don’t want to face it. It’s always easier to ignore or avoid a problem. But I genuinely believe that it’s only in acknowledging that these are struggles we deal with daily & in shifting our focus, that we can change the way that women view themselves.

The real answer to all those questions is that every woman has the power IN HER OWN HANDS to make that change. If we all made that change or strived for it, and started to value ourselves & who we are as people, for the goodness of our hearts & we all collectively lifted each other up to be better, do better & get better, the world would be a better place. And yes, we do have WAYS TO GO. We live in a  sad world & this is not something that will change overnight, but as women, we must come together, lift each other up, surround & encourage each other ON WHATEVER JOURNEY WE ARE ON. Every single person is on a journey. Every person has an ultimate goal, a mission, challenge & everyone is striving for or fighting for something: recovery, weight gain, weight loss, getting over or moving on from a breakup or a divorce. If we learn to see our worth in our strength, perseverance, determination & motivation as opposed to seeing it in our appearance, comparison & vanity, we would all be so much happier in our own skin.

Self-confidence & worth is one of the most important things in the world. It’s everything. The way you view yourself translate & radiates in everything that you do. If I asked you if you wanted to radiate positivity or negativity, today & always, I’m sure you would say positivity. But if you view yourself negatively, you will NOT radiate that positivity. It all boils down to loving yourself first before you can properly love anybody else. You cannot properly & healthily give yourself to people, friends, relationships, family members, if you are not happy with yourself & in your skin. This is why it’s crucial to work on that aspect of yourself, talk to yourself, go through the stage of developing a relationship with yourself & connecting with your inner being. It’s only once that relationship is healed, healthy & at a place where you & your SELF are on the same page, that you will truly be able to say that you love yourself more than anything in the world & you will radiate positivity & be able to give of yourself fully to someone else.

People always ask me why I’m not in a relationship & why I’m not putting myself out there as it’s been months since my breakup. The answer is that although I am close, I’m still on my journey towards loving myself fully, unconditionally & wholeheartedly. And I want to get to the finish line, to the place where I feel completely whole & I love myself more than anything int eh world, because  I jump into anything. I want to be able to give of myself fully to someone else.

Some of us go through this stage of learning to love ourselves early in life, others go through it later, others need an epiphany or realization to go through it. But no matter what, we must all go through it & develop a healthy relationship with ourselves & feel comfortable in our skin in order to reach a state of ultimate happiness & know that our worth is not determined by our appearance. There is so much more about you & me & all of us that is so much more important than the way we look compared to others.

Guys, this shift in mindset is in YOUR HANDS. YOU have the CONTROL to determine how you will view yourself & nobody can change that for you. The only way we can all contribute to each other’s well-being & development of self-worth is by working harder to change the perception that society has ingrained in us. This is not a change or shift in mentality that happens overnight, but if each & every one of us does our part, if we each work a little bit harder to think of JUST ONE THING we love about ourselves that has NOTHING to do with appearance, this is a first step. Think about something you value about yourself, something others appreciate about you, how giving you are, how big your heart is & pat yourself on the back when you recognize & acknowledge these things because THEY MAKE YOU WHO YOU ARE & MAKE YOU UNIQUE. If you wake up every day & fuel your mind with just one positive thought, you will end up radiating positivity & love yourself for everything you are as a person, in a relationship, as a sister, brother, mom, dad, wife, husband, friend, cousin etc.

I challenge you all to wake up everyday for the next week & think of just one thing you love about yourselves. And then smile. Smile because that one thing makes you unique, makes you who you are & gives you individuality. If we didn’t have that, the world would be a boring place. If we all fit the stupid mould that society has ingrained in us, if we were all prim & paper & perfect, there would be nothing left to strive for or to do better for. Value & love yourself for all that you are. Take your body image into your own hands. Don’t let anyone or anything control it or determine how you view yourself because ultimately, the only person who will end up suffering if you have negative self-worth is YOU & in turn, everyone else around you.

BODY IMAGE IS A ONE-WAY STREET.

KNOW THE WAY.

FOLLOW IT.

Don’t let anyone else direct you.

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