I grew up in the era of heroin chic. This was the look that we all wanted to achieve, and there’s a huge part of me that still gravitates toward that. Years of magazines, movies, and other media helped me develop my sense of self worth and I have to tell you- for years, I couldn’t achieve it. I still haven’t achieved what I thought to be ideal, but I’ve made so many changes in my views that the former ideal is long gone. Instead, I have started to ask myself questions about who I am, what makes me happy, what’s my own ideal health, and how can I be the best version of myself?
Parent Your Inner Child
Making changes and loving yourself isn’t easy, especially if you’ve been part of our culture for the last few decades. Society and media has given us all one or two looks to strive for, and if we didn’t achieve supermodel weight and beauty status, how would we be able to be loved by society? Somewhere along the lines, we lost a lesson in our value and worth. Allow yourself to speak to your inner child. Let them know that they’re worthy, and will do great things. Tell them that their worth doesn’t rely on the size of their jeans. Give yourself the love and grace you missed when you started to focus on things that didn’t matter.
Make the Shift
Fortunately, there’s a body positive movement slowly gaining traction and more models are representing all shapes, sizes, and nationalities, while stores are starting to ditch airbrushing and use a diverse group of models to represent their product line. This is a positive change from previous messages, where we were indoctrinated with messages like “thin is in” and “a moment on the lips means forever on the hips”. This isn’t to say that there is something wrong with thin people, because there isn’t at all! We are hoping to shift our focus from a scale number or appearance to individual health and happiness, and that can look different for each individual.
Change Up Your Standards
Instead of holding on to outdated views of physical beauty, we’re more focused than ever on inward growth, health, wellness, and mindfulness. What does good health mean to you? Instead of clothes sizes, can we focus on bloodwork numbers? Overall happiness? Joy, love, friendship, and more? If you put the weight of your worth into unobtainable physical appearances, working toward self love will be incredibly difficult. What if we loved ourselves, treated ourselves as worthy, and then saw where that led?
For a great way to start making small changes that have big results, read Atomic Habits. To delve deeper into believing that you are enough, read The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown. And for a fascinating new take on weight, check out Health At Every Size by Linda Bacon Ph.D.
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