Loving your body can be such a hard thing in this day and age. In a society that idolizes models and movie stars, we have so much to live up to. The truth is, we don’t have to. If we were all meant to look alike, we would all be born the same. The wonder of humanity is that we are all meant to be unique, not cookie-cutters of the few genetically blessed (or surgically enhanced) few.
The first thing you need to do is stop trying to live up to the standards that society has set. Do NOT listen to people who tell you that if you don’t look like a page out of Victoria’s Secret or GQ you’re not attractive. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the most important eye is your own.
That last sentence is key here. YOU need to love how you look. It doesn’t matter what other people think. You should never alter your appearance to make other people happy. Now, we all want to find our soul mate and have a happy relationship, and we want to look good enough to get that mate. The thing is, the person who is truly right for you is going to love the way you look when you are happy with yourself. If the person is so wrapped up in appearance that they don’t like how you are, why would you want them?
I’m going to relate a personal story here that is a good example of getting on the road to loving yourself, and getting past what others think of you.
Since a very young age, everyone around me made fun of me. I had a big nose, big feet, I was skinny as a rail, and just all-around goofy looking. Or at least that’s what they told me. I was poor, and came to school in second-hand clothes, which was just one more thing for them to pick on me for.
As I got older, it didn’t get much better. I had no self-esteem at all. I thought I was the ugliest girl around. I couldn’t get a date to save my life. I was 16 when I finally got a boyfriend, and someone who thought I was beautiful. For a while, I started to feel better about myself. It was the first time in my life that anyone had told me I was fine just the way I was.
As the years went on, I got more confident. I tried to stay in shape, I wore my hair and my makeup in ways that made me happy, and developed my own style when it came to clothes. I was nowhere near fitting into a fashion magazine, and I didn’t care. I was happy being me. In my twenties, I moved to Pennsylvania, and came into contact with people that were very appearance oriented. They were 20-somethings with daddy’s money, and an eye for fashion. I was suddenly the odd one out all over again. These people managed to bring back every insecurity I had ever had, and make me feel like I was the ugly duckling again. I thought I had overcome all that, but it was still there, and they brought it back to the surface. I was 96 pounds, and they were telling me I was fat. My clothes were wrong, my hair was wrong, I was all wrong.
This was a very hard time for me. Even the guy I was dating didn’t like my body after a while. I didn’t know what to do. I hated myself again. For a while, I turned into a really nasty person. I lashed out at everyone because of the way I was being treated, and because of the way people looked down on me. I looked into the mirror one day, and hated what I saw. Not just my looks, but my personality as well.
I took it upon myself to change. By the time I got around to doing it, I had put on almost 50 pounds and a very bad attitude. I decided that I needed to love myself, and tell everyone to go to hell. It took work, and eventually moving out of the state, but I have steadily improved my self-image, and my love of myself as a person.
What was really strange to me, was that when I got down here to Georgia, the guys thought I was a hottie. Can you imagine? Here I am at 5’ 1”, 145 pounds, and they think I’m hot. It was a perfect example of beauty being in the eye of the beholder. Maybe the northerners thought I was fat and ugly, but here in the south I was quite a dish.
Being away from all the rude and heartless people, and being around people who not only thought I was attractive, but also recognized my intelligence, talent and sense of humor, really made a difference. I shed 20 pounds like it was nothing, and started to be a much happier person.
The moral of this story? You really need to learn to love yourself, and change to make yourself happy, because what people think of you can change from person to person, and place to place. Some people are just going to be mean and insulting to you, and you need to let them have their flaws, and not let them bring you down.
When you look at your body, you need to think of two main things. Am I healthy? Do I like how I look? Don’t worry about whether or not you have “perfect” measurements, or the physique of Brad Pitt or Megan Fox. You need to win the genetic lottery to look like that without surgery, so just work on liking how you look, with what nature’s already given you.
Being healthy is very important. You need to take care of your body. Whether you work out and get ripped is up to you, but you need to stay healthy. If you’re starving yourself or you have anorexia or bulimia so that you can look like some walking coat-hanger model, you’re not healthy. If you’re so overweight that you can barely move or see your own feet, you’re not healthy. You need to eat right, get enough activity, and get check-ups to make sure that you are in good health, and within a safe weight range for your height and bone structure. Once you know you’re healthy, you need to decide if you can be happy looking the way you already do. Some people are naturally skinny, others are naturally bigger. There’s nothing wrong with being lanky, and nothing wrong with being big, if you’re healthy and you like the way you are.
I have a couple of female friends who are big girls, and they love themselves. They are confident, happy and healthy. They don’t care that they’re never going to be a size 6, and they have the confidence and personality to make no one else care either.
If you don’t like how you look, you need to figure out what you would like. Be reasonable. Don’t even let your mind go to a place that involves surgery. Do you want some muscle? Maybe you want to be a bit leaner, or a bit less thin? Find ways to change your eating and activity to help you attain your goal. And the goal is to have a body that you can look at nude in the mirror, and be pleased with.