Let's Talk Body Image and Self Love

Hey, it's the holiday season. Did you notice that? Yeah, the weather has been weird, but that hasn't stopped people from posting their elf on the shelf pics and gift guides and whatnot. I've been conceptualizing this post for a while now, and I hadn't really planned for it to be a Christmas post or anything, but it just seems appropriate at this time of year. You're going to see family and friends, and if you are like me and live far away, you might not have seen them in a while. You might be feeling a little apprehensive or shy or embarrassed about people seeing the weight you've gained (or lost!), even if you have otherwise felt comfortable in your skin. There's something about going months without seeing people that makes you want to really self-aware of how you've changed since you've last seen them. That's how it is with me, anyway.

I've been reading some really great stuff lately, stuff about body image and being okay with weight gain and about feeling good about yourself through the holidays and in general. Whenever I come across this type of story, I read it immediately. I can't help myself. This piece does a wonderful job of talking about the fear of being photographed, letting go of your ideas of what other people are thinking about your weight gain, and accepting yourself. This piece talks smartly about health vs. size, thinking about your health rather than your weight, loving yourself at your current size, and not waiting for the day you think you're thin enough to do x, y, or z.

Videos like this one and many more have been unveiling just how much of an impact programs like photoshop have on the images we see in the media, and how unrealistic it is to try to measure up to images of models and celebrities when they don't even look like that themselves without being retouched.

We've also seen some celebrities speaking out about beauty and saying some really great, positive things.


I love all of these quotes, and I think they all contribute to a larger conversation about what beauty is and how significant it should be in your life. Jennifer Lawrence particularly has been quoted saying lots of good things about women and body image (love her) this year, but lots of other female celebrities have spoken up about this issue this year and in previous years. There have started being moves to start having a better range of models across size, ethnicity, and age (see here), as well as moves toward more realistic looking mannequins (here).

All of this is to say that there have been some positive strides, and if you aren't as keyed in to the news as I am, especially on this issue, know that mixed in with all of the fake, airbrushed, discouraging images that make you feel so much less than perfect, there are also some inspiring, uplifting, hopeful things as well. 

I've talked about some of my ideas about and views on weight loss here, so I won't repeat everything I said there, but I feel like you need to love yourself holistically, especially in this season of merriment and depression and lots of family packed into one space and break up season and so much food everywhere season. When I look at my body with a critical eye, there are lots of things I would like to change. I could rattle off a list of something I would change about just about every part of my body. And yet, if I had the ability to switch bodies with someone else, just to step into their skin and keep my mind without repercussions, I don't think I could choose someone, because there are so many different people that I think are absolutely gorgeous and they all look different from one another and if I stepped into one of their bodies I would still be jealous of those other women I think are beautiful, and when it comes down to it, I wouldn't feel like me without my body.

So what can I do other than accept myself for who I am and love myself unconditionally? I can make goals for myself, I can seek to improve myself, but I can and must also love myself no matter what. If I can't do it, how can I expect anyone else to?

Saddle up, ladies (and gents, if you're reading)! Challenge yourself not to shy away from the camera this year. Check out some flattering poses and don't let another year go by unrecorded. Don't wait for a New Year's resolution, don't wait for a certain size or measurement or number on the scale, don't wait for a guy to notice you to feel good about yourself, don't wait don't wait don't wait, and most of all, don't rely on anyone else to tell you you're worth something or you're beautiful or that you matter. You have tell it to yourself every day, and you have to believe it, even if it takes more work some days than others. It's totally okay to feel insecure sometimes (everyone has their moments), and I would definitely never tell you otherwise. Confidence is something to aspire to, but it's not something all of us come by naturally. Still, if you love yourself and know that you're beautiful, you will naturally be less worried about other people thinking differently. 

I would love to hear your thoughts on body image and self love, and what techniques you use to feel good about yourself!

Yours Truly, Jen

3 comments

  1. first, i want to thank you for the timing of this post. if the sted's engw department taught us nothing else, it taught us to be exigent. kudos on that.

    second, you hit on something in this post that i've never read or heard anywhere else when discussing body image and body comparison. i have never considered the idea that i would be in someone else's body, and still have jealous feelings of wanting to look like someone else. i am completely shocked by this concept. i think it needs to be shared to much wider audiences. you should send this off to a publication like jezebel or refinery 29 or lucky or something.

    third, i'm also really glad that you wrote about how difficult it is to take photos of oneself. this is something i struggle with constantly as a blogger, but also something that lots of people in my life struggle with just as people who sometimes have their photo taken. this doesn't really get easier for me, but some days it's better than others.

    thanks for an awesome post. will definitely be sending this around.

    xo nicole
    writeslikeagirlblog.com

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  2. Thanks! That idea of comparison has been something that I've thought about since high school and I don't think I've ever really expressed it to anyone until now. If everyone I admired or wanted to look like looked the same, that would be one thing, but there are so many different kinds of beauty that even if I were drop dead gorgeous, I would still covet those other styles of beauty. I think jealousy if human nature and it's healthy to wish for more, and those are things that I recognize but also try to keep in check so that I can also be satisfied with what I have and who I am. I'm so bad about sending things out for publication, but maybe I will re-format this into an essay and send it somewhere!

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  3. I love this! I just wrote about the same thing today from a slightly different perspective. It's wonderful to see people starting to stand up against body shaming and start talking about loving our bodies as they are.

    http://sewmysoul.blogspot.com/2013/12/no-such-thing-as-bridal-body.html

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