I think we all can agree on this. We are always constantly comparing ourselves to the newest fitness magazine model or the confident people jogging shirtless down the sidewalk. We seem them--we ultimately want to be them. We think that once we start running, lifting, swimming, etc.-- we can be those people--which we can. My problem with this constant comparison is that it ruins us. It ruins us from embracing our own bodies and torments us as we sit in the mirror hating ourselves.
Why do we do this?
I believe we do this because our society's constant obsession with the concept: if we look perfect, our lives will be perfect, therefore, no one can judge. We all have an idea in our heads of what our life is supposed to look like, or in this case, what we are supposed to look like. So we throw ourselves into a never-ending self-shaming cycle--giving up our self-esteems to people who don't matter and torment ourselves into constant mindset of not enoughs.
So here is my story:
From my early teens on, I always compared myself to people. Whether it was in a gym class or at the beach, in my head, I was never good enough. My body wasn't toned and I never wanted to take off my shirt. I was completely an utterly ashamed of myself. I hated the way I looked and find myself, to this day, comparing myself.
The phrase,"you can forgive people, but you will never forget how they made you feel" is definitely something I think about. I was made to feel this way. From constant reminders from people who were not real friends and random comments from family members, it ruined my self-esteem. So the conclusion of this was "If I'm fat or eat lots--I will never be worthy." In a way this ignited my lifelong passion for holistic health and well being, but quite literally fucked up the view I had for myself. Body shaming must stop. Once one word is said, it will eat that person alive--even if they trick themselves into not thinking about it; it will come back in some horrible form.
At first (7-9 grade), I lost weight in a very unhealthy way, gained it all back and then some. I found myself, a senior in high school, at the heaviest I had ever been. I was full of shame. I hated how I felt about my body and would tell myself every day how horrible I looked. I recently read one of my journals, from this time, and it obsessively talked about my body and how I could get thinner--this was one of the saddest, most depressing things I have ever written. The saddest thing is: no one knew this. No one knew because I always had a smile on my face and tried to speak positively.
Once I came to college in the fall of 2013, I made it my goal to become the "best version of myself." The person who embraced every messy part of himself and was determined to love his mind, BODY, and soul fully. I chose to start telling myself how much I loved the person looking back in the mirror, challenged myself to reinstate a healthy relationship with food, and radiate the beauty that I truly was. There was plenty of downs, but the ups made the journey worthwhile.
Since my first year of college, I have lost 25 pounds. I am the healthiest and fittest I have ever been. Every now and then people ask me how I did it. Along with the dedication to me, myself, and I, the most important thing I can say is that YOU NEED TO UNCONDITIONALLY LOVE YOURSELF. It seems simple, but it's not. I believe once you learn to do this, everything will fall into place--mind, body, soul. In doing this, another piece of wisdom I heard from my favorite yoga instructor, "Would you talk to your neighbors, friends, and family the way you are talking to yourself at this very moment?" My answer, "hell no."
This body journey is one that challenges me every day. I am constantly reminding myself not to compare and to embrace what my body does for me and yes I do have to tell myself, every day, how outrageously sexy I am (we all are, embrace it--right now). It has been a life of challenges, but I would not be who I am today without them.
So dear friends and readers, love your body. Love what it can do and never feel the perpetuated shame from your past. All we have is right now. We have this very moment to love ourselves and start a life where we are unconditionally in love with ourselves. Stop talking badly about your body and give it some props for keeping you alive for this long.
We are all in this together.
Be inspired. Stay Positive. Love Yourself.