When you take a gander at your reflection, what’s the first thing that catches your eye? I’m betting it’s not your emerald eyes, your joyful grin or your infectious inner glow.
Instead, you probably zero in on the width of your thighs, the bulge of your stomach, the sagging skin of your upper arms or some other area of perceived imperfection.
We live in a culture of self-loathing. Negative body image is our normal. Hating ourselves is an American tradition.
But it’s not normal — it’s a warped, distorted, screwy version of normal. Normal should be a healthy sense of self-love and appreciation for our physicality.
Our bodies are precious vessels. They weren’t uniformly designed for thigh gaps and six-pack abs and double D boobs; they weren’t made to morph themselves to the whim of a certain generation’s aesthetic preferences. They were created to allow us to live a lifetime in the physical world, and they’re pretty damn exceptional at it.
So why is it so hard for us to love what we look like?
All of us have been beaten over the head with our defects, mainly because our culture is all about sales — a million different “cures” for our imaginary ailments.
If we loved ourselves unconditionally, we’d be crappy consumers.
Almost EVERYONE suffers from the unrealistic and unimportant ideals society has forced upon us — even those who come the closest to meeting them. No one is immune, y’all, Contagion-style.
It’s hard for us to look on ourselves kindly because we’ve been told not to. We’ve been told we’re flawed, imperfect and in need of fixing. But none of that’s true. And we can turn it around.
We can train ourselves to see the positives — to look in the mirror and immediately zero in on what we love about our appearance.
When I pass a mirror nowadays, I look at it and say, “I love you” (Louise Hay style). Sound stupid? Whelp, so does saying, “Oh Jesus I look disgusting. Look at my hideous hair! I look exhausted. My skin looks saggy and my eyes look squinty. My nose is too big. I hate that stupid chicken pox scar.” And so on.
Which of those options makes more sense to you? Which sounds like a happier choice?
It takes work. We have to reverse a lifetime of de-programming. We have to make self-love a habit. We have to turn the mirror into our BFF by refusing to criticize what we see.
Be kind. Be gentle. Be lavish with your praise. You’ll be happier.
(If you need some more incentive, check out this fantastic Facebook post. And follow this chick. She rocks.)