What is the line between self-love and body abuse?
When are we embracing our bodies and when are we mistreating them?
When should we “embrace our curves” and when should we see them as troublesome?
When should we “love being slender” and when should we seek help?
There are so many questions surrounding body love and acceptance and they create this visual world that’s walking on eggshells. We can’t be too outspoken about others because they could be sensitive and because it isn’t our business. But then when it comes to our loved ones, a mutual concern for their well being makes the situation even trickier.
So lets take judgement, both positive and negative, out of the equation. Lets focus on ourselves. It’s not an easy task, so you have to be up for it.
Most people can’t be honest with themselves – and that’s where this need for “self-love” has made its self so known in the last few years.
Could you be honest with yourself if you were overweight? Could you look in the mirror and tell yourself that there is work to do? Not for the clothes you want to wear or for that number on the scale – but for yourself. For your health. For your body.
Could you be honest with yourself if you were underweight? Could you see that slender figure deemed ‘perfect’ by the media and know that it’s not the truth? Putting on weight can be as difficult as getting it off. Maybe not physically – but mentally.
We need to love ourselves, we need to accept ourselves and our flaws. No one is perfect and no one ever will be – so striving for perfection is a futile effort. Instead we need to strive to be the best possible versions of ourselves.
What does that mean?
We need to love. We need to work hard. We need to enjoy life. We need to be healthy.
We can make as many arguments as we want that the links between obesity and certain diseases are feeble. We can say the same about anorexia and bulimia. People say the same about the effects of smoking and drinking.
That doesn’t make them true. It doesn’t make them untrue either. Studies and research show so many different sets of information that require interpreting and application, getting to the truth isn’t always black and white.
So what are the facts? What can I work with? Yourself.
Your body is what you need to be most concerned about. How you look and how you feel. Not the way your JEANS look – pay attention to your skin, to your hair, to your nails. Your body will tell you so much more than your pant size.
Skinny fat is a real term because just because you’re thin doesn’t mean you’re healthy. Just like just because you’re curvy doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy. You don’t need to listen to other’s judgements on your size and shape, but you do need to listen to your own.
Are you thin because that’s your natural shape? Are you eating enough and exercising enough? Are you full of energy and ready to take on the day? Or are you fighting yourself to fit an external mould? Are you telling your body who you should be?
Are you curvy because of your genetics? Are your portions controlled and physical exercise a part of your life? Is the weight carried in appropriate places while still seeing the results of your exercise? Or are you ‘loving’ yourself and denying reality?
You can be thin and healthy. You can be thick and healthy. There is no doubt.
But there is a distinct difference between simply being thin and thin & healthy.
There is that same difference between being thick and thick & healthy.
Self-love does not mean loving your body the way that it is – self love means loving your body the way it was meant to be. Just because your body did not come with an instruction manual does not mean it’s maintenance free.
Take care of your body for yourself, your family and the life you want to live. You only get one body – your family only gets one you. Whether you are a mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle or simply a loved one – lead by example.
Do you want your children to be healthy? Who do you think they’ll learn from?
Do you want your siblings to be healthy? Who do you think can motivate them?
Do you want your parents to live well into old age? Who do you think can help them?
Your body does not care if you work two jobs, have children and go to school full time. It needs you to take care of it the way you would the rest of your priorities.
Self-love is not accepting what happens to your body when other obligations get in the way. Self-love is making your body an obligation.