Physical Self-Esteem: Accept Your Body
You don’t want to look in the mirror, you’re afraid of taking pictures, and you even edit pictures of yourself on the computer to fix the “ugly” parts of your body. Fashion, social pressure, and comparison are all enemies that cause a lot of harm and take away the love you have for your body.
The body, understood as the physical entity that allows you to act in the external world, is an extremely important part of yourself. Your body, your emotions, and your thought form a whole that differentiates you from everyone else. Today’s standards of beauty and erroneous perceptions of health have led you to hate the shell that houses you.
Understand your body
To offer your body all the respect it deserves, start by understanding it. It’s not a villain that wants to cause you harm. In fact, it usually behaves perfectly, and you can find a great ally in all its complexity, especially if you know how to interpret its signs.
Even when you don’t take enough care of it, your body is the shield that protects you from outside attacks. You’re probably the one who usually hurts this special friend of yours by eating unhealthy food, dieting excessively, or not exercising enough.
That body you hate so much, that you don’t want to see reflected in the mirror, that you hide from your partner by turning off the light when you get intimate, or that you cover up with certain clothes, is the one that will accompany you for the rest of your life. You have the power to change it and improve it, but sometimes this is incompatible with what you want.
Body and fashion
The media, advertisements, and society are so powerful that they can make girls stop eating so they can look like a model, or make boys go to the gym to lift weights so they can be as attractive as Hollywood actors.
However, the meaning of “beauty” in terms of the body is quite relative, and it changes over time. For example, during the Renaissance, beautiful women were larger. In Arab culture, girls who are too thin are not sought out by men for marriage. And there are dozens of other examples.
The body is the best piece of technology we have. You want to change a part of it? Well of course, everything can be improved. But that doesn’t mean you have to despise what it already is.
Do you like your body?
Most people are dissatisfied with their bodies. Thin people want to be more curvy, while other people want to be skinnier. Tall people are tired of seeing the world from up high, and short people want to be taken more seriously.
If you don’t like your body, know that you’re like most of the population. Think about the following questions: why don’t you like it? What about it are you unhappy with? Wow could you improve it? Are there any parts of it that you do like?
If you want to change a part of your body, think about whether that modification is really necessary. Identify the reason you want to make this change. Is it because you just don’t like it, or because you’re comparing it with other people? In any case, if you’re really that serious about changing it, you should consult a professional and let them advise you.
Start to accept your body
Accepting your body doesn’t mean sitting idly by and not changing anything. It means starting the day by loving yourself and understanding your beauty, inside and out. One exercise that might help you is standing in front of the mirror, if possible without clothes, and analyzing every inch, paying a lot of attention to what you see and how it makes you feel.
You might reject it at first, but after a few minutes you’ll get used to it. Focus your gaze on your hair, your face, your torso, your legs. Linger on the parts you like the most (your nose, your shoulders, your eyes, etc.).
Then look at the parts you don’t like. But this time, instead of criticizing them, try something else: accept them. It might seem easy in theory, but not so much in practice.
Do you have eyes that allow you to see? A mind that allows you to evaluate? A nose that allows you to breathe? Legs that walk where you tell them? Skin that feels touch? A heart that beats? Look at your body from a fair perspective, not through the judgments made by the media.
Aside from observing yourself, another way to give your body a hand is to pay attention to what it does. This involves being mindful of it in the shower and not letting your mind wander to what you’re going to do after, playing sports and feeling your heart speed up, or walking and feeling the freedom of movement.
Finally, don’t forget about all the people who want to have a body like yours, because they exist. Accept your shape, your irregularities, your contours, and your size. You are more then just the container that holds you; you are also your thoughts, ideas, and emotions.
“For me, sculpture is the body. My body is my sculpture.”