When I was looking for an image to illustrate this blog post, I typed in “body image” into Google. All the images were in relation to female body image. This is no surprise to me as I do feel there is more pressure on females to look a certain way it is scary that there was very little that alluded to males.
Before I get into it I just want to make it clear that this post is directed at things we are able to change about our body through natural means.
It is no secret that the human body comes in numerous shapes and sizes and with our innate desire to be accepted by others it is no surprise that the majority of us have “body goals”. As we scroll through our Instagram feed we are constantly bombarded with images of more than perfect people who embody the perfect physique and the body that we desire, or at least the body that we’re told we should desire. Because of this our subconscious tells us that the way we are isn’t acceptable and there are very few body types that are actually deemed acceptable. In turn, to promote positive body image we are constantly being told to love our bodies no matter the shape or size which is a nice sentiment, however does this lead to the alienation of people who do not love their bodies.
I am a firm believer that having a positive self body image is vital to a person’s general happiness. Being able to look in the mirror and like the person staring back at you is kind of a luxury but it would be naive of us to think that this is common. We all have our insecurities and imperfections which may be detrimental to the way we perceive ourselves and with the emergence of selfie culture publicly posting photos of ourselves has become the norm. However it’s important to remember that with selfies come filters and other forms of image alteration which only reinforces the idea that none of us are truly happy with our image. Finding the right filter and playing with image settings has become a science because of our need to be accepted by our peers. God forbid we actually post a selfie where the caption “I woke up like this” rings true.
So you don’t like your body, now what? Sure you can learn to love it, or you can just change it. Now i’m not advocating plastic surgery or botox or any kind of unnatural body modification but if you do want to do that then thats your choice. But saying to yourself “I think I’m a bit overweight” or “I’m too thin” or “I want to be more toned” even though on the surface this is seen as having a negative self image what this really is, is a starting point for you to turn something negative into a positive. Losing weight or putting on weight naturally is a great thing for any of us to achieve. It is no easy feat and some of us will be better at it than others. But having goals and taking the necessary steps to achieve them will give you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction within itself. We advocate a mindset that if we are not happy with something then we should change it, so why not do the same with our bodies. We shouldn’t have to “learn to love” something. What does this even mean? Learning to love and just simply loving are two completely different things. Learning is forced, loving is not so it’s kind of an oxymoron. Having said this though, one day you might wake up and all of a sudden have a more positive perception of yourself.
For me personally, this is something that I’ve never spoken to anyone about, but I have a really poor self image. I can’t stand to look at myself in a mirror which makes washing my hands at public bathrooms quite a harrowing experience for me. Whenever there is a mirror present my only thought is making sure I don’t make eye contact with it. And for those of you that follow me on social media you will notice a lack of selfies and just generally photos I have taken of myself. However you will find a few if you scroll further back. I envy people that are able to post selfies of themselves and their friends in any environment, any lighting, any situation. On numerous occasions I have refused to take selfies or photos for snapchat when out with friends and this is one of the reasons why. It was also a factor for why I started vlogging, as a means of not learning to “love” my face but more of a sense of desensitising myself towards it. This seems like a crazy concept but there it is, perhaps my biggest demon. It’s not all doom and gloom however there are days when I am okay with how I look even though those days are particularly rare. This is mainly in regards to my face, I have had a lot of problems with my body, often seeing myself as too skinny. On numerous occasions I’ve been told that I am losing weight or that I am simply just “skin and bone” and even though people take little note of these comments they do hurt me slightly especially when it is something I am trying so hard to change. Putting on weight has proven to be a very difficult task for me as lately I have found myself not being able to stomach that much food. Even after a Tesco meal deal I have almost reached my limit and I haven’t been to a buffet in ages.
Rah, didn’t expect that to get so personal but I feel like it is an important subject and something we should all be aware of. If someone says to us that they are not happy with their body, if it is something that they are able to control i.e weight, then instead of saying “learn to love yourself” why not encourage them to change it. In a world now where we are able to change our sex and we are commending people for doing so why is it a different story for our bodies. Do we tell people to learn to love their sex. I am aware that there are numerous factors that make it harder for some of us to change our bodies than others but do you know what I don’t have time for? People who complain that they are “too fat” then don’t do anything about it. If you’re not willing to attempt to take the necessary actions to lose weight then do you even really hate being “fat” that much? So yes all body types are acceptable, there is someone out there that will love you for you but not loving your body is also fine. If you want to change it, then do that, don’t believe that you have to love the way you are because in reality, is that true for any of us?
P.S You are all already “beach-body ready”.