WHY WE SHOULD ALL STOP BODY SHAMING OURSELVES
............ ALSO KNOW AS - EVERY BODY IS A BEACH READY BODY
Do you remember that? All the controversy in 2015 around the 'is your body a beach ready body' advertising scheme as seen in London metro stations?
Of course there was going to be backlash, but lots of humour too.
It did however strike a chord with me; when it comes to body shaming - we are our own worst enemies. There is no critic as harsh as us when we look at ourselves in the mirror - or even worse in photos
We just don't seem to see any of our good points, even if we squint really hard. If we are lucky we will have loving friends and family who will point out our good features, but the negatives that we see for ourselves just seem to outweigh those.
Is it because we are being unrealistic or are deceived by the body beautiful images that surround us on social media? Some of us may have grown up never hearing compliments or not believing the genuineness of those compliments when they are offered to us. We can be blind to the good bits of our bodies through all sorts of emotional issues or historic trauma and nearly all of these are very very deeply seated in our psyche. You can't just squeeze them out like a spot, or rip them away with a wax strip, and even the most expensive concealer won't cover them up. These are blemishes on the inside and no amount of lycra rich supportive underwear can deceive us - we know they are there, we know we are flawed.
But there is another way of looking at our bodies - stop searching for the 'good' bits to say something positive about. Acknowledge the 'bad' bits, accept them and start to love them too.
The photograph above is one taken of me about to step into a lake to swim. When I saw it, my immediate thought was - oh, what a horrid photo - I look so fat - delete it. But I've had a couple of hard stares at it and turned my thinking about it on its head.
Haters can hate - but I'm going to love:
OK, I'm not model size, never have been, never will be - accept it and move on.
This is my body - it has all of its limbs in working order in the right place. It takes me to where I want to go. It contains all my organs and manages all my bodily functions as it should. Despite the fibromyalgia, it does its best to accommodate all my wishes and fulfils all the tasks I ask of it.
Here in the photo, it is about to walk away from the shore and swim in the open waters of a lake - and I'm not even that good a swimmer! Over the years it has done all sorts of wonderful things; it has walked hundreds of thousands of kilometres, it has survived car crashes, falling off a motorcycle, falling of a horse - twice! It has been up mountains, in the sea, I've taken it on planes, trains and automobiles, it has even been on a camel. It has been ill and got better. It grew another human being inside of it. I've burnt it in the sun and I've frozen it in the snow. I've slept in it a few times so it's starting to look a little wrinkled but I keep it clean and treat it to some moisturisers occasionally. I dress it up, I dress it down, I make it totter around in totally unsuitable high heeled shoes and dye its hair all colours of the rainbow on a regular basis. It's not the best body, and somedays I feel it lets me down, but it keeps functioning 100% of the time and has kept me alive so far. So yeah, I guess I love it. I certainly couldn't do without it.
So my message to you is - stop looking at the aesthetics of appearance - appreciate your body for what it actually does for you. Don't judge it by somebody else's standards - judge it on what it achieves for you on a daily basis. Illness and injury may cause it setbacks and make some things harder but it keeps going on, responding to whatever you ask of it as best it can.
It's truly marvellous.