By Susannah Hutcheson, Regular Contributor
The voices in my head often scream out loud at me, and I’m sure you’ve heard them, too.
“No man is ever going to want that.”
“You should probably get a hold of yourself soon.”
“Put down the ice cream, Sus. Sheesh. Ew.”
“You’re never going to be as skinny as her.”
And then, if you’re anything like me, these follow:
“You’re beautiful just the way you are. (At least that’s what you’re supposed to say).”
“You don’t need a man to complete you, though. (But what if I’m 75 and never been married!)
“You really should go to the gym, but you look fine. (No, you don’t).”
“You can have a scoop of ice cream. (But you really shouldn’t).”
“No, you’re never going to be as skinny as her- and that’s okay. (But you want to be).”
Anyone who has ever had body image issues knows the sheer amount of internal struggle that goes on in your head- it’s sad how poorly we talk to ourselves. The things we yell at ourselves and the names we call ourselves aren’t things we would ever say about other people. In fact, we are supposed to love ourselves more than anyone- we are supposed to prioritize our health, our wellbeing, our laughing spirit. But instead, we fixate- on the size of our hips, the scars on our skin, the fat on our thighs. Most of us don’t fixate on the beauty of our eyes, the strong muscles on our calves, the innate beauty of the bruises and stretch marks and scars and freckles that show where we’ve been and all of the places we can go.
Australian writer, speaker, and mother Taryn Brumfitt underwent the same problem- staring at her self in the mirror, being brought to tears by pure hatred for her body. So she decided to change. She spent months transforming her body into the "perfect body". She then entered a fitness competition- and stood in front of a crowd in what was described on her blog as “on a stage in front of a bunch of people, in a bikini, wearing porno shoes.” And, after all this, she still wasn’t convinced that she was beautiful. As a mother, she thought to herself: “How am I going to teach my daughter to love her body, if her mother cannot?”
Since then, Taryn has begun the Embrace campaign. She has now returned to her previous body size, and LOVES herself, stretch marks and all. She's proof that it's not about the size. It's about the self-love.
All of us are put under enormous pressures to look a certain way- whether by the media, by society, or by ourselves. In reality, no one looks perfect: not even Jennifer Aniston. If everyone looked perfect, Photoshop wouldn’t exist and the world would be an exceedingly boring place to live in. Every single one of us adds something innately different to the world- no matter what package we come in: thin, overweight, short, tall, blonde, brunette. Why are we so intent on ignoring this?
This week, here’s my challenge: Every time you step in the mirror, tell yourself ten things that you find fierce or beautiful about your body. It could be anything from “I’m proud of my muscular thighs from playing so much soccer” to “I love the way my collarbone looks.” Anything- it’s all beautiful, so you should give it the praise it deserves. I’ll be taking the challenge, too. Let’s do something good for ourselves.
Let's Chat! Are you insecure about your body? Well take the challenge, starting now! What's your favorite part of your body? Embrace it and share it with us here!
Susannah is a Journalism major, passionate about social justice and Jesus Christ. She loves cold weather, triple-shot lattes, and macaroni and cheese. When she’s not writing papers or baking cookies, you can find her Googling random things on the Internet or watching large amounts of reality television. You can read her ramblings at ileftamessinthekitchen.wordpress.com, or look at pictures of her coffee on Instagram: @susannah.beth.
image via leadingmoms.ca