By: Laura Bishop, Regular Contributor
“Embrace and love your body. It’s the most amazing thing you will ever own.” Author unknown
Ladies, stop using the F-word. Not that F-word, the other one: Fat. Too often this word is used to put ourselves and others down, and it needs to stop. We are all beautiful girls, regardless of our jean size. The real test of beauty should be based on character not on some physical expectation. Believe me, I am as guilty as the rest of us, and have wasted so many hours criticizing myself and agonizing over my weight. At times it’s such a part of me that I don’t even notice when I’m doing it, which is the sad part.
When I was younger, I never felt comfortable in my skin. I was shy and awkward (or so I thought) and constantly compared myself to others. If only my hair was blonder, my freckles lighter, or if my booty wasn’t so big, then maybe I would be happy. But here’s the reality. At one point, I had that blonde hair (no thanks), my freckles disappeared with age, and I lost those curves. And you know what happened? I found other “flaws” to focus on. I set new unattainable goals, all of which did nothing to make me feel better about myself. This way of thinking lead me to hate the girl in the mirror and gravely affected my health, well-being, and self-esteem.
It took years to understand that no matter how hard I worked out at the gym, or how skinny I got, there was always going to be something missing inside until I learned the act of self-love. Bottom line, I didn’t feel good about myself, and that was reflected in the way I treated my body. After some time in therapy, and as I got older (and much wiser), I learned to appreciate my imperfections. I am strong, I am beautiful, and I am flawed. And today, that is perfectly acceptable to me.
My hope is that you can truly see how beautiful you are. It pains me to hear that we’re ripping ourselves, and others apart, instead of loving and supporting one another. Every time the F-word is used, our spirit is broken. Every time we shame ourselves, a friend or even a stranger, someone’s inner light dims. Let’s focus on our positive attributes instead of being preoccupied with negative self-talk. One thing I’ve challenged myself to do, is to become more aware of my inner critic. Whenever, “I’m fat” crosses my mind, I immediately shift my perspective by saying out loud something I like about my appearance, or my accomplishments throughout the day. It’s so simple, yet a constant work in progress.
Can you imagine a life where we didn’t call each other names, like fat, or put someone down for how they looked? I can and it’s amazing. It starts with us, the IATG community, and all the girls out there affected by the ugly F-word. To me, beauty comes from within, exemplified by integrity, courage, and kindness. Beauty is based on our character. Not on our size.
It's no secret that we can do as much damage to ourselves with negative self-talk and criticism that others can do when it comes to body love and self-acceptance. Give Laura's method a try: the next time you find yourself voicing a critical thought about yourself, say something out loud (or write it down where you can see it) that you love about yourself. Tell us about it here!
Laura is a Bay Area native, with a master’s degree in counseling/psychology. She loves helping others become the best versions of themselves. When she’s not working with clients, she can be found spending time with friends and family (especially her little goddaughter), practicing yoga, hiking, and baking cupcakes. She considers it an honor and a privilege to share her voice with the IATG community.
image via organicauthority.com