Let's talk about societal norms, shall we? The ones that look like 5'10" and 110 pounds. The ones that have shaped my view of "beautiful" since the age of 10 when I first realized I had an eating disorder. For example, I've had chunky legs for as long as I can remember. It's just a part of who I am, but I was teased a lot in middle school and high school because I never wore below a size 6.
Think about it--- if you let the notion of what you're supposed to look like disappear into thin air, what would you be happy with?
We'll start with outlining everything you dislike about your body followed by all of the things these parts of your body do for you every day.
Write it down, speak it out loud or into your phone voice memo.
I'll go first:
My legs are chunky (like I said above), but they've taken the literal steps I've needed to take to get to where I am now. They're the legs that will walk me across the stage when I get my Masters degree. They're the legs that will walk my children around the playground. They're the legs that will fall in love over and over again with Jacob while dancing in our living room to T-Pain songs.
My tummy is my least favorite part about my body, but it houses my vital organs that keep me alive. It's the tummy that jiggles when I laugh my ass off at something one of my girlfriends said. It's the tummy that allows me to take deep breaths while meditating and handling anxiety attacks.
My arms aren't exactly toned up, but they have the lilac tattoo I got for my grandmother and mother and the tattoo I got of my grandfather's initials after he died. They're the arms that hold Fenton when I need some snuggles. They're the arms that embrace my loved ones when it's been two months or more since I've seen them. They're the arms that allow me to drink coffee and eat yummy food every day.
My face is rounder than I'd like it to be, but it has my eyes that allow me to see all of the beauty on this earth and read books that fill me with joy. It gives me a mouth to speak my truth and to stand up for others. It gives me ears to listen to the voices of those around me, taking in every piece of information I can.
See what I mean?
This wasn't exactly easy for me to do-- in fact, it took me 3 "come back laters" to finish it.
Society doesn't want you to love your chunky thighs or your tummy or your arms. They want you to disappear into the norms of everyone else, fitting so tightly into a box that you'll burst with insecurity.
I'm not an expert on loving myself. I don't know if I ever will be. But practicing things like what I wrote above gives me peace of mind that someday, I'll be able to look in the mirror and smile. You should try it too.