Daniel shared this really beautiful video with me this morning about a guy who lost a tremendous amount of weight and struggled with dealing with the excess skin that comes after losing so much weight. He bravely put himself out there to be accountable to his message of self-love.
For whatever reason this brought up a memory for me that pops up every now and again… about 9 years ago I was working at H&M in NY. There was a girl that I shared shifts with occasionally. I don’t remember her name, what she looked like or how often we interacted. I only remember one thing about her, a comment she made about my body. She did not say it in malice or anger, I remember, but it was said in a very factual manner. She said, “It looks like you’ve been enjoying the New York cuisine. I can see you’ve put on some weight around the middle. It’s ok, it happens to everyone when they move here.”
At the time, I thought, is it normal for people to talk so freely about other people’s bodies out here? So matter of fact?! (No, it’s not – if you were wondering). The interesting thing about her statement is that 9 years later it has stuck with me and is the ONLY thing about her I remember… I guess my message is two-fold:
- Watch what you say to people, because if they remember nothing else about you, they WILL remember your words. Whether they were life giving or not. Speak wisely.
- This message from a girl I don’t remember has made a huge subconscious impact on my body-love over the years. I’ve given this girl that I don’t know, power over how I feel about myself.
The biggest secret about self-love is simple… it’s a choice. It’s not always an easy choice, but it’s a choice none the less. Thankfully, it’s also a choice that gets easy over time. You can choose to give someone that power or take it away. You can choose to give YOURSELF power for self love or take it away.
The afternoon before my surprise party I thought I was getting ready to go on a date with Daniel. I was bloated and not feeling particularly cute that day. I tried on at least 3 outfits before we left the house, the first 2 did not fit me well and in that particular moment I felt uncomfortable. I was upset about the way I looked and my body. I gave myself 15 minutes to be upset. However, in that upset, I did not call myself names or belittle my body. I said something like, “I don’t like the way this feels. I don’t like feeling bloated and I want to tone up my stomach more. I want to focus on eating well and make sure I get 30 minutes of activity a day.” I probably cried a little while I was saying this. Tried on the 3rd outfit (which I actually felt really cute in), took a deep breath, and started getting ready again. I had to choose to move on. I had to choose to love my body even though I didn’t feel my best right in that moment. I had to choose to appreciate that God has blessed me with THIS body and I will also choose to take care of it and live healthfully mentally, physically and spiritually.
Look at yourself in the mirror. Know that your body is a gift from God.
I’ve been working on body-love for a while now and it’s been a rough road, but even on my worst days being able to look in the mirror and say all the positive things I’m going to do better… rather than rip myself apart is life changing. This man’s ability to stand in front of a camera / mirror and say, “This is terrifying, but I am going to show you who I am and love my body no matter how you feel about it” Is a beautiful thing.
Body love takes courage, it’s choosing to face the things about ourselves we don’t like and finding a way to love our body as we fight to be our healthiest selves – inside and out.
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