Friday, December 27, 2013

Learning to Love Me

Stretch marks, flabby stomach, bat wings, cellulite, a weird belly button, ugly feet, gray hair, wrinkles that have suddenly appeared on my cheeks, weird bags under my eyes that no one else sees, sparse eyebrows, blonde short eyelashes, saggy boobs, hair that's turning gray, a flat butt, thick thighs.....

I'll just stop there. It's the short start of a long list of things I don't like about the way I look. I could keep going but I won't. 

On my annual bucket list, I always pick a challenge or two. This year, I've picked the challenge of all challenges. . .

to learn to love my body. 

To make the challenge even more daunting, I mean love it no matter my weight or my clothing size. I mean loving my body no matter what. 

I hate failure so I'm starting early. I have 352 days and I think I'm going to need every single one. 

I've spent a good amount of time the last few days reading a book, reading articles online, and basically researching how other's have learned to love their bodies. 

And I'm disappointed. 

I'm not saying there's a right way or a wrong way but for me, I can't learn to love my body by looking for acceptance from a man. No offense, but men are part of the reason I loathe my own skin. My first husband swore he cheated because I'd let myself go. Even my own dad told me when I was 15 that he cheated on mom because "she let herself go." My first boyfriend dictated how I look. Let's just say they haven't helped. 

I've read article after article that says that I should look at myself through "his" eyes.....the expert points out that most men are just excited to see you naked, that they don't care about your stretch marks or wrinkles or flabby butt. The experts seem to say accept yourself the way others see you. This seems just plain....


Accepting myself the way others see me is all well and good and fine if I'm looking through the eyes of someone who thinks I'm spectacular. But what about the person who doesn't? 

I want to learn to really love my body, not judge my own body based on someone else's opinion. The truth is there will always be someone who doesn't think I'm attractive or sexy or thinks my thighs are too jiggly, big, or whatever. Who cares? This is about me! 

I don't know how to make this happen but I'm trying. "How," you ask? 

Here's where I'm starting:
  • Permission - I am going to give myself permission to feel sexy, beautiful, and strong. Rarely (but occassionally), I'll have a moment where I look in the mirror and think, "Dang girl, not bad at all. In fact, you might be a little sexy Heather." Then just as quickly, I'm reminded by an inner voice that says I'm arrogant, superficial, and egotistical for thinking that so just as quickly I start pointing out the things that aren't so good. As of right now, I'm giving myself permission to feel sexy, beautiful, and strong. 
  • Banishing Negative Talk - Give a group of women five minutes and within 2 or 3, we'll be complaining about something related to how we look. Here's your warning friends...I will NOT participate in negative image talk. I will not complain about my thighs but I also won't listen to you complain about yours. Let's be each other's cheerleaders and avoid the body-bashing train wreck. 
  • Accept Compliments - It sounds and feels foreign but from now on, I'm going to just say thank you when someone compliments me. Gone are the days where I argue with you. When someone tells me I have great hair, I'm going to avoid telling them it's turning gray. When someone tells me I'm looking great, I'm not going to point out that I have 40 lbs left to go. I'm going to respond to compliments with Thank You. 
  • Marvel at the Magic - If I really think about it, my body is pretty magical. Oh, not like you think but last night, I was thinking of it like's given birth to two amazing sons. Fed them even. My bones have been broken and healed. I had skin cancer removed and still my skin survived. I can walk, run even. It's been strong enough to carry an extra 80 lbs. I breathe, I live, I move...all with this body I'm quick to loathe. 
  • Dance - I'm going to admit something to you...the only time I really ever feel sexy is when I'm dancing like no one is watching. There's fluidity and grace and creativity and passion and a certain flowing quality. I usually think I lack grace and am more like a bull in a china shop, but when I dance, all that goes away. It's liberating to move your body to some awesome music. I don't even care if I'm a good dancer! 
Well, there's where I'm starting. I'd love other ideas. . . if you've got them, share them. 

No comments:

Post a Comment