Learn to love your body
There are some scary statistics about body image out there! It’s really worrying that over 90% of women are unhappy with their body and then resort to crazy diets and ineffective exercise regimes to try and look like the 5% of the women who naturally possess bodies that the magazines tell us we should strive to achieve!
Not only is this an unrealistic expectation on how we should look and unachievable it also creates low self esteem which follows on to create a whole list of problems for people such as eating disorders, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and general unhappiness.
It’s images like the Victoria Secret ‘Love my body’ Campaign which are photoshopped and promoting unhealthy body image in women!
Society Defines Beauty
Considering how our society defines beauty could help in relieving some of the pressures we feel are placed on us. What is driving the definition of beauty? How can we try to release ourselves from the pressure this definition places on us?
Firstly, the question: what is beauty? This question is quite hard to answer, as beauty is subjective. It’s in the eye of the beholder. It is interesting to note that what I may find beautiful is different from what you find beautiful. This fact will push me to try to convince you to agree that what I find beautiful is in fact beautiful. I am searching for a consensus from you. Of course this is also true when you try to convince me what you find beautiful is beauty as well.
Rarely is this consensus reached as people have their own beliefs, and what I find beautiful, is simply not your idea of beauty. For example, someone from a fashion background may find “very slim” the perfect example of someone beautiful (if we are going to talk about bodies) whilst someone from the fitness industry may decide that a “toned body” is what is truly beautiful.
Each will try to convince the other of their standard of beauty and what is beautiful. Furthermore, we decide what is aesthetically pleasing based on experience, upbringing, our peers, our environment, culture, personal preference, trends, social pressures and a desire to fit in.
Beauty is defined by our environment
Our preferences can also change in our lifetime dependent on, usually, external environmental pressures. We may change our group of peers, fashion may change, we many find an alternative style and so forth.
However, when we come to the conclusion something is beautiful it is still hard to define it, most people claiming they know beauty when they see it rather than being able to define it.
There is really no way to define what is beautiful as it is so subjective. You will never reach a consensus on it. As they say: you may be the juiciest peach in the room but there will still be someone who doesn’t like peaches.
What is really beautiful to you
So where does this leave us? Once we strip away the layers of what beauty is, the aesthetic we are left with is beauty on the inside. In your lifetime, there will be significant changes to fashion, your body and your looks.
The concept of what is beautiful to you will also change. What is left has to have substance, like the inner beauty of being the person you want to be. Again this is also subjective and has to be beautiful to you.
So how do you go about this change? It’s not that easy to ignore the overwhelming voice which society and marketers shout at us – be skinny, be tanned, be prettier, desire objects, buy my product…
Firstly, you have to understand that trying to achieve something that is intangible like being as thin as those girls in the magazine is always going to end in failure and heartache, as it is unachievable. And not because you’re not good enough to achieve it but because its not real.
Create beauty worth living for
It is a fantasy created for us to want to buy into which is harming us. If you realise and accept this fact, you’re on your way to having a better body image. You have to stop chasing an illusion and start chasing something real and worth achieving!
For example, if your goal was to be a size minus 20 try focusing on something that will actually make you feel good about yourself, like learning to eat a healthy diet, or improving your fitness for vitality rather than eating to starve yourself and exercising to be bone thin.
You can see we have swap two negative goals with two positive healthy goals. It’s good to question what your goals are trying to really achieve and if they will have a positive impact on your longevity rather than the short term.
You should love and be proud of your body! You only have one so take care of it, move and enjoy it! Stop the negative talk and move into positive thoughts!
Remember you have this body for a lifetime and in that lifetime the idea of external beauty will change because it is subjective. However, internal beauty will be constant throughout your life, so you should invest in making your life better, your soul healthier and your person stronger.
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About the Author
Elle has a passion for women's fitness and helping girls improve their self-image through fitness. Her vision is to create a CrossFit gym, which allows women to learn how to move, build their strength, learn to be healthy and gain respect for their bodies showing them how amazing they really are! Find out more