Short. That was the first word I thought of about myself when I watched the video from The Body Image Movement. Did you see how the women were asked to use one word to describe their body? Not only did most women use negative words, many of the women couldn't keep it to one word. As if saying one negative thing about themselves wasn't enough. It had to be more. They needed to elaborate on it. It's as if they were describing why they aren't worthy of being loved. Don't love me-I'm wobbly. Don't love me-I'm stumpy. Don't love me-I'm gross. Don't love me-I'm imperfect. And then there are the Dove videos about women's images of themselves and Colbie Caillat's "Try" video. These are heart breaking. I see myself in the women who think hard about which door to walk through. I wrestle with the idea of walking out the door without makeup and how good I think an outfit looks on me.
So what happens when we feel like our appearance is offensive to others? When we think our least flattering angle is any angle when others are in the room? Where does that place us when we are pursuing degrees or promotions? How does that impact how we relate to our friends, partners, and children? What happens when we interact with someone that is or that we perceive to be an authority figure? How does it play out for us when we are preparing for and giving birth?
I know it had and has an impact on all of those situations for me. Because when you think of yourself as not-enough, then everyone else seems like they are more than you. You put them on a pedestal while you hate on yourself in the mirror before you even walk out the door. In those moments, the person who mattered most has abandoned you. You. You matter most. Your opinion of yourself matters the most. You are the one who needs to feel like you're enough. No one else can tell you you're enough and have it mean something unless you've taken that step. It feels like a risk. There are industries that need you to feel like you're not enough. There are societal norms that help us develop and hone this way of thinking. And while many people aren't intentionally reinforcing this, it is reinforced every day. When you start looking, you'll start seeing how pervasive this is. But your belief in and admiration for yourself is stronger than all of this.
I've been interested in Masaru Emoto's work with water crystals. How they change just from being shown a word or listening to music. What impact do these negative words have on our bodies which are mostly made of water? If we constantly think and speak negatively about ourselves, do we change our water structure and what does that mean for our health? What happens if we flip it and start focusing on positivity?
Almost a year ago, I posted a blog post kind of like the one I'm writing now. It was really hard to write a post titled "Your Perfect Body," when my body was struggling to go into effective labor. It was hard when I had such high hopes for my labor and I wasn't sure I could do it. But I tried to find a least one thing my body was doing perfectly. In reality, my body does millions of things perfectly every day. My heart beats, my cells regenerate, my lungs fill and empty-all without appreciation from me. But now, Dear Body, I see you for everything you do. I see you for the beauty you have and for your special place in this world. I'm looking forward to learning more about you. The new words I offer to you as a description of you are powerful and surprising.
How about you? What do you think about your body? What do you want to see about your body? (Comment on Facebook to be entered into a drawing.)