Overheard in the dressing room today, “you look skinny, you look beautiful, you look great”.
I winced, felt my body tense, and I hoped that you would get my telepathic messages from the other side of the dressing room- “Noooooooo!”, “How do you feel?”, “How does it fit?”, “Does it make you shine from the inside out?”
YOU ARE COMPLEX AND MAGNIFICENT IN SO MANY WAYS
Hearing this message in the dressing room wasn’t a surprise, unfortunately it happens often. It’s the way society teaches us to evaluate and be critical of beauty (among other things). It does do harm in the long run though. When you hear a message often and for a long time it can sink in to your belief system and make you think that you are supposed to look a certain way. Those words in the dressing room equate an arbitrary number to a person’s worth and beauty. Also, eating and body image issues are not just “women’s problems”. Studies are showing that more people are becoming aware of the gender-neutral nature of eating disorders and body image issues.
REPLACING THE NUMBER WITH INTUITION.
What would it be like to be kind to your body, treat your body with respect, and trust your body? This can look a lot of different ways so it’s okay to explore this for a bit. Body kindness is a self-care mindset that says health begins by being good to yourself. What’s your relationship like with your here and now body? What would it be like to think about the fit and feel and not the number? I had to practice this myself today when I asked for the dressing attendant’s help. When they tried to ask about my size, I told them that it was more important for me to notice how it felt on my body. Right away, they started to communicate with me they way I asked them to.
TAKING CARE OF OURSELVES AND EACH OTHER
Be kind and compassionate to yourself along the way and demand that from others in return. This is about being mindful and increasing awareness about how we treat and take care of ourselves and each other. This is a journey of unlearning the beauty standards that are imposed on us and relearning the ways we need and want to treat our own unique body, mind, and soul.
People of all sizes have concerns related to weight but the problem is not all with the body. If you are concerned about an aspect of your health, whether that be medical, nutritional, or psychological, I would encourage you to make an informed decision about it and check it out with a professional who knows about the concern you have. Practice and learn to trust your intuition, especially with food and body stuff. It can be challenging at first but it is so worthwhile.