Negative body image, a topic that we, as a society, bond over. Especially women.
I get it, we need common ground, something we can fall back on when the talk of the weather gets a little too tedious. Something that makes us feel a little less alone with our ‘flaws’.
But surely there are more interesting things to discuss? Conversations that don’t involve how many steps you’ve done today or how wobbly your thighs are?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect, I still find myself engaging in these discussions, I still find myself adding to the already prominent negativity that has been ingrained within me. But I’m just SO tired of it.
I’ve never really considered how much of an impact all this negativity has on us. Day after day, month after month, the same dialogue running through your mind; My skin is awful this week, where did this cellulite come from? Gross. Oh no I’m gaining weight, I’ve not gone to the gym for two weeks, why don’t I have any discipline? I’m disgusting. I’m so ugly, I’m worthless.
Just fill in your personal negative statement where necessary.
What are you going to believe when you hear this inner voice, day in and day out for years?
All of these thoughts, whether they are a minuscule gnawing, just on the edge of your mind. Or a full blown dialogue that you can’t seem to shake, will have an ongoing effect on you.
I sit and I listen to my friends scrapping away at their self worth, loosing themselves bit by bit. Unable to enjoy meals out due to the ferocious worry about calorie content. Going into a state of panic because they’ve skipped a workout. Returning from an amazing holiday with inconsolable worry because they ‘feel heavier’ and know that they’ve ‘gained weight’, failing to see the amount of enjoyment they had when sampling those exotic foods or the memories that they’ve cultivated.
It breaks my heart time and time again when these beautiful people (inside and out) can’t seem to see how wonderful they are and that they believe their appearance is all that matters.
I’m not naive, I know things won’t change overnight. We won’t wake up with a new outlook on our worth, we won’t get up and forget all those years of self destruction, we will still pick holes in our appearance, but I am determined to shut down negative body image talk when I hear it.
To my friends:
You are wonderful regardless of how much you’ve eaten and how little you’ve exercised.
You are smart and kind and beautiful.
To my family:
You are worth more than this appearance.
You deserve to enjoy every mouthful of food, every glass of wine and every adventure.
You are amazing just as you are.
To strangers who may not have someone giving them kind words:
You are wanted.
You are special.
You body is perfect exactly as it is, no adjustment or tampering is necessary.
I have hope that if people hear these type of words enough, they will start to believe them. I have hope that these words will drown out the negativity most people are surrounded by.
Just call me ‘Challenging Negative Thought Patterns Woman’
Okay, the title needs work but the message still applies.
So try and be kind to yourself, give yourself at least one kind word a day, intervene those negative thoughts with a positive:
I’m ugly. No, I am wonderful and beautiful.
My skin is disgusting. No, my skin may be in the middle of a break out but it’s okay, it’s just my body doing its thing.
I’ve gained weight, how can I have this little willpower? No, I enjoyed my meals and I gave my body wanted it wanted during that moment.
Keep going until the majority of your thoughts are supportive and kind. I’m not saying it’s easy, but try it out for a little while and see how much better you feel when you’re not fuelling the negativity.