Body acceptance is something that patrols the internet daily. Rarely, though, is it talked about in the light of “accepting your body, but.” The “but” is never shown to be a positive in the sentence.
There are those that will stop at the words “body acceptance” and those that will live in the words that come after “but” followed by those who live in both areas. That’s me, or I am trying to be that person I should say. I accept my body for all of the good things. For the wonderful hair that have, the skin that is low maintenance (minus being dry 45% of the year – with nothing a little lotion won’t cure), the feet that can fit into some of the cutest shoes (and most expensive), my teeth that have been good to me, and the knees that tell stories of my childhood. I accept all of those things the way that they are. I do accept the rest of my body, the way that it is right now BUT I also know that there are things that I need to be doing to it to be healthier. See, the issue with a body acceptance movement is that it either is preached to the extreme that people often think that skinny is the only answer and others think that body acceptance is that other people don’t need to do anything to their body to make it healthier or improve the way that they see themselves in the morning. You see, most times when someone accepts their body, they want the world to know that it cannot tell them what to do with it. This is mostly true. I will agree that the world cannot and should not tell someone how to handle their body or what they should be shaped like. However, what I will say is that accepting your body right now doesn’t mean that you just don’t do anything to improve it. If you wake up in the morning and you are just dandy with yourself, power on girlfriend BUT are you healthy? Do you step into the kitchen and out into the world and damage your body by putting careless items into it? Most importantly, Do you look into your body and claim it to be healthy, ya know, the mental fluff? See, this is what never gets talked about. People will say “That girl is part of this body acceptance but she doesn’t work out or she isn’t vegan and yada, yada”. That isn’t what I mean. I mean, by accepting your body, are you accepting everything that emotionally rocks you to where your body is now? Do you accept all of the things that scare you and that you eat about when you think about them? Most of obesity or people being over weight is caused by stressors that are not taken care of in other ways. Most of it is caused my mindless eating because you are too busy with the kids, or errands, or working, etc. etc. that you are not taking care of your mind and soul. Are you accepting those things? If you accept your body, the way that it is now, you accept those things. I am here to tell you, YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO ACCEPT THOSE THINGS!!! You don’t have to. You don’t have to accept the fact that you marriage is in shambles and you feel like you are stuck, you don’t have to accept that you have been beaten when you were a child, or that you were molested, or that you were bullied when you were in school or at home, or that a parent has died and you don’t know how you will live without them, YOU DON’T HAVE TO ACCEPT THOSE THINGS THAT HURT YOUR BODY. NOW, do you see what I mean???? Accepting your body RIGHT NOW means that you are accepting the punishment daily that still you carry with you. You are accepting defeat and a battle you think that you cannot win. You are accepting the way that your mind, inside of YOUR BODY has been treated.
So, today the phrase should be “I am accepting my body, BUT I am not accepting my past.” This does not mean again, that you sit on the side lines and continue to eat your sadness. This means that by accepting your present, you will work on the past. By working on your past (peeling back the onion layers), you no longer feel the need to accept it as it is. Sure, you accept it as it has happened BUT you sure as hell do not make excuses for it to the point where you let it define you. Letting your past define you means that you have given up.
You may be wondering, how the hell do you do that. Some people are in need of counseling to help redefine the onion layers in their life. Some people can pick apart their life and are strong enough to fix the issues on their own. However, at some point, you are going to need a person who knows nothing about your life, give you a sense of reason and help you move forward with whatever issues you are seeking to repair. With this repair, there will be people in your life that you will need to stand up to, leave and ultimately make the choice to take care of yourself first. Now, let me be the first to say that when you start this process, you will have people tell you that you are selfish, self-centered, and “have changed”. Your answer? Nothing. Keep moving forward. Those people who say that and don’t encourage you to find yourself are those people who have hindered you in some way. Those people have been a contributor to what has happened negatively in your head space. Don’t allow them to take up any more space. Move them out and move positivity in. This is going to be harsh, it will not be a pleasant experience and it may include family members, BUT if you keep going back to the person who is neutral in your life and let them help and guide you in the right direction, YOU (which is who you are focusing on here) will be in a better place.
What does this have to do with your body? Your body is a receptive tool to everything that happens within your mind. It feeds off whatever energy you put in and take out of your mind. So, when you start to think positively about aspects of your life that have nothing to do with your body or when you start to treat your mind on how it should be treated with positive energy, your body will follow. Don’t leave out the most important part of body acceptance, which is your mind.
Body acceptance is never on the outside but it is always on the inside. If you can accept your body on the inside (mind and soul) the rest will follow. When people say “you have to learn to love yourself before you can love someone else”, that is never meant to be on the outside only.