Thursday, June 4, 2015

Loving oneself

I've been inspired recently.

It seems that there is this movement going on of learning to love oneself. From the Dove Real Beauty Sketches, to the Australian mom who's picture showing her fit "before" and softer "after" picture went viral, to the beautiful, inspirational 4th trimester bodies project, plus other incidental, smaller scale articles that have popped onto my Facebook feed, it seems to be all around me. But what really sealed the deal was the other day when this article was shared by a long ago co-worker.
The author talks about beauty in other cultures:

"It is all simply perspective. I learned that beauty in other cultures differs significantly to our western views. In Tonga, the more of the woman the better; in Tahiti, body hair and natural, puffy nipples are desired; women from a tribe in Ethiopia have their bodies scarred from birth to be more attractive to their future husbands. In France, underarm hair is considered sexy, and in Northern Thailand, long necks are admired."

I feel more comfortable in my body after having Eames than I ever have, and I want to keep it that way. I have decided to really, truly commit myself to speaking lovingly to myself, about myself, and to do all that I can to stop focusing on what the culture I was raised in has deemed beautiful and desirable. 

I have stretch marks, a soft back, a thicker waist, and wider hips than I did before (let's not even TALK about my boobs). The old me would have been extremely concerned about all of these things, but I have decided to refuse to let it get me down. Because I am also healthy, and I am strong, both physically and mentally. I want to eat well because my body deserves it, not because I'm concerned about being judged at the swimming pool* or not having one little bit of fat hang over my pants at any given moment*. I want to exercise because it makes me feel strong and powerful, not because I "have to" in order to get a tighter tush*. I want to get out of the shower and smile at myself when I look in the mirror. The biggest one, that is definitely going to take the MOST work, is allowing myself to be photographed without stressing about how fat/thin I may look depending on the angle*. Because whatever that camera captures, is ME. And when it comes down to it, I really do love me, inside and out. Even if sometimes I forget it. 

In order for someone to love themselves, I do believe they need to be taking care of themselves. For some, maybe that's a vegan and yoga lifestyle. For others, an all-over-the-world diet along with a hike-every-mountain mentality. And even others, an "I want to be as strong as a freight train" attitude in the gym (because feeling strong physically helps them feel strong mentally) with a guilt free indulgence every Saturday night might work for them. There are many ways to eat healthily and to take care of yourself physically WITHOUT getting caught up in the appearances of it all, you just need to find it. Find the exercise that feels good to you, that makes you feel better about yourself and that truly releases your endorphins, then fill the rest of your life with things that help you realize what life is really about.
Hiking a mountain seems to give me the best perspective more than anything else out there. It reminds me just how beautiful the Earth is, how simple life can and should be, how grateful I am to God and all of His creations, and that, in the end, there are just so many damn things that are more important than if I have a six pack or not.

{*all concerns that once plagued me} 

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