4 out of 5 women are unsatisfied with how they look in some way. Why are women so worried about how they look anyway? 

It’s not uncommon to hear yourself or one of your friends mention some part of their body they’d happily exchange or elect to chop off if it made them smaller, curvier, or more attractive.

This kind of talk is an epidemic in our culture. We’ve totally normalized this self-loathing chatter. Heck, it is something many of us bond over. 

Not only is this kind of talk a total waste of time and energy, it’s also destructive. 

You’re probably not surprised to hear body dissatisfaction is linked to higher rates of eating disorders, disordered eating, depression, and low self-esteem. 

Which when writing that, kind of seems like a no-brainer.. However, I don’t think I had ever realized just how much it impacted me until I wasn’t thinking about or talking about my body in such a hateful and negative way.

Low self esteem often leads to a lack of belief in oneself. It is not entirely uncommon that women let their weight or what they look like stop them from going after the promotion they want or the man they have had their eye on. 

They avoid speaking up. Avoid putting themselves out there in any way that would draw attention to them. At all costs they try not to be seen or heard because they feel ashamed they don’t measure up to someone else’s idea of beautiful. 

It is crazy to think even now, we believe it’s because of our weight we’re not worthy of love, success, or happiness.

 

What’s with the obsession of the ‘perfect’ body anyway?

This desire for the perfect body is led by fear. We want desperately to fit in, and belong. Our basic human need is love. Unfortunately often we associate being able to be loved with being perfect.

The irony is, none of us are perfect, yet we still strive for that standard anyway.

On the surface we fear not fitting in or not belonging. 

We fear being judged by others, and standing out (in a bad way). 

Inside though, the fear is we’re not good enough. 

We’re afraid to be  failures.

If we don’t have the perfect body something is wrong with us..we’re somehow broken.

We’re unhappy with how we feel about ourselves, so we try to fix it with diets, workouts, weight loss. And strangely  we are unhappy doing that too. It almost seems like we’re fighting a battle we can’t win.

Darned if you do and darned if you don’t.

 

Enough is enough…

As long as we choose to put our value and worth in the scale or weight loss we will always be unhappy. There will never be a point where you can just relax. You’re either stressing about losing the weight or you’re stressing about keeping the weight off. It’s never enough.

Despite the chatter you hear in your own head or at happy hour with the girls, hating your body or even disliking your body is not normal. Nor is it healthy.

It most certainly is not serving you in any way. We can’t make long term change from a place of self-hatred. It just won’t work. Instead, we must decide to change because we know we were created for more–more love, more success, more joy.

Draw a line in the sand, and get to work

First step in the healing process is realize  how unhealthy and how abnormal it is to hate your body. 

Decide to stop picking on yourself. Instead choose the same kindness and compassion you would give to your best friend or your kids.

Stop engaging in conversation that tears you down (with friends, peers, and especially in your own mind.)

Choose gratitude. Even if you don’t at first glance see there is anything beautiful about your body. Be obsessively grateful for what your body has carried your though. What it’s allowed you to do/ accomplish. 

Take care of yourself. Put you on your to-do list. Prioritize your self care. 

Realize self-care is more than eating kale or taking a bubble bath. It’s about radically showing up as the woman you were created to be, to do the work only you were  created to do.

The problem is…

Cultural and social conditioning are like noxious weeds– hard to kill. 

You have to be ruthlessly committed to a new way of thinking about you and taking care of you ( this means your habits need an upgrade, your thoughts need an upgrade, and your actions do too)

The work is simple, it’s not easy. It’s a daily practice. 

The sweet taste of victory, and not giving a ….

You realize what people think of you doesn’t matter near as much as what you think of you. 

When you let go of the outcome (ie weight loss), and embrace who you are in this moment, you show up differently in your relationships, in your work, in your life. You realize that you can be just as happy now while working on where you want to go. 

You put yourself out into the world knowing not all people will accept you or get you. But that’s not your problem, it’s theirs. 

You belong to yourself, and therefore can be anywhere and be confident. 

Instead of playing small, holding yourself back you’re chasing the dreams in your heart. 

Instead of hiding until you’ve got the perfect body, you’re letting yourself be seen by others. You get to experience radical freedom in a way you never could before. 

As a result of taking action and owning your life, opportunities you never knew existed will start showing up when you show up. 

Step up, own your life, embrace what you’re working with today.

You my, friend were created the way you are for a specific purpose, but you can’t make it happen when you’re too busy hating on yourself.

xo,

Alisha