My body is a vessel for my thoughts and soul. It is strong; it is dynamic; it has been across the world. My body is a part of me, but it is not what defines me. It is beautiful, not because of an arbitrary beauty standard, but simply because it is mine.
I am trying to remind myself of this, every day, as I look in the mirror before I nitpick about the way I look or the way jeans fit compared to a few months before. I try and repeat it to myself as I remember old habits that left me weak and feeling broken. However, it is not easy. Nothing about my new thought patterns about body image are radical or revolutionary, but attempting to unlearn old and dangerous ways of thinking is challenging and ongoing.
We all know powerful, incredible women who have shaped our brains and hearts. All of these women have and love their own different kinds of bodies. Maybe we remember some women for being nice to look at, but many made the biggest impression with their thoughts. We also all know women that have shaped the way we see ourselves because of the way they talked about their own bodies. There have been women that we never met; the ones we see stroll past, overhear at the store, or are brushed on some magazine cover that made us question why our bodies look the way they do. When we hear others equate their self-worth to their physical existence, we tend to do the same without even realizing it.
We need to change the way we talk about our bodies. Women are too often put into places that are meant to make them retract or feel small. We should see our bodies as something that is allowed to take up space and not be objectified for doing so. We should not equate beauty to a size, but to the content of person. We should think our bodies are beautiful because they house our hearts that choose to be kind, our brains that foster creativity and drive, and our lungs that allow us to laugh loudly, run strong and far, and speak our minds.
Everyone person’s journey with body positivity looks a little different. The different experience we all go through is complicated and often tumultuous, but we have to be as gentle with ourselves as we would be with our friends. Changing the rhetoric about our own bodies and the incredible bodies around us is just one step in the right direction.
Your body is beautiful, whether it is growing, recovering, battling, or prevailing. Your body, just like mine, is incredible because of the person to whom it belongs.