Along the same lines as my blog on Imperfection, body image is a vulnerable topic for me, as it is for many other people as well. I never really realized how much and often it affects me, until I made a conscious effort to not think about it. I am often consumed by the thought of how I look, or more accurately, how I don’t look. I spend a substantial part of my day worried about how I don’t look like someone else, how broad my shoulders are, how muscular my arms look, how my belly is soft and sticks out more than I like, I have no hips, and I’m too short and tall, all at the same time. In retrospect, I recognize how selfish, futile and exhausting it is to continue to allow myself to get caught up in it, but I keep doing it.
I have realized that I genuinely like who I am and my physical appearance does not define this. My appearance is constantly changing and if I were to alter any of these characteristics I know that I would only find more imperfection. It is not the actual features but my flawed belief that I need to be ‘perfect’ and to also prove that I am not good enough, and therefore re-enforcing that I never will be ‘good enough’ (Read my former post on Never Enough).
Throughout my gymnastics and cheerleading career I always thought I was lucky to not become consumed by eating disorders or erratic exercise regiments that trap many people. However, I realize that worrying about how I look is such a wasted time and energy that is so disempowering and futile. When people say that they “don’t have enough time in the day to do it all”, I wonder how much of their day is wasted on useless worrying. If I put my efforts towards bettering myself and supporting others, I know that I would be so much more productive. I could put my squandered time towards educating myself, supporting my family and community, and empowering myself to accept myself as I am.
What I value is living a health-conscious lifestyle and feeling strong and energetic. These are the qualities that keep me motivated to make positive choices and loving my life. As long as I live by these principles and surround myself with authentic and supportive influences, I will continue to thrive and push the envelope of expectations for myself and of others.
Do you have similar body image issues? Would it empower you to share them? I would love to help support you in your own journey.