You have to be a smaller size. You have to burn more fat. You have to tighten your butt, firm your abs, fit into those skinny jeans, and do it all in 3 weeks! That just sucks.
If you’re tired of hearing all of this, and hearing it over and over again, maybe you need to stand your ground, rebel, and go against the tide. You are so much more than just a size or a number, but living in a culture that’s beauty- and body- image-obsessed isn’t easy. In fact, it’s downright painful, especially if you’re not a size 2.
Most of us weren’t even born that small! If you’re tired of feeling bad, especially around this time of year when the weather’s warming up and everyone is talking bikinis maybe you do need a new look, but this one should have nothing to do with your weight, size or shape.
This look takes cultivating what’s on the inside. It means being fearless about who you are both inside and out. It means standing up and screaming at the top of your lungs, “I’m not going to drop a jean size to be acceptable and valued, I’m actually perfect just the way I am!”
Here’s a few tips on how to begin:
1. Know your heart
We’re paying more attention to external issues than we are to our hearts. That’s why people are dying out there: if we spent half as much time noticing and tending to our hearts, we would be a lot healthier emotionally. Think about how much time the fashion industry, the food industry and the cosmetic industry pay to convince you that you’re not OK, and most people buy into it, hook, line, and sinker. How do I know? Because I buy it way too often as well. Invest in your heart—know your value and change your world.
2. Cultivate it
How do you tend to your heart? By paying attention to what’s happening to it as the losses of life unfold. By feeding it with good kind things. By spending time with yourself and learning who you are and what your strengths are.
3. Be Fearless
Find your strengths and you’ll become fearless. Utilize the gifts you’ve been given, and impact your world with them. Be humble. Be a friend. Be generous. Give your heart away, and lead others.
4. Love strong
Pay attention to the one thing that’s most important in your life: those you love. Don’t let your concern for your size, your weight or your body image rob you of life. Don’t let it steal time away from those you love because you’re so preoccupied with all that mess. Risk. Step out. Say good-bye to the old way and dare to try something new. You’ll feel so much better.
5. Be grateful
It’s hard to be grateful for something you loathe. My clients with eating disorders and body image concerns can’t generally find one thing to like about their physical appearance, but I challenge them to risk looking beyond what they see and begin to cultivate an attitude of gratefulness for what their physical body allows them to do. Hold a child. Run a marathon. Write a poem. Play an instrument. Touch a loved one. Start small, but start somewhere.
6. Stop Comparing
Don’t look at the girl at the gym, the guy on the magazine or the hot chick at the beach to judge yourself. Start thinking about your strengths, your attributes. If you feed yourself a steady diet of garbage, that’s how you’re going to feel—like garbage.
At the end of the day, only one thing is necessary to revolt against the societal norms that demand we be thin to be valued: choice. The choice to ignore the cultural mandates and set the world on fire just as you are. A choice to live, really live a full and abundant life where you’re content with who you are, not what you look like. Go get ’em!