If someone asked you the question “What would you change about your body?” what would be your answer? As much as I love my body (most days) even I have a few things on the list. Pesky chin hair that’s a pain to pluck, my oh-so-sexy lady ‘stash, and I’d probably ask for a little less junk in my trunk. Those are just the first ones that come to mind.
It’s okay to want to change things about yourself. To even dislike things about yourself sometimes. It only becomes a problem when instead of looking at those things as a slight annoyance you begin to see them with hatred. You look in the mirror and those things are all that you see because somewhere along the way they have begun to define you.
That’s when it becomes work you need to do to soften those feelings and incorporate some lovin’ into it.
The video up above takes a group of adults and a group of children and asks them that very question. The adult answers are practical, as you’d expect. A smaller forehead, smaller ears, no stretch marks, less puffiness, bigger eyes.
And they tell their stories of feeling inadequate. Things we’ve all felt.
And all of their feelings are valid, because we all know we aren’t perfect.
We are real, beautiful, flawed, human beings.
And then we move to the kids.
The kids, however, the kids had some great answers. A shark mouth, wings, teleportation, a mermaid tail… it goes to show how pure a love we have for our bodies before society and our insecurities get their claws into us. The most pressing concern is whether or not we have a mermaid tail.
At that age, they look in the mirror and their flaws are not at the top of the list. It’s not the first thing they see.
I ask you to think a little bit about the things you would change about your body and why you’d change them. Is it health related, purely aesthetic, something that bothers you personally or something that someone has told you bothers them? Then I want you to ask yourself how it affects your body image. Is it something that you rarely think about or notice? Or is it one of those things that consume your thoughts when you look in the mirror or see pictures of yourself?
I used to want to change everything about my body. I used to imagine getting a new one, having the ability to body-swap because I was so tired of looking in the mirror. Fat everywhere, stretch marks, sagging, scars, so much hairiness!
I look back and see years of self-hatred. Being afraid of full body mirrors, having long stretches of time where the only things I liked about myself were the things that other people liked about me. It took a long time to change that, to look in the mirror and not immediately see all of the flaws. Imagine having to look at yourself every single day and hating what you see there. A minimum of 365 beat-yourself-up sessions. That’s a lot of times to step into the ring and come out defeated.
I’ve learned that loving yourself more, even if it’s just a bit more than it was yesterday or last month, makes that list shorter. You turn your focus to the things that aren’t-so-bad about your face or your body. With a little appreciation those things become things you like, and then you’re looking in the mirror one day and thinking about how drop-dead-gooooorgeous you look today because those things that you once thought were simply not-so-bad became things that you loved.
You, somewhere along the way, fell in love with them.
Loving yourself is a journey, and often times a long one. There will come a day when you realize that most of those things you’d change if you could don’t matter and getting that mermaid tail moves closer to the top of the list.