It’s Tuesday afternoon, and as I walk through the hallways of my sorority house, I encounter a friend trying on a dress. She looks in a mirror in the hallway, and in my humble opinion, she looks great. The dress is champagney-pinkish with an intricate fabric with a nice design woven in. Basically, she looks lovely. Clearly dissatisfied with the fit of this dress, the friend calls out, “I hate myself!”
About five minutes later, walking through the hall in the other direction, I overhear two other friends talking about borrowing each other’s clothes. Friend One asks Friend Two if she can try on a dress of hers to wear to formal this weekend. Friend Two says yes, but I don’t know if it will fit you, implying that Friend Two’s clothes would be far too large on Friend One. Full disclosure: friends one and two both have great bods and could definitely share clothes any time they want to.
Are we sensing a common theme here, people? Within a period of less than ten minutes I heard two friends of mine talking negatively about their bodies. Now I don’t think that my friend trying on the dress actually hates herself, and I know that once Friend One tried on Friend Two’s dress they would both see they are indeed capable of sharing clothes. I think this “bad-talk” isn’t necessarily always serious, as displayed in these two examples, but whether or not it is, it’s damaging for young women to so readily and casually bash their own appearances. (I think it’s also important to point out that men also experience bad-talking themselves and self-image issues, but since I’m a female and have experienced mostly my female friends exhibiting this kind of behavior, that’s what I’m going to focus on.)
As long as I can remember, I’ve encountered my friends and acquaintances bad-talking themselves…like I’m pretty sure back in like fourth or fifth grade this was a thing. Let’s think about that for a minute: that means young girls pointing out things they dislike about themselves from the age of about nine or ten years old. What the flip, Chip?! I remember hearing friends casually say things about their bodies that they disliked, and I remember feeling weird when I had nothing to say about myself. It's like that scene in Mean Girls when they're all in Regina's room looking in the mirror saying things they dislike about their bodies and they all turn to Cady and wait for her to bash herself too. It’s such a normalized thing for young girls and women to dislike certain aspects of themselves that when we don’t, we either feel like there’s something wrong with us, or someone else does. That’s messed up.
I’ve always been passionate about practicing self-love, and I think it’s essential for fully loving your life and others. If you don’t know how to love yourself well and accept the not-as-great aspects of your being, then how in the world can you know how to love others well? How will you know how to give a friend a meaningful compliment when you can’t compliment yourself? How can you truly feel someone love you in a way no one has ever loved you before if you’ve never allowed yourself to be loved by the person who knows you best?
Surely there are things about my outward appearance that I’m not always super jazzed about, but I try not to dwell on it. There are so many more important things in life to worry about! And there are way better reasons to be dissatisfied with yourself than if your stomach sticks out more than you think it should. I’ll condone disliking oneself if you’re a major asshole to everyone you meet, or you shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. I will not, however, support you disliking yourself because your thighs rub together when you walk. Dude, EVERYONE’S thighs rub together when they walk.
|Excited to digest spicy foods!!!!|
Our bodies are far too magical and intricate to truly dislike them. We breathe without thinking about it, we speak without thinking about it, we move our arms or scratch our face or laugh without thinking about it. That’s incredible. We are able to feel sensations and taste food and experience happiness, sadness, fear, excitement, and all these other great emotions throughout our entire beings. We can properly digest food for crying out loud! Seriously, next time you eat spicy food, thank yourself for breaking it down properly so you’re able to enjoy it.
My point is, human bodies are beautiful, and incredible, and far from perfect. Everyone has off days where they feel crappy about themselves, but don’t dwell on things you dislike about your outward appearance. Your body is doing secret magical things in order to work well, so allow yourself to love and appreciate that. Focus on being a kind person who loves what they do and who they know. In that process, allow yourself to love who you are and accept that you are not perfect, and that no one is.
Rather than focusing on how your dress doesn’t fit like you want it to, take a moment and rejoice that you can eat spicy Indian food whenever you want and your body won’t explode.