How to LOVE yourself… when you HATE your body
Jennifer Aniston certainly got my attention last week, airing her beef in the Huffington Post with all the pregnancy speculation, rumours, gossip, the paparazzi and the tabloids. Actually, I think she got a lot of people’s attention.
Her article immediately gave me a new-found love and respect for Jen. I’ll admit, I went Team Angelina over the whole Brad Pitt thing. But the comment “We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own ‘happily ever after’ for ourselves” in particular totally won me over.
I think you know me well enough to know I’m all about the happily-ever-after, right?
And she went on to say: “We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child.”
Totally onboard with that.
Also highlighted in the article was “We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies.”
I preach feeling beautiful from the inside out.
I get it.
Then along came the whole ugly incident of the sight that Dani Mathers said she could not unsee but felt the need to publicly share.
And the conversation about body image and body shaming rages on.
My heart goes out to the woman who was the brunt of Mather’s cruelty and small-minded judgement. Because if I was her, I think I would be mortified.
So, there I go… judging Dani Mathers.
As a woman who believes loving yourself is key — or at least not hating on yourself so hard all the time — I want to be able to say I love my body.
But I can’t.
I am pretty much my own Dani Mathers.
And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.
Can you imagine if self-loathing actually burned calories? Because — fashion over function, so to speak — how many women actually hate their bodies, based largely on their shape and size — no pun intended — as opposed to, say, how our internal systems actually work and the body’s incredible ability to heal itself?
Because, externally, so many of us are still comparing ourselves. And to what? Some unattainable, unrealistic, plastic Barbie Doll/Playmate/actress ideal?
How many diets have you been on? How many times have you lost the same 20 or 30 pounds? Only to gain it all back. Plus at least five more.
How many books do you own on weight loss?
How many of them have you actually read?
How many hundreds and thousands of dollars have you thrown into the latest fat burner or supplement or diet trend? Only to finally break down in near desperation and buy Spanx, or one of those waist cinchers. That only served to make you feel like a hot, sweaty, red-faced, uncomfortable sausage and created rather distinct underboobage.
Note to self: Abs are meant to come in packs. Not boobs.
Not to mention gyms, trainers, and athletic wear.
Wait… Definitely cut yourself a break on the attire. For some of us, that doubles as work clothes.
Okay. Jen’s definitely earned my respect for defending women’s right to make their own way in life and to define their happiness. And apparently we both like burgers. Other than that, though, what else do we have in common? Like, on a day-to-day basis? When it comes to our bodies?
Do you think Jen is scared — downright afraid — of carbs? Maybe. Maybe not. But for anyone that leans that way, what if it turns into a rather irrational fear of all fruit? Like, what did watermelon ever do you to, anyway?? Or when the thought of choking down yet another chicken breast with cupfuls of broccoli or cucumber generates no enthusiasm, no warm-and-fuzzies… no saliva… not to mention absolutely no satisfaction.
When you’ve been self-diagnosing yourself with the help of Google, and come up with orthorexia. What’s so endearing about wondering if you have the newest eating disorder?
Or do you think Jen’s boobs rest on her belly whenever she sits? That she’s ever put on so much weight, that her boobs got that BIG? That she’s just so freaking uncomfortable she could scream? Throw in summer and peri-menopause. Have you ever heard her talk about the reality that is boob sweat?
Maybe you have come far enough in the appreciation of your body that, on a good day, you do occasionally have to stop and admire your own rack. Give them a little fluff, just because you can. But, still, you haven’t exactly got that lovin’ feeling.
Because you can’t deny your too-tight pants. And the underwear that is simultaneously bunching, cutting in and falling down gets your attention too. How does it manage all that?
Fuck you, waistbands and buttons.
Even if you surrender and you buy bigger pants to tame the beast that is your muffin top… and then your pants always seem to fall down. No, you don’t actually walk with that much of a wiggle. You’re just always hiking your pants up and pulling your shirt down.
Once you’re fully dressed, why can’t things just freaking stay put?
Certainly not enamoring.
And so, you’re super tempted to bow out of any occasion that requires putting on actual real pants.
Even if it might be fun. And make you happy.
This is probably a good time to take a couple deep breaths.
But you’re feeling totally fed up.
Just like Jen, when said she was “fed up” with the tabloids speculating about baby? Or burger bloat? Just the utter absurdity of it.
Which made me think of a dear friend. She laughingly told me one time about her mother’s famous cure for everything:
Take a good shit.
I think her mother was dead serious, though.
If only it was that easy. Or if you ever wished your belly button was like a giant pimple head and you could just pop it and squeeze all that fat right outta you.
I’m sorry… but do you think Jen can relate to that?
Did you see her strip in “We’re the Millers”?
Because if you’re anything like me… never mind that you can’t dance. Did your body look that like in your 20s, even? Like, has it EVER? And now that you’re… well, NOT in your 20s anymore… and you can’t help but think that time has not been so kind. Nor hormones. Nor gravity.
So, putting together your happily-ever-after, feeling complete and a positive body image… How are they related for you?
How tightly are you holding on to the idea that you will really and truly be happy… that you will be lovable… that you will be worthy… When you lose the weight?
How do you love yourself, when you hate your body?
How do you get what you’re feeling in your heart, to catch up with what you now know would be better for you in your head?
I wish I knew. But I hate to admit this, because today I just feel like I have no freakin’ clue.
But I think you can never go wrong with a diet of kindness, compassion, patience and acceptance towards yourself.
I’ve really love to go drown my sorrows in a big ol’ pile of forbidden nachos and cheese, with extra guacamole and a cold beer. But maybe I’ll go take a nap.
Wanna connect and hang out with other women wanting to like themselves a little more every day? Join the be THAT woman support community on Facebook for a safe place on those days when full-on loving yourself proves to be a little challenging.
Brilliant article Patricia and I think so any women can relate to this. I think (honestly) loving our bodies is incredibly difficult for so many reasons BUT accepting ourselves often comes a little easier. It’s possible to accept ourselves WITHOUT loving ourselves right?
Thank you, Rachel! Great point, about we can accept without necessarily loving, and I think you’re even better-able to speak on that topic than me. You are a very wise woman in that area, in particular. 🙂