The way I see it, there are two sides to body change and self-acceptance. One side is that self-acceptance comes with acknowledging and embracing your own body composition, without comparison and without judgement.
The other side to the story is that self-acceptance does not necessarily mean being static, not ever wanting or trying to change your body. It is a wonderful thing to accept your body for its uniqueness, but it is okay to want to improve it if that is what will serve you. Your body is yours and yours alone. No one has the right to tell you what you should or should not want for it.
We may reach peace with ourselves when we recognize that our bodies can and will change. From day to day, week to week, year to year. And this, we must accept. It’s nature; it’s inevitable. And it’s beautiful.
The mind and body are one. Just as our thoughts, goals and feelings change, our bodies do too. Rather than the word “changing” though, I prefer evolving.
We are human. We are constantly making mistakes, learning, changing course. And to reflect this ever-changing road on which we live our lives, our bodies evolve as well. Often times, our bodies know more about our journeys than we ourselves can understand. They reflect the place in which we are. Sad, determined, distracted, focused, inspired, lonely—our bodies know, and they adjust. We shall thank our bodies for being right alongside us throughout the course of our lives, and for always having our best interest. It is time we trust and believe in them.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I were on a walk, discussing today’s culture surrounding diet and exercise (as we do). She just graduated college and will be entering the field of social work. It’s always interesting to hear her point of view, as it stems from a psychological standpoint. As we walked she said to me:
“Mariah, our bodies don’t know the difference between heartbreak and famine. All they know is that they need to protect us, in whatever way they can.” And it’s true. Fat serves as protection, for example. And whether we need to be protected physically or emotionally, the body is always working to accommodate our needs. Our bodies and minds are inseparable, and the communication between them is constant. How incredible is that!
Now, earlier I mentioned that I believe that you can want to alter your body and also have a positive self-image. How can this be?
This is where a very important and misunderstood concept comes in.
The key is thinking about why you want a change. Is it based out of fear about how others perceive you? Is it based on insecurity? Or is it because you are mentally weighed down by the weight of your own body? This is something that only you can answer.
The feeling of wanting to jump out of your own skin is quite unsettling. And we all deserve to love our bodies–every inch of them. The cool thing is that we have the power to make this happen! Let’s not confuse self-acceptance with giving up.
Yes, sometimes we have no control over the way our bodies change. But it is okay to work to improve them too.When we embrace this balance, we are respecting the body’s incredible ability to adapt to changes that we are putting it through, mentally and physically.
We shall grant our body the freedom to evolve, because we know it knows best. Let’s allow ourselves the liberation and confidence that we can change our bodies, granted if that will allow us to feel happy in our own skin. Let’s ensure our mindset is based on gratitude and love; our health and body will reflect that.
Our bodies and minds are are a cohesive working machine; let’s nourish them both the same.
A lifestyle blog about veganism, mood swings, & other chatter.