When we talk about ways to prevent breast cancer, one of the lesser mentioned aspects of taking care of your body is LOVING YOURSELF (for the rest of B4BC’s “7 Tips to Stomp Out Breast Cancer”: http://bit.ly/1agB9hX).
It sounds simple enough, but sometimes it takes some extra thought. For this weeks Pause for Prevention, we’re taking a page from yoga girl Rachel Brathen Yoga Lifestyle, and a little rant about her experience with looks and body image, and why it’s important to LOVE YOURSELF just as you are. The rest is in her words, and DEFINITELY worth a read:
I get flooded with comments and questions about looking pretty. Yes – about looking pretty. Some also involve feeling good (in a combination with looking pretty) but so many of them come down to the same thing: Changing the way we look. It’s questions about losing weight. About diets. Beauty products. Exercise routines. Yoga for weight-loss. Yoga for better skin. Yoga for… For what? On any given day I get 100-250 emails, and the majority of them are questions from people that want advice on how to change something about themselves. I do my best to answer in my own hippie way (“do yoga, eat your veggies, meditate, use coconut oil” etc etc) but I think there is a fundamental issue beneath all of this that no one is addressing. Why is it that we on some level feel that we are not good enough the way we are?? Who taught us that we need to see a certain number on a scale to be happy? When was it decided that we need to look in a special way to feel ok with looking at ourselves in the mirror? Yes – we want to be healthy. Yes – we want to feel good. But this world (especially this strange social media one) is so full of unrealistic expectations that simply no one can live up to.
My least favorite comment I see on my feed is “You are perfect”. No, scratch that. My least favorite comment? “I wish I looked like you”.
You guys know this is an Instagram feed, right? I choose what I post here. I could post photos of myself eating cheese while lying in bed last night watching old episodes of How I Met Your Mother (yep) or of how oily my skin gets when I’ve had too many beers the night before (yep) or the stretch marks I have on my upper thighs (yep). Or any of the million things that are not, in any way, “perfect” about the way I look. But I choose not to. I choose instead to post photos of me when I’m having a good hair day, or in a yoga pose that looks good in profile, or in a pretty dress on the beach. But I’m thinking now I may have been wrong in portraying just one side of me. I am not perfect. I’m not always in balance. I cry and get sad and emotional all the time (ask my boyfriend!). I have days when I feel ugly, or fat, or insignificant. I have days when I feel… Not good enough. And you know what? I call bullshit!
We need to stop comparing ourselves with others and start loving ourselves, just the way we are. Love your body. Love your soul. Of course we have a hard time finding an exercise or diet routine to stick to – the whole reason we feel that we need one is because we deep down feel that we are not good enough as we are. Telling yourself you’re not good enough is not loving yourself. Looking in the mirror and only seeing flaws is not loving yourself. Exercising or dieting simply because you want to change your body is not loving yourself. And I don’t in any way mean that exercising is not good for you, quite the opposite. It’s the way we look at ourselves that we need to turn around. The most difficult thing is not to find an exercise or diet routine to stick, to but to deeply accept that we are already okay. You are okay. You are more than okay! You are beautiful, just the way you are.
I say, change it up. Instead of thinking you need to change your body so you can love your body (“after I’ve lost 20 pounds, I’ll be happy with who I am”), do it the other way around. Love your body so you can change it. LOVE YOUR BODY. LOVE YOUR SOUL.