OK… my title is a little dramatic, but this post is all about body image and that title explains mine best.
When I think of myself, I imagine my “before” pictures. I think about the many, many things I don’t like about myself. And honestly, I compare myself to other people and how I wish to look like them. I haven’t found the trick or the key to liking myself and embracing the way I look. I’m really interested in cracking this nut for a couple of reasons. First, it’s one of my New Year’s resolutions but also because I know it’s a hurdle that is keeping me from meeting and sustaining my goals.
I recently had a heart to heart conversation with a friend of mine that really opened my eyes. Before I start though, I need to share that I find my friend to be one of the most confident and strong-willed people I have ever known. I have the utmost respect for her and think she has her whole life together. She told me, as she started to get a little misty-eyed, that she has always seen herself as a sturdy, big girl. She has always been strong and athletic. She explained how this has always made her feel bad about herself. I would have never known that she ever struggled with her body image. I shared with her that I have the same problem.
As I’ve stated before, I follow a lot of paleo and food sensitivity bloggers. Many of them explain their journey to becoming healthy and some have experienced a major transformation in the way they view themselves. They had to master the body image trick – they had to become accepting of themselves – before they could truly make the progress they were seeking.
The story I love the best is from Stacy Toth of Paleo Parents. Stacy tells of her realization and acceptance of herself after a comment from her husband. He told her:
“Stacy, some people are built to go fast. Some people are built to go far. And some people are built to pick those other people up.”
(I’m not exactly sure how to credit people appropriately on a blog, but the above quote comes directly from a post on the Paleo Parents site. Please go visit it… these people are amazing!)
First, Matt (Stacy’s husband) please accept this (imaginary) award for being the most amazing, thoughtful, and supportive husband on the planet. Second, holy majoly (oh great, I should probably also credit some Ben Stiller movie here) I think we’re onto something here!
I am kind of a small girl. I roll in at 5′ 2″ and although I’ve been overweight almost my entire adult life, I have a very small frame. I’ve always been down on myself because I can’t seem to get thin and svelte like I think I should be. I worry that I don’t have the stamina to make my body as healthy as I want it to be. (SQUIRREL – I recently realized that I HATE running. I want to exercise so badly so I can reach my goals, but I can’t stand being on that treadmill.) But I think I’m looking at all of this the wrong way.
My father – who used to be a power-lifter – once told me he was surprised that I could carry some of the logs I was hauling when we were cutting wood. People have mentioned things like this before. At the time, I didn’t think much of it but it did stick with me. And now all of the sudden I am realizing that maybe most people can’t carry trees like I do. While I am wishing that I could run fast and far like some of my friends, they might be wishing they could pick up trees like me. WHOA!
When that hit me, I had to go look in the mirror. Oh my gosh, just like my friend and also my hero Stacy, I DO think I am built to pick up those other people too! And if that means I won’t ever be flat or thin, that’s OK with me. If I focus on what I am built for, I can still become strong and healthy and I bet I can get to the point where I accept, heck maybe even LIKE, my body. How cool would that be?!?!?!
So to wrap up… Dad, thanks for the compliment that took me a couple of years to understand. Stacy, thank you for sharing your self-realization. And to my friend, thank you so much for our conversation. Now let’s embrace this AND PICK SOME STUFF UP! (((HUGS)))