Your Body is Not Your Worth
Your body is not your worth.
SAY WHAT? Yeah, I said it!
This is a social justice mission and that’s why it may seem radical to some. The world will improve when women and men can step outside of self-objectification and step INTO true self-worth.
You are brilliant, insightful, talented and have so many gifts to give to the world. Just because you’ve fallen into the trap of the diet mindset and body obsession, doesn’t mean you can’t kick it to the curb and find your real purpose. It's going to take time, self-compassion, and a commitment to yourself, but you can do this. However, everyone is at a different place in their journey and beating yourself up for falling prey to this mentality won't do any good either. Let's look at this issue a little closer with a curious eye.
You might not even realize you've internalized bullshit from marketing and cultural ideals, so really think about the concepts I'm about to present and reflect on how it's shown up in your life.
Question Everything and Get Angry
I know it can burst your bubble to think about the lie that diet culture has sold you, but let’s also think about how FREEING it would be to let go of this lie. Shrinking (or growing, depending on the type of body dysmorphia you may have) your body is not the key to happiness. It’s all bullshit. I can tell you because I’ve experienced both ends of the spectrum and I hated my life a lot more when I was physically smaller.
Also, being physically smaller was impossible for me to maintain. I was miserable. I was fixated on counting, actively trying to appear a certain way, and letting “fitness” be a cookie cutter mold I was trying to fit to PROVE that I deserved to be a personal trainer. I didn’t realize there was a whole world out there that I could be experiencing instead of obsessing over my body and that my mission in life has nothing to do with helping people shrink. This issue is so much bigger than that.
We should question all of our cultural beliefs. We should also get mad about it. Real mad. Anger is actually a very powerful emotion that can be used to fuel us into radical change.
Seek True Motives
Let’s seek what the true motives of advertisement and media are in the beauty and diet industry. In reality, it's to make you feel shitty about yourself so that you THINK you need to change your appearance. That you are not worthy of love just for existing. The amount of money that can be made by making you feel shitty about yourself is insane.
Start noticing how in most media and advertisement outlets, all bodies look the same. I know that in recent years, companies like American Eagle and Dove have been known for putting all sorts of body types in their advertisements, but think of how many years we went seeing the SAME type of body. Think of what that does to our mental programming.
This is calculated and on purpose to sell you a product. The idea that only one body type is acceptable is fake news. That shit is made up by a billion dollar industry trying to sell you the idea that you aren’t worthy of love and acceptance until you purchase whatever it is they’re trying to sell.
This “ideal” picture of beauty that’s presented to us in the media is a way to keep you small, unhappy, and unfulfilled. It’s designed to take up brain space so you’re constantly searching for the magic potion to make you like yourself.
The Obsession with Aesthetics
Where did this obsession come from? For me, it started at a very young age and it saddens me to think that most people can relate. I remember being obsessed with magazines when I was a teen. It started with YM and Seventeen and I even remember leafing through some of my mom’s Cosmo and Redbook mags. I remember that EVERY single one always had something about “Shrink your belly fat!” or “6 ways to a bikini bod!”
Not to mention the pages were filled with images of slender, seemingly flawless airbrushed women. My young, naive brain didn’t think to question this obsession with beautification and I thought it was just something we automatically had to worry about. We didn’t have a choice and it was apart of being a woman. I thought this was the key to unlocking my self-worth and that there was something wrong with me. That I wasn't good enough just the way I was.
I carried this obsession with me through high school and college and I thought that if my appearance wasn’t up to par, I was a worthless human being. I thought that boys wouldn't like me, I wouldn't have friends, and I'd never be successful. Seems dramatic, I know, but that's how impressionable we are at a young age. Have you ever felt that way?
Have you ever thought about how we just accept things the way they are because we’re bombarded with them?
This Way of Thinking is No Longer Serving Us
Until recently, no one has presented a counter-argument. We've just accepted our fate as body and beauty obsessed objects. When it comes to social justice, someone has to lead the way to change. Someone has to veer off the common idea and realize that way of thinking is no longer serving us. Maybe it served us at one point, but time's up.
When you recognize there’s something wrong, there’s always a path out. Always. You don’t have to keep convincing yourself that obsessing over your appearance is worth the space it takes in your brain.
I had no idea I could feel incredibly fulfilled leading and teaching people to learn body acceptance and use movement as a means of empowerment, but here I am...doing what I LOVE and making people feel GOOD about themselves.
Just to clarify, by no means am I saying it’s wrong to take pride in your appearance. I'm just saying challenge your inner mean girl or mean boy and don't let them boss you around.
I wear makeup and I love a cute outfit, but at the same time, I no longer tie this to my self-worth. Make-up and clothing can be a beautiful way of self-expression and it’s something that I put effort into at specific times if I have the brain space and motivation, instead of thinking that I’m a lesser human being if I don’t look a certain way. This mindset didn't change overnight and I still have my inner mean girl creep up, so don't think that a switch will just flip.
I’ve been intentionally challenging myself to post pictures on social media without contorting my body to look a certain way and no makeup on. I encourage you to do the same! This may seem silly to some people, but when you’ve spent a better part of your life obsessing over this, it’s a radical shift.
Channel your inner LION - a lion doesn't give a damn what their mane looks like. Lions are fierce and unapologetic about their existence. Use the hashtag #BeALion and I'll come show you some love!
Additionally, I'm using social media as a tool to expand my mind and see the many facets of beauty by following all types of people and seeing how just following a certain type of body for "fitspo" is fucking up your mind. Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, genders, and races. The more you see this amazing array of people in your feed every day, the more you accept the reality of our cultural programming and begin to question it.
I know it seems crazy but guess what?....You are the same person with or without makeup, a cute outfit, and visible abs. The content of your character does not change whether or not you look good in your "skinny" jeans. You are capable of so much more than obsessing over your looks. The world is starving for you, so stop starving yourself.