We live in an age of body shaming, but are we really just settling for mediocrity and not admitting that to ourselves?
This is such a taboo subject, but I'm going to talk about it anyway. I don't expect to say it all right, but because it's my opinion it really can't be wrong.
Let me preface this post by stating that, I just want to say that we should all accept ourselves; love ourselves exactly as we are. Right now. Today. As this very moment. Period, as in end of the sentence.
The definition of body shaming is the practice of making critical, potentially humiliating comments about a person's body size or weight.
Oddly, most of us do it to ourselves more than we would ever judge another person's size or weight. Am I right? We are far more critical of ourselves than we are of others. Most people don't even notice whatever it is that we believe brings us the shame.
Some of us never seem to get rid of the shame in this lifetime, and some of us find out just how much time we've wasted being concerned about the superficialities in life when we become a "PARticular" age.
The truth of it is, it's exhausting. Fighting the negative thoughts that you should look a certain way, or beating yourself up for one reason or another; it's exhausting..... I'm speaking from experience. I know that feeling intimately, especially being part of the health and wellness industry. I understand wanting to accept and love yourself to bring an end to that cyclical negative thought exhaustion.
The truth is, people judge. You do it, I do it. We all do it, whether we realize it or not. I work really hard not to, but hey, I'm human and if you're reading this you probably are too. Even if we feel like we have our imperfections, or parts of ourselves we are in the midst of changing, there is the stand on the edge of wanting to cross over once and for all and getting over it.
Despite the beautiful lives and images we see in social media or any media for that matter, we all want to present a certain persona out into the world. In the early days of my career I found it really difficult to show up as I was. I still showed up and did the best I could, but I never felt fully integrated enough to stand in who I was and feel like I was the same person I was inside. There was this disconnect. It wasn't bad, I just didn't feel like I was showing up fully. I was always candid, open, honest and approachable, but never really felt the way I was perceived, which was (according to my clients) confident, exuberant, fun, funny, kind, caring and extremely knowledgeable.
With that preface being set, I must say that I am not motivated at all to be heavy, nor will I accept myself as that. I was once very heavy and everything hurt, especially my knees, it was very difficult to get around and I was very uncomfortable, and self-conscious. Did I hate myself? No. I don't think so, but I knew that I wanted better for myself.
When I look at heavy people, I wonder if they are comfortable, if their knees hurt like mine did and if they were unnecessarily straining their heart and have a metabolic syndrome brewing. Is this judgemental? I don't know. Maybe more so relateable if anything. But I also had those same thoughts when I was heavy about myself.
I remember when Mo'Nique had won an Oscar for her performance in the movie Precious in which she played the lead. Much of the time leading up to that point, she praised her "fat curves" and self-proclaimed love for them and with them.
Gabourey Sidibe was another one who at first defended her curves and then eventually decided she wanted to lose weight via bariatric bypass surgery as well as Star Jones.
There are, of course, several other stars that have had bariatric surgery, but the ones mentioned are the ones that stand out in my mind the most because they first tried to make their case of, "I can still be healthy and feel beautiful at this weight." before resolving to the surgery.
Make no mistake. I do believe that it is extremely possible to feel beauty at any weight and love yourself. I, myself do not aspire to be heavier that's speaking as someone who has been heavier and I never liked it.
I say all this to say - and this may be the unpopular part - but aren't we settling for mediocrity at some level? When we throw our hands up in acceptance to love ourselves fat, aren't we lowering our standards by taking ourselves out of the equation to do anything about it?
Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life. JFK
It's really a conundrum isn't it? We want to love ourselves as we are no matter what (at least this is my motivation), I believe that to be true, but at the same time I would really feel like I'm settling for less than the best of who I really am if I'm just being fat. So I question if we are loving ourselves or settling for mediocrity because it's hard to lose weight, and even harder to keep it off for that matter.
There is no difference between a pessimist who says,
“Oh, it’s hopeless, so don’t bother doing anything,” and an optimist who says, “Don’t bother doing anything, it’s going to turn out fine anyway.” Either way, nothing happens. Yvon Chouinard
Loving yourself as who you are to begin with is the challenge I believe as I've witnessed clients who have made weight loss easier on themselves once they do learn to do the inward work to truly love themselves. Or once they experience love for themselves they see themselves differently and realize they were just being hard on themselves and see a whole new person and that there wasn't much wrong with in the first place.
Are we lowering our standards to the person we truly aspire to be, or are we asking for acceptance for allowing our own mediocrity?
90% of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for mediocre. Tim Ferris
I realize too that there are also dangers of falling into extremes. Do we let ourselves go so much that we begin to ask for acceptance for that, or do we veer too far into the overzealous lane that no one can bear to spend any time with us because we want to convict them with our new found lifestyle.
In excess, most endeavors and possessions take on the characteristics of their opposite:
Pacifists become Militants;
Freedom Fighters become Tyrants;
Blessings become Curses;
Help becomes Hinderance;
More becomes Less.
It's never about changing your weight, but taking responsibility for yourself.