Why It’s OK to NOT Love Your Body
I have struggled in my relationship with my body. I spent a lot of years trying to make it thinner, stronger, more “healthy,” and eventually I came to realize that it was not my body that was the problem, it was the society and culture in which we live. Throughout my youth, I remember overhearing female role models talk about the latest diet they were on. I remember hearing men I respected and valued objectifying and dehumanizing women for their bodies. I remember being given praise for the way I looked, or ridiculed just the same.
We live in a society that is obsessed with the shape and size of your body. There is a plethora of potent messaging that is constantly telling you through social media, advertising, television, diet promotion, the fitness industry, billboards, magazines, and many other avenues, that you are not good enough. You are not thin enough, strong enough, pretty enough, you don’t have clear enough skin, you have too many wrinkles, you are too fat, too weak, your teeth are not straight enough, ultimately you are not enough…. or so, that is what the diet industry and cultural messages therein would like you to believe.
With all of this noise about how you “should” or “should not” look around you all the time, it is virtually impossible to be alive in our culture and come out unscathed. Most of us have internalized these cultural messages that we are not good enough. That you need to buy certain beauty products, eat certain foods, and do specific workouts in order to have others see you as acceptable and valuable, let alone see that for yourself. How do you notice that you have believed or internalized some of these messages?
At Omni, we are here to spread a different message. We believe it is ok to be where you are. It is ok for your body to be where it is, wherever that is, right now, even if you do not love it, or even like it. Human beings are complex. You experience and engage in a multitude of emotions, thoughts, and behaviors throughout the day, everyday. Because you are complex, your relationships are also complex. That includes your relationship with your body.
Have you ever thought about it that way, that you have a relationship with your body? What does your relationship with your body look like? Is it kind and compassionate, mean and judgmental, or disconnected and avoidant? Maybe you would describe it in a different way? Whatever your relationship with your body looks like right now, it is ok. If you don’t like or love your body, that is ok. If you love your body, that is ok too.
There is a huge “Body Love” movement going on right now. This is a backlash from all the messages people have received about needing to look a certain way. And we think this body love movement is great and can help you feel better about yourself, but there’s one tiny problem with it: it just puts more emphasis on your body.
This is a problem because the whole point of being ok with your body is to move away from having it take up so much space in your thoughts. And if we now have to be focused on loving and celebrating our bodies we are right back to where we started: thinking about our body too much.
We want you be ok with your body (which maybe means not loving it) because it still allows you to focus on other things in your life. What do you care about? Relationships? Work? School? Your family? These are the things that make life worth living and they have nothing to do with how you feel about your body.
The relationship you have with your body will most likely change over the course of your life, many times, as your body will also naturally change. Part of the human experience is riding this roller coaster of life. Ultimately, what matters is what you believe is important in your relationship with your body. What would you like your relationship with your body to look like? Do you want to learn to love your body? Or are you ok with accepting it as is, in this moment? Or maybe both? Getting to know what you value and desire in your relationship with your body is the only thing that truly counts.
The messages in our culture, what your friends say, or even what your therapist might tell you are ultimately just other people’s opinions. What is it that you want for your relationship with your body? What do you want to remain and what would you like to see change in how you relate to your body?
As you begin to identify the things that matter to you in how you relate to your body you may notice that the cultural messages don’t sting as much as they used to. You may also notice that you are accepting yourself more, in ways that you didn’t think were possible before.
Be where you are in relationship to your body. It is ok.