Sometimes I see things that make me really sad. This photo is one of those things. I was merrily scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed (as I do all too often) when I was notified that two of my friends had ‘liked’ this photo on Instagram. I looked at the photo in utter disbelief for a moment and then I just felt sad…
I am sad that we live in a society where these superficial, generally unattainable and unhealthy things are promoted, desired, ‘liked’ and have become the only definition of beauty. I am sad that young girls aspire to this image and this image only. I am sad that so many beautiful, incredible people out there do not realise just how beautiful and incredible they are, just they way they are. I am sad that so much emphasis is put on appearance, instead of inner beauty and health. I am sad that sometimes health is sacrificed in the pursuit of this supposed beauty. But I want to and am going to tell you something important, so please listen with an open mind and an open heart…
You, yes you, you are beautiful. I don’t care if you are a size zero or a size 20, you are beautiful. You are the only person in this world like you, you are the only person who can do the things you do, the only person who can love the way you love, the only person who will ever live the exact life you are living; you are special. Now I want you to honestly answer me; how many times have you berated yourself for being yourself? How many times have you wished that you were thinner/more ‘beautiful’/taller/paler/more tanned/stronger? How often have you woken up and gone on a strict diet in an attempt to achieve your dream body? How often did you give up? How often did this deprivation and self-berating make you feel good, happy, fulfilled and content? Why do you do this to yourself? Now, tell me how often you have woken and your first thought is ‘I love me’? How often do you smile when you catch your own reflection in a mirror? How often do you tell yourself you have a beautiful body or that you are a beautiful person? How often are you content with just being you? How often have you put your health and own wellbeing above all other priorities? I want to tell you a little secret, actually a big secret…
Collar bones that protrude from your chest, they won’t make you happy. Hipbones sticking out for all to see, they won’t make you happy either. And a gap between your thighs, that won’t make you happy. Do you honestly believe all the people who have these things are happy because they have them? No, of course not! In fact many of them may be deeply unhappy, because having a thigh gap, collarbones and hipbones will not make your problems vanish, they are no magical cure. And those people, those people who have those things, for most of them it is simply genetics, they were meant to look like that and they are beautiful. Some people were born to be tall and thin, like Miranda Kerr, but she also chooses to nourish her body everyday and to love herself unconditionally. But her body type is not the only body type and it is not the ‘most beautiful’, because all bodies are equally beautiful when they are healthy.
It is true that being overweight is not healthy and you are not loving your body, but so is being underweight, or under your ideal weight for your body. Some people are meant to be thin and lithe, others are meant to be well built and strong. Either way you are beautiful, you are unique, you are you. But if you are overweight, or underweight or unhappy with how you look, the first step to lasting change is love, self-love. Accept who you are and that if nothing ever changed in your life you would love yourself anyway. Do not hang your love on results; do not love yourself only if you achieve those changes. No, love yourself first, the rest will follow. Love, then nourish. At each meal eat mindfully, choose healthily, you know what is good for you. Drink plenty of water, sleep deeply and for long enough, do things that make you happy and never the things that make you sad, do not deprive yourself of the essentials. Love yourself, nourish yourself and the rest will be simple.
From all the deprivation, wishing, dreaming, dieting, starving, flogging yourself in the gym for the perfect, thin, idealistic body the most you will ever get is temporary, superficial and unsatisfying, I can guarantee it will never make you happy. But from self-love, a nourishing diet, from putting yourself and your health first I can guarantee you will be happy, you will wake with a smile, you will dance in the streets, your skin will glow, your hair will shine, you will be a kinder person, you will find a passion for life you never knew was possible, you will understand what it means to be in love with yourself and as for your body, if you nourish it everyday, it will find its way to the perfect shape and size FOR YOU, effortlessly.
It seems so simple because it is. Before you can change anything you must change your attitude. Do not focus on the superficial results or goals, because they will not motivate you. Focus on nourishment, self-love and appreciation and almost magically things will begin to change, and continue to change as long as you love and nourish yourself. When you see a beautiful person or a beautiful body, instead of cursing yourself for not looking like that, simply say to yourself “Wow, that is a beautiful body” or “That person is gorgeous/stunning/incredible.” Focus your attention on their positives and don’t make it into your own negative, because somewhere, someone is looking at you and thinking the same thing.
Now let me show you how this works: my thighs touch at the top and I am proud. I cannot see my hipbones clearly and I am glad. My collarbones are just your stock standard, slightly visible collarbones and I wouldn’t change a thing. I am a size 8 or 10 and love it. I have a unique body, but I am beautiful, I always have been and always will be. I choose to nourish my body everyday so that my body will love me back.
You are beautiful. You are whole. You are perfect.
From the bottom of my heart, with all my love, Erica xx