Many young people now believe that to be successful and popular we must look a certain way, for example, have long blonde hair, a 20” waist and have strapping long legs, or be tall, dark and handsome. But is this really the case or has the media and the world around us messed with our heads and how we think?
With this in mind it is no wonder why some people, girls especially, begin to feel inadequate and have little body self-acceptance. This is why it has now been suggested that to be able to totally embrace our bodies we must look far deeper than just being able to accept just how we look.
When speaking to clients, friends and family, and exploring why people want to change how they look, the most frequent responses are “so I can feel more confident”, “so I will look good naked and in clothes and in my bikini on holiday” and most alarmingly “because I want to look like…”
First and foremost, what many do not realise is that they will probably never look like whoever they are trying to look like… and why is this? Because their genetics are not exactly the same as that person’s. Therefore, having this idea is completely unreasonable and unattainable.
So what does this mean? Basically, what I am trying to say is that you should feel confident in the skin you have and never compare yourself to others. Yes, I realise this is easier said than done but until you are able to accept yourself for who you are and love your body for what it is then you are stuck in the mud.
How can you love your body if that is your limiting factor?
This is where we start to delve deeper into the underlying reasons for such body dysmorphia. Has our body-esteem been muddled up and mixed up with our self-esteem? Has the way we feel about ourselves, life and situations been muddled with how we feel about our body and how we perceive ourselves?
When we experience feelings of stress, anger and fear are these feelings being transferred into the way we feel about our body, even though they have to do with how we look?
This can happen because our self-esteem has been knocked and therefore this transfers onto our body-esteem.
It is easy to place blame onto something else rather than try to address the real reasons for the lack in self-esteem as issues such as depression and stress are not always easy to cope with. However, there will become a point when these deep underlying issues will need to be combated or else you will run the risk of never being able to love who you really are and how you look.
It wasn’t until I delved deeper into my own head and feelings that I managed to discover the underlying reasons why I always struggled with how I looked and my weight. Changing my train of thought has not been easy but realising and looking past what I thought I should look like and what others might think of me has helped me to truly embrace how I looked and use it to my advantage in becoming a top CrossFit athlete. It was at this point that I felt I was able finally to let go of all of my negative thoughts and push forward.
What really helped me to come to this realisation was setting myself a goal, something small like being able to get one pull-up or being able to complete one length of a 60 metre pool front crawl. Not only did this really help to distract me from always analysing how I looked but it also helped me to realise that it didn’t matter how I looked if I was able to achieve what I set out to achieve.
One of the biggest things I have realised, in CrossFit especially, is that no one girl looks the same and that no matter how you look all the girls are amazing at what they do. Some have ripping abs and others are curvier but not one girl looks ugly or can’t compete.
So the point I’m trying to make is that no matter how you look you should embrace it because you are beautiful no matter what, and next time you are having negative thoughts about how you look have a little think about is it really to do with how I look or have I got my self-esteem jumbled with my body-esteem? Don’t let your fear of being judged keep you from being happy.