It is not what you think you are that holds you back, it's what you think you are not". – Unknown
What's your idea of the "perfect body"?
I'm willing to bet my left arm that it's not the one you see when you stand naked in front of the mirror.
Elle Mcphereson? Gisele Bundchen? Megan Fox? (if you're a girl). Chris Evans? (if you're not).
Now THOSE are perfect bodies. Aren't they?
There's no-one within my inner circle who's completely happy with their lot. Whether it's unappealing cellulite behind their knees or childbearing hips. At any one time, there's always something about the way we look that we want to be different. Something we don't like. Even hate.
As a shy and self-conscious 6 year old, I vividly remember how devastated I felt when I was told I had to wear glasses. I wore them right through to high school and every day
I felt unattractive. And different.
And all because my young and naÃ¯ve version of reality told me that pretty girls don't wear glasses. Somehow that was the message I accepted as my truth. And I don't remember anyone telling me any different.
In group photos that was all I would notice about myself: there's the ugly girl with the glasses.
It's just what I came to expect. And it's what I saw. Every time.
Interestingly, when I finally shed the glasses for contact lenses I decided that my eyes were too small and my face too large. And for most of my teenage years THAT'S what I fixated on. THAT's what I used as my new excuse to dislike myself, and feel bad.
I never noticed my toned and athletic legs, flat tummy or strong arms.
Just the "bad" bits.
In truth, not uncommonly, I was completely caught up in the prescribed societal definition of what "pretty" and "attractive" is.
It's what we subconsciously do when we read magazines, and watch TV. Or see our skinny friends with their dreamboat boyfriends.
How we look. How we behave.
Yup, we compare ALL THE TIME.
Imagine yourself stranded on a tropical island as a child (before that darned societal conditioning lays claim to you). You're young, vibrant and healthy without any external influences. Bliss..
10 years pass and you've been eating what feels good in the moment and have been living a natural active lifestyle. Also, by living in the moment you've avoided any emotional stress and most importantly, you've had NO INFLUENCE from media or well-meaning but messed-up family members or parents.
That means you have no pre-conceived ideas of what a perfect body looks like other than your own.
In fact, there's no reason for you to think your own body is anything BUT perfect. As it is.
Tall or short. Curvy or thin.
You just feel GOOD. And you appreciate your strong body for allowing you to swim with dolphins. And climb trees. And you love that you can SEE the beautiful waterfalls, and HEAR the cacophony of birds singing. Or SMELL the huge tropical blooms.
Quite simply without anybody to compare yourself to, you just feel appreciation and love for your body AS IT IS. In the perfect shape that it is. For you.
Who says short legs aren't gorgeous? Or that freckles aren't beautiful? And where's it written that curves aren't sexy as hell?
The point I'm trying to make here is that everyone has their OWN perceived idea of what perfect is.
And we can follow the masses and adopt their perception of what perfect is.
OR we can decide that for ourselves.
And it's as easy as changing the way you think about it.
In my youth when I looked at photographs of myself, all I saw were my perceived faults. Those things I deemed ugly. And awful.
And I refused to believe that anyone else could see something different. Such was the strength of my beliefs.
Over the years, I've changed my thinking, which has changed my perspective.
I've learned that my body is my best friend. It's the ONLY way I get to experience anything in life.
These are some of the reasons why my body is brilliant and beautiful:
- Without my arms, I couldn't hug my daughter (or my dogs).
- Without my legs, I couldn't run (or walk) in the mountains.
- Without my eyes, I couldn't watch the newborn lambs (that keep me awake all night bleating).
- Without my ears, I couldn't listen to my favourite music REALLY loudly as I cruise through the mountain passes.
- Without my mouth, I couldn't taste that wicked artisan chocolate that I bought at the farmer's market.
- Without my voice, I couldn't have a meaningful conversation. With anyone.
- Without my nose, I would miss the pleasure of the subtle bouquet from a glass of my favourite wine.
- And without my brain I would simply not exist ( a REAL no-brainer)
You see, it's not about how you perceive you look. It's about the EXPERIENCE that your body allows you to have.
Watching your favourite movie. Getting that promotion at work. Your first kiss.
Whether the experience is physical or emotional, none of it would exist without your body.
Irrespective of its shape. Or size.
Surely that's enough of a reason to love it?