I have never truly respected my body. I’ve loathed and despised it almost since I was even a child. I hated my knobby knees, gangly limbs, and flat chest. When I got older, I disguised my flaws with push-up bras and bobby pins and makeup. Hours were spent sculpting my hair and concealing my blotchy complexion. High heels tortured my toes but accentuated my calves. And tanning beds temporarily cured me of my vampiric pallor. I trussed myself up, presenting my body to the world all photoshopped and enhanced. And even then, I still hated the way I looked.
I thought I wasn’t sexy because everyone who was fatter than me made themselves feel better by saying, “Men don’t want to have sex with a stick.” Society began to imprint in my brain that being skinny was being sickly. I felt healthy. I ate anything I wanted and never gained an ounce. I would have been okay with that until I learned it was something feared and despised. So I started trying to gain weight. And when I couldn’t, I just gave up and learned to live with hating my body.
If all of the terrible things I said to myself on a daily basis were said aloud by the person I loved, that person would be a sadistic and selfish abuser.
I felt alone.
How many of us grew up hating our bodies? How many of us let society and those around us dictate how we dressed and how we looked? How many of us felt like we had to compensate somehow for our lack of celebrity good looks? How many of us found ourselves defining our worth through the person we dated? How many of us?
I wonder sometimes why there is such an overwhelming number of people who are in abusive relationships (physical, mental, economical, or verbal). There are so many ways we let others control us. Why? Why don’t we see through their lies and manipulation? Is it because love is blind? Or is it because we already abuse ourselves?
If all of the terrible things I said to myself on a daily basis were said aloud by the person I loved, that person would be a sadistic and selfish abuser. Now that I’m older and am gaining weight, I’m learning all new ways to hate myself again.
“You’re stomach is getting so fat and your boobs stay so small.”
“You need to lose weight, you’re gross.”
“You’re so stupid.”
“You’re so selfish.”
“You’re not a good friend.”
“You will die alone because nobody likes you.”
“You’re pathetic, why do you even try?”
I’m ashamed to say, I have told myself all of those things at one time or another, sometimes all in the same day. I have abused myself so terribly, all while trying to educate and empower others about the dangers of abusive relationships. Yet, I have barely touched on the most important relationship of all: your relationship with yourself.
. . . we already abuse ourselves . . .
We need to be kinder to ourselves. We need to treasure our bodies and tell ourselves daily how beautiful or handsome we are and how we matter as individuals.
“I am beautiful.”
“I am smart.”
“I am a good friend.”
“I am surrounded by loved ones.”
“I am worthy of respect and love.”
The next time you look in the mirror or sit in self-reflection, work on complimenting yourself. We teach others how to treat us and if we are already treating ourselves with so little respect, others will learn from our example. What are you teaching others about yourself?
Feel free to leave a comment telling us what you love about yourself.