Can I be totally honest with you right now?
I don’t love my body today. Like, not even a little bit.
And despite everything that I know (and teach!) about body positivity, I just can’t seem to silence the bitch in my head that tells me that I’m gross, disgusting and unworthy.
In fact, the past 3 times I’ve walked past the mirror, I’ve pinched and pulled at my stomach, and I was overcome with shame as I was eating my lunch and I decided to do some hard cardio afterwards to ‘make up for it’. My mind is riddled with self-doubt and negative thoughts and it SUCKS.
Why am I telling you this?
Because this is reality. And contrary to what diet coaches and wellness gurus will tell you… life isn’t 100% amazing when you reach your goals.
As a Body Image Educator & Self-Esteem Coach, most of the women I talk to want some sort of assurance that once they reach a state of body positivity and self-love, they’ll never have another negative thought about their bodies again; they’ll never spend another day crying in the bathroom and they’ll never even so much as contemplate another diet again.
But I can’t give them that guarantee. I won’t give them that guarantee. I see others in this industry guaranteeing that you’ll never doubt yourself again… but that just grates on my nerves. And I refuse to sit here and force myself to lie through my teeth to you and tell you that once you reach self-love, it’s all candy and roses and unicorns. You deserve better than just a sales pitch.
Now, don’t get me wrong – body positivity is AMAZING. It’s life changing. I’ve witnessed this power in myself, and I’ve helped 1000’s of women find self-love, too.
But, this is REAL LIFE. There are real variables around you. You are a real, complex being… and it would be irrational to suggest that you could ever have full control over your mind and thoughts (you can’t!) and as such, body positivity isn’t a cure-all for low self-esteem.
Old issues and negative thoughts have a sneaky little way of creeping back up when you’re vulnerable and kicking you when you’re down. You might feel more vulnerable when you’re stressed, or if you’ve had some negative comments come your way, or if you’ve just had a fight with your partner. Or maybe, like me, you’ve overcome an eating disorder and are all too familiar with the fun and good times (read: extreme sarcasm) that is a relapse.
My point is this: you can be the most devoted participant of your own self-love and body positivity journey; you can do all the reading and all the exercises and de-clutter your life of all the triggers that bogged you down…. but at some point, you’re STILL going to encounter a moment where self-love feels just too damn hard.
Understandably, when I tell women this, they’re shocked. They want self-love to be a cure-all. But, if you’re looking at body positivity as a destination rather than as a lifelong journey… you’re looking at it wrong, which will ultimately leave you feeling disappointed.
A huge part of body positivity is about setting a sense of grounded realism for yourself and acknowledging that although your body is a fucking amazing, gorgeous miracle… it’s not the be all and end all of your worth as a woman.
And body positivity is actually less about your body, and more about your mind. It’s okay not to love yourself every day.
It’s okay if on some days, you stumble and fall down. It’s okay if on some days, you just want to cry and eat cheesecake in your underwear on the couch (that’s next on today’s to-do list for me!)
I teach this shit for a living, and I still have days where looking at my cellulite and stretchmarks and scars with anything other than resentment seems like too much to ask; days where all I want to do is eat and days where I don’t want to eat at all; days where my workouts are filled with negative self-talk and days where lifting my arms above my head to even put my bra on is more energy than I’d care to expend.
Have you ever had one of those days?
I’ll tell you a secret… it’s those days that are the times that we need to embrace body positivity and self-love MORE THAN EVER!
Self-love can be easy when there are no challenges in the way. Body positivity can be easy when you’re feeling like a rockstar… but it takes patience, resilience and determination to make it happen in those moments when it’s tough.
It’s not about forcing yourself to soldier on and pretend that you’re okay. It’s about honouring your self-care needs, being in tune to what your mind and body need from you to feel good again and aligning your thoughts & actions accordingly. If you feel like self-love isn’t working for you – that’s not a sign to give up. Sit with that awkwardness and keep trying. Give yourself room to breathe. Really LISTEN to yourself, rather than just trying to dismiss the negativity.
Dig deep into the emotional ties that hold you back, critically assess your present life and even if today sucks giant, hairy moose testes, strategise a way to pick yourself up and find a better mental space tomorrow.
We’re all human, and it’s okay if we don’t always feel like we get it.
I can do this. You can do this. We can do this together.
We deserve to grow and learn and find contentment in our journeys of body positivity and self-love (even on the days where nothing goes right).
Say it with me now:
WE. ARE. WORTHY!