I'm excited to introduce Sarah. Sarah and I were in the same yoga teacher certification class. She is an inspiration to me. She used to struggle with a lot of the same body image issues that I struggle with, but she has overcome them. She is inspiring. You can read more from Sarah at her blog Claim the Gift. I think that what Sarah has to say tied right in with my rant on magazines. I think that she has hit the nail right on the head. Enjoy!
I often hear women complain about how the media portrays women, how it distorts reality and how we are really supposed to look, how because of the media we all have body image problems. I agree. To a certain extent. It's true that a lot of what the media teaches us is wrong. But we need to look closer to home in order to see where the problem truly lies. The media does this because it sells. The media gets away with it because we believe them.
We like to think that we really are supposed to look a certain way. That's why we buy the right clothes, the anti-wrinkle creams, the diet books, the beauty magazines. Or if we don't invest in this idea with our pocketbooks, we still do it in our conversations with others and with ourselves. Think about it, how often do you hear women you know and love (yourself included perhaps?) talk about dieting or losing weight, talk badly about their body, or even just refuse to pose for pictures? How often do we place our own self-worth in our appearance? We say it's sick how the media objectifies women, but here we are, treating our own bodies like objects, rather than a part of our own souls (as a Mormon, I have been taught that your soul is your spirit AND your body together), a part that needs love and nourishment just as much as the rest of you.
Every time a woman puts herself down for what she sees in a mirror or a photograph, she is objectifying herself just as much as those who feel the need to flaunt their bodies in public.
Your body is a part of you. And an important part. We often treat ourselves as separate pieces. I have a spirit. I have a mind. I have a body. We like to disconnect all the parts, right? It makes everything seem so much more convenient. Because then we think we can avoid accountability with ourselves. In reality, the way you treat one part of you affects the other parts of you. So, when you objectify your own body, you are hurting your spirit and your mind.
Try today to think of your body as a part of who you are. It is not an object. It does not define who you are. Just like your mind and your spirit, it is going to change every day. If you can think of it as a part of who you are (not this thing you are stuck in), it gets easier to get to know it from the inside out. Rather than letting a mirror or a picture tell you about your body, let your body teach you. What sensations do you feel as you move around cleaning the house, playing outside, exercising, or as you eat your meals?
It's just as important to know these things as it is to know what books you like to read, or what things make you laugh or cry. These things are also a part of who you are.
I know that as you get to know your body from the inside out, you will have a harder time actually treating your body as an object. It will teach you how it needs to be treated. You'll learn that it is a glorious gift that not only deserves your respect, but your love as well. You'll feel more like a whole person and living life will be a richer experience for you.