I ran across a post in my social media feed today, that I believe could benefit from some clarification. This is not the first instance I have witnessed acceptance under fire! It seems to be popping up a good bit lately, which tells me there is a need for acceptance to be better understood and more clearly defined.
Here’s the post in question:
“This movement to be comfortable with our bodies has made us comfortable with being sick.”
Dr. Garth Davis, M.D.
Weight Loss Surgeon
I can’t speak for anyone else, but this is an incredibly short-sighted statement, that shows there is little to no understanding of the purpose of fully accepting one’s self. Yes, I do understand that there will always be some who take anything to an extreme, but for the most part, this is not what being comfortable with our body means!
When I say I am comfortable with my body, with myself as a whole, it does not mean there is no room for improvement and I will then be content to stay exactly as I am. What it does mean is that I am where I am, and rather than shaming myself, or engaging in self-deprecating inner conversations and behavior, it’s far more effective to learn to treat myself lovingly instead.
Think about it this way… Would you better spend necessary time and attention caring for something you love, or something you hate? Most of those who have learned to be discontent with themselves and hate their body image, engage in some pretty sad and destructive behaviors. At what cost? This sick societal notion of “meeting the requirements” in the looks department has caused far more harm than good. The emotional toll and stressors have created an onslaught of depression, eating disorders, body image issues/dysmorphia, and much more, which has only exacerbated the problem.
Let’s ask the all important question… How effectively has feeling badly about ourselves produced positive results? Not at all! Perhaps we should try a different approach and consider loving ourselves for a bit instead? Let’s be clear, loving and accepting myself does not mean I now have permission to sit on the couch eating 13 pounds of donuts because anything goes and I love myself no matter what! That’s reckless behavior, to say the least. What it does mean is that thinking poorly about myself doesn’t change anything about my current position, and it doesn’t motivate me to make any positive changes. Yet, it does encourage hopelessness and a overwhelmedness that often leads to shut down and a big bag of chips, rather than inspiring me to have a healthy meal and go to the gym!
This journey of self acceptance has been incredibly personal for me over these last 2 years. I am speaking from personal experience, as well as professionally. I have struggled with weight for the majority of my adult life, as have many of my clients. Some of that had clear medical implications, while a good bit was also steeped in underlying emotional turmoil.
On and off for 15+ years, I sporadically engaged in diet and exercise regimes that rarely produced the outcomes I sought. In the last year, there have been 2 specific things that have led to healthy reduction in my weight, healthy eating and lifestyle, and a regular exercise routine. They were correctly addressing some underlying medical issues, but equally and frankly more importantly, addressing the internal, underlying emotional issues and false beliefs that had been ingrained about myself, my physical appearance, my value, and my worth!
So what has that accomplished, you might ask? For starters, I lost 50 pounds that the most vigorous of routines was unable to touch prior, and it’s continuing to fall! More importantly, because I now accept and love myself fully, exactly where I am, and I recognize my incredible intrinsic value and worth, I am willing and wanting to invest time and energy into my health and wellbeing BECAUSE I AM WORTH IT!
In the past, all of my efforts were geared toward meeting specific goals to please others and find acceptance, something I no longer really care much about. When we finally find ourselves in a position where we truly dig who we are, accepting all our awesomeness and flaws combined, we then are willing to extend life-changing efforts on our own behalf, because it contributes to our health, growth, and expansion, and makes us feel even better! Judgment is removed from the equation, both our own and that of others, and a healthy view of life unfolds in front of us, offering a virtual cafeteria of opportunities for continued growth and improvement that we want to willingly engage in! Funny how that happens, huh?
Do I still have some progress yet to be made? Absolutely! I don’t believe we ever fully arrive! There’s always something we can improve on. The difference now is that I no longer look at what currently is in a bad light. Does my weight, my complexion, my choice in clothes, or any other external means of measurement change who I am or what my value as an individual is? Absolutely NOT! If someone thinks so, that’s their issue, not mine, because I ROCK, and love who I am and I’m continuing to become on a daily basis!
Learn to love and accept yourself EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE! Then watch how showing true loving care to yourself in all areas (physically, emotionally, spiritually, and energetically) will begin to transform EVERY area of your life, not just your physical body! We are miraculous creatures, wonderfully and amazingly made, and once we begin to see ourselves through the correct lenses, watch out world!
Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby
Also published on Medium.