For most of my life, I hated my body.
I used to think that, if only it were perfect, then I’d be happier and have both the job and man of my dreams. And to make it perfect, I needed to hate it, to punish it into shape. Because, if I started to like it even one tiny little bit, I’d let myself go and become even uglier.
How wrong I was.
Today, I have both the man and job of my dreams, and it all happened after I started loving my body and appreciate everything it does for me.
The same it possible for you, too. Here are 5 body image myths you need to stop believing right now so you can enjoy your life more and concentrate on the things that really matter:
- Body Image Myth #1: Hating My Body Will Motivate Me To Fix The “Problem”
- Body Image Myth #2: If I Stop Hating My Body, I’ll Let Myself Go
- Body Image Myth #3: I’ll Love My Body When It’s Thin/Curvy/Cellulite-Free/Stretch Marks-Free/Etc
- Body Image Myth #4: My Job/Relationship/Life/Whatever Would Be A Lot Easier If I Had The Right Body
- Body Image Myth #5: My Body Isn’t Normal
Body Image Myth #1: Hating My Body Will Motivate Me To Fix The “Problem”
If this were true, you’d have already fixed everything you think needs fixing. Instead, you hate yourself more than ever, right?
Body hate is not motivating. It’s agonizing. It’s debilitating. It makes you focus on your imperfections so much, it blows them out of all proportions, preventing you from living your life to the full.
It’s what made me hide under layers of clothing at the beach or stopped me from applying for some jobs because I didn’t think I looked right enough for them. Chances are, you’re still doing the same.
Stop. That crap doesn’t make you look better. It takes your life away from you. You live only once. Live to the full.
Body Image Myth #2: If I Stop Hating My Body, I’ll Let Myself Go
Letting go of body hate doesn’t mean you stop to take care of yourself. It means the opposite.
When I hated my body, I went on drastic diets that deprived it of the important nutrients it needs to stay healthy strong in the attempt to stay as thin as possible. It’s only when I started liking and appreciating it that I began following the balanced diet that my body craves. And I’ve never been in a better shape.
You take better care of what you love than what you hate. So, let the hate go. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel… and look.
Body Image Myth #3: I’ll Love My Body When It’s Thin/Curvy/Cellulite-Free/Stretch Marks-Free/Etc
No, you won’t. When, years ago, I lost a couple of dress sizes, like many others before and after me, I became more obsessed than ever with my weight.
And we’ve all heard of those people who go under the knife to correct a small “flaw”, only to become addicted to plastic surgery and have so much work done not even their moms recognize them anymore.
Body hate is a mindset. Doesn’t matter how many “imperfections” you fix, if you train your mind to constantly look for flaws, you’ll find plenty. If you don’t love your body as it is now, you never will.
Related: 5 Ways To Learn To Love Your Body Now
Body Image Myth #4: My Job/Relationship/Life/Whatever Would Be A Lot Easier If I Had The Right Body
Looks matter. But not as much as you think they do. Your man won’t dump you because you put on a few kilos. And your boss couldn’t care less if you have cellulite. Your friends will still be there for you even if acne has scarred your face pretty badly.
What’ll make them all disappear, and complain about you, is not your looks. It’s the negative way you feel about your looks. Your insecurities and your shame. They poison your every interaction with your loved ones and compromise the quality of your work.
You don’t need the right looks to succeed in life. You just need confidence, perseverance, passion, and the will to work hard. And they only come from experience and self-love, not plastic surgery and a fancy moisturizer.
Body Image Myth #5: My Body Isn’t Normal
In a world where we’re constantly bombarded with photoshopped images of models and celebrities, it’s easy to feel like an alien for having cellulite and pores.
But pores are normal. We all have them. Cellulite affects most women, and it’s no big deal. Perfectly white teeth don’t exist in nature. And breast aren’t supposed to be just right under your neck.
Every “imperfection” you have is absolutely normal. Normal comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms. Never let anyone make you feel otherwise.
Related: Get Over It, Cellulite Is Normal
Which of these body image myths do you find the hardest to let go of? Let me know in the comments below.
This is one of my favourite posts so far.
I can find a part of myself in all of these myths and having them laid out in front of me is very useful. It makes it easier to question thought patterns and to take a more rational approach in dealing with them.
I remember thinking that my body looked like a monster when I was in primary school, especially when I sat down.
I have very pale skin and dark hair, so body hair shows up very well. I was often asked if I was feeling sick because of my skin colour and adviced to somehow fix it even by adults. My friends in school were less hairy, or at least their hair wasn’t as visible as mine. I was asked if I were a boy because of the hair on my upper lip.
I felt very bad about it and did everything to hide ther percieved “flaws”.
The fact that I am muscular (strong arms in particular) and have very small breasts didn’t make (social) life easier either.
But maybe that is exactly the point. All these aspects and my experiences made me question bullying, body image, the media, the power of words and the influence one can have on others.
My body shaped the way I treat others and turned me into a critical thinker and I therefor I am very proud. “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”
Nonetheless, it would have helped me to know earlier in life that hair on your body is perfectly normal and that the same goes for the shape of your breasts. I honestly thought that there was something wrong with me. I even got my hormon levels checked.
Lena, thank you for your comment and sharing your story. I’m glad you find this post useful. That’s just what I wanted, make people think about these myths and challenge them once and for all.
I’m sorry you had to put up with that growing up. I went through something similar, so I know how nasty children can be. And their parents aren’t always much better. They just hide their rudeness under the guise of concern.
But you’re right, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, and eventually, all that pain just makes us questions our assumptions, beliefs, and behaviours so we take back the reins of our lives.
I agree on your last point too. We’re all so focused on imperfections, we never realise how normal, and not imperfect at all they really are. That’s something we should definitely all be told more often.
I sure did believe these things years ago but no longer. Especially that my body wasn’t normal and life would be easier if it looked a certain way. How terrible.
Superficial things won’t make you love your body like nice clothes and makeup. You have to love yourself enough to take care of you and feel extra great when you do dress up because you care.
Janessa, terrible indeed. Unfortunately, I doubt there’s someone who didn’t believe them at some point in their lives. So glad you don’t anymore.
Such wise words. Thanks for sharing,