You know when you’re reading a book and you feel like the writer is reading pieces from your journal?
That’s how I felt when I read Healthy Is The New Skinny by Katie Willcox. Ok, I’ve never been a plus size model or owned a plus size modelling agency – a feat that gives Katie an unique perspective on the world of fashion and its impact on women’s self-esteem – but we both experienced the same self-loathing for our bodies.
We both hated what we saw in the mirror. We both struggled with our weight and felt like we’d never fit in. We both thought that if we were skinnier, we’d get the job, the guy and a happy ever after.
Have you ever felt like that, too?
Self-love is the foundation of everything. If you don’t like yourself or the way you look, you’ll never have enough confidence to pursue your dreams and have the life you deserve.
I know first-hand. Starving myself into a size 0 didn’t bring me anything. Not happiness. Not Mr Right. Not a career in writing. These are all the dreams I manifested when I learned to love myself enough to get out of my comfort zone and pursue my passions.
But how do you learn to love yourself in a world that wants you to be “picture perfect” 24/7? Here are 3 lessons about self-love I learned from Katie Willcox’s “Healthy Is The New Skinny”:
The Desire To Look Like A Model Is A False Dream
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a teacher and writer. My sister wanted to be a photographer. My BFF a psychologist.
No little girl has ever said, “when I grow up, I want to look like a model.” Yet, that’s all we dream about when we turn teens. Where did this dream come from?
Magazines. Billboards. Movies. Pop stars. It’s a fantasy you’re fed day in and day out until you internalize the message that to be heard, to be valued, to be successful, you need to look a certain way.
And so you put those childhood dreams away and focus on getting slimmer, thinner, smaller, thinking that’s the first step on the road to success.
Except… you can never quite get there. The standards of beauty get more unrealistic every year and you never seem to reach them. Your dreams never come true.
Here’s a radical idea: how about we drop the model fantasy and reclaim our OWN, REAL dreams instead?
Your Body Loves You – Love It Back
Imagine if you partner cooked your fave dish, adorned the dinner table with flowers and candles and put on romantic music in the background and your reaction was, “you’re so ugly and stupid, you’ll never amount to anything in life!”
Crazy, right? Yet, that’s exactly how you treat your body. Take your legs, for example. They take you everywhere, allow you to run, jump and walk and yet you can’t stand even looking at them because you have a little cellulite!
Your body loves you so much, it keeps you alive, allows you to move around and experience life to the full. Isn’t it time you showed it some appreciation and started to love it back?
Just focus on the things it does for you. Next time you catch a glimpse of your cellulite, remind yourself everything that your legs do for you every day. Thank them for it. I know it sounds silly, but it works.
You wanna know why? Because you weren’t born hating your body. You learned to hate it. You know what that means?
You can unlearn the hate and learn to love instead. It all starts with a little gratitude, a lot of self-care and a new mindset: focus on health, not size.
Healthy is the new skinny, remember?
Freedom Resides In Your Wings
Ever wondered why the more you conform, the more you feel lost and unloved?
You’re losing the weight, whitening your teeth, dying your locks and doing your best to feel picture perfect, yet you still feel miserable and inadequate. Where the heck are the love and happiness you were promised?!
You can’t feel them because you’re faking it. This new version of you everyone is loving isn’t the real you.
If you want to experience real love and acceptance, you need to let go of the fear that’s forcing you to conform and find the freedom to be your true self.
But where does freedom reside? In your wings. The problem is that you forget you have them.
You see, you’ve always had the freedom to be whoever you want to be, go wherever you want to go and do whatever you want to do. Your wings can take you there.
But as you get older and society gets its hold on you, it clips your wings so you forget you have the power to fly.
It’s time to claim your power again. Time to wipe the dust off your wings and use them to fly towards the real you and your real purpose on this planet.
You’ve got this.
I’ve only just scratched the surface here. Katie has a lot to say about media manipulation and the way it completely destroys women’s self-esteem.
But she also offers plenty of tips on how you can find your way back to self-love, discover your real purpose in life and be your best self.
Because you’re not here to look pretty. You’re here to use your gifts to make this world a better place.
Over to you, now. What’s your relationship with your body like and what are you doing to learn to love yourself more in this picture perfect world? Share your experiences in the comments below.