"Your beauty should not come from outward... Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit"
1 Peter 3:3-4
I know, I know. Countless blogs and article already on body image... what could I possibly have to say that hasn't been said already?
I'm told a lot that I should "love my body." One instagramer exclaimed I should "be completely in love with every inch of my body." That was, as they say, the final straw which compelled me to write this post. According to her, in order to have a healthy body image I have be to "be completely in love" with the cellulite on my butt, my adult acne, and the stretch marks that cover my hips. As I started to think more on why the "completely in love" comment rubbed me the wrong way, I realized that my healthy body image comes from removing the emotion I generated about my body. The negative and the positive.
Here's the thing, I eat super healthy and get tons of exercise and I still have a saggy bottom. And there are many chicks out there who eat Oreos for lunch and don't have any sag about them. I would have to take drastic measures to change the way my behind looks, and I simply just don't care enough. I lead a healthy, balanced lifestyle and this is the way I look. Do I like the cellulite? No. But I've accepted it and I no longer feel anything when I look at it in the mirror. I don't care. This is the good kind of apathy. The fifth limb of yoga is Pratyahara, it basically means withdrawal of the senses. A Yoga Journal article reads, "It is during this stage that we make the conscious effort to draw our awareness away from the external world and outside stimuli." Observe without judging. Look but don't attach emotion to what your looking at. I'm reminded of one of my favorite quotes from Victor Frankel, "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is the power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." We have a choice. And yes, I have still have twinges of insecurity but I choose not to feed them with energy and emotion.
The body-positive movement keeps the focus on the outward, on the body and how it looks. I guess I'm part of my own movement, body-apathy. Wanna join?
In yoga, I attempt on a regular basis, to not be attached to the outcome. The journey is the reward, not the 10-second handstand hold. The hours-long hike is the reward, not the toned legs. I attempt to focus on the inward, not the outward. The reason I eat healthy and exercise is not to be thin. Its because it makes me feel good, inside.
However, I completely understand where the body-positive movement has come from. A constant stream of media images photoshopped and airbrushed to an unattainable perfection has left many feeling worthless. Add social media trolls dishing out cruel and hurtful comments by the barrelful, and it's no wonder so many describe themselves as disgusting or ugly. I'm just not sure being in love with our love handles is the answer*. There are lots of things I like about my mortal body, I have very toned arms (thanks, yoga!) and very pretty feet, no crooked toes, high arches, they're really quite spectacular**. Do I LOVE my arms? No. Do I LOVE my feet? No. Do I rely on my toned arms for body confidence? Heck no. I attempt to observe without judging and go out to enjoy life. Removing emotion from how I think my body looks has been the key to my body confidence. I'm confidently apathetic. Zero f**ks given about my saggy bottom and pretty feet. I don't care enough to hate it. I don't care enough to love it.
Maybe try it. Its really quite freeing. And use that energy for something that matters a bit more.
Like a 10-second handstand.
*If loving your love handles works for you, YOU ARE NOT WRONG. This is just what seems to have happened organically in my life and that could totally change when I have more grey hair.