Every day, I fight the urge to look in the mirror and say, “I hate you.” While sitting, my stomach seems to bulge out. Walking around makes me conscious of my legs. When I smile, I worry about my teeth being white enough. The list of negative thoughts about my body goes on and on.
Most people seem uncomfortable in their own skin. As sad as it is, our society teaches us that early in life. Makeup, hair, and other beauty products promise to make us look better. Clothing is marketed as “slimming,” “thinning,” or “reducing.”
Take a moment to think about that last word: “reducing.” Doesn’t that mean to take away something that you have, to make you less than you were? Since when was that a positive thing?
Which brings up the good point: why are we so terrified of our bodies? Battling to care for and not despise my body is draining. There are many times when I want to give up and restrict again. Other times, I feel the urge to binge. After all, if I am already fat and ugly, why not go all out and stuff down my emotions and problems with food?
These past few weeks have been especially hard on my body image. For Lent, I am fasting from body checking. No more pinching my stomach or standing for long periods in front of the mirror. Instead, that time is being used doing useful things and praying. I have given up many things for Lent in the past, but this is by far the hardest fast yet. Sometimes, my will nearly caves, and I long to run to a bathroom to inspect my appearance.
Yet, I am staying strong. It might be miserable right now. Each moment away from the mirrors and criticizing myself, however, brings me closer to recovery. Little by little, I am making my way to a better place mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
Dealing with this is not easy. I encourage you to keep it up despite the struggle. All of the work that you do trying to love yourself and see yourself in a positive light will pay off one day. It might take years, but there is hope for a future where we embrace our bodies and what they help us to do instead of punishing them for not matching up to an impossible ideal.