Owning my Image
She smirks as she looks away when I ask her about her journey with body image. Bree has this funny way of accepting conversation through a smile. We begin exchanging words and I cannot help but become excited about the future when she looks at me with her sky blue eyes and begins to express her love for health and traveling. However, she starts telling me a story that makes me realize that life has not always been so vibrant in her eyes.
"I was around 11 when a young boy grabbed my arm in a play fight in the middle of the mall. He immediately exclaimed, “I can’t even fit my hand around your arm!”. He had gripped me just above my elbow. The rest of the day I continuously grabbed my own arm trying to figure out if one was supposed to be able to reach all the way around it.
I have not always been the girl who strives for 7 hours of sleep or goes to the gym most days of the week. I have struggled greatly with having a healthy self-image for most of my life. I still carry memories and comments that negatively affected how I viewed myself and my body. Through my early years I was extremely self-conscious and by the time I was in high school I developed multiple types of eating disorders.
This time of my life was sad, dark and lonely. I was never satisfied with what I looked like or who I was. There was no compliment to be said from a friend, boy or family member that could make me think any differently of myself. I was fat, I was ugly, and most days I was stupid.
I overcame this massive struggle in my life that kept me from joy and health; physically, emotionally, mentally and relationally, through a small yet significant shift in perspective. One day, after many years of self-hatred, it hit me that I was going to be far more successful with my health if I stopped eating and working out, out of hatred for myself and started doing it from a place of love for myself. Eating a salad or running a mile out of respect for my body instead of disgust for my body, changed the game. Fueling my motivation this way was far more sustainable than my previous method. This was not something that happened over night, it was and still sometimes is, a daily battle but it is worth it."
Health is more than lifting weights but a perspective that begins with acting out of love for your body instead of hate. From Bree's story, we come to understand that developing that perspective takes time. Be patient, be diligent, but don't ever act out of self hatred.