You know that moment you look in the mirror and instantly spiral into ‘ahh I hate my body, I can't believe I look like this, my life would be so much better if I were smaller'? At that moment, you are rejecting your body. And the thing about rejecting our body is that it doesn't do anything productive for us. And this is why it is so imperative for you to accept your body today, even if you don't love it.
First, let's define acceptance because most people have this definition wrong. According to dictionary.com, acceptance is ‘the act of taking or receiving something offered.'
Notice this definition doesn't say…
- loving what is offered
- being okay with what is offered
- not wanting something other than what was offered
It is simply taking what is offered. When we apply this to your body, this is choosing to take what is offered to your body TODAY. We don't know what will be offered to your body tomorrow, in a year, or 5 years. Today, this is what we got. And now, you have a choice: Am I going to accept it and allow myself to make the most of what was offered? OR am I going to reject it and waste my energy on rejection?
Here are three things you need to know about why you need to accept your body today (and why acceptance is the key to building a better body image)
01. Accepting your body doesn't necessarily mean you love it (or you even like it) – it simply means you are choosing to embrace what is
This is your body today. Being upset about it, hating it, or shaming it does not change your body now. So what if you tried something different? What if you tried to embrace your body today – even if you don't love it – so you're able to spend the energy you would normally spend hating and shaming on doing things that make you feel really good?
What might happen if you accept your body today, even if you don't love it?
02. When you accept your body, it doesn't mean you're against change
Just because you accept something, it doesn't mean you don't want something different. It is simply choosing to no longer fight a fight you have no control over. For example, if I wake up with a pimple on my face today – I don't love that, and I don't want it to remain on my face. However, I can put some cream on it, but that is about it. Looking in the mirror and saying ‘i hate this pimple. this pimple is disgusting. I shouldn't have this pimple' it isn't going to take it off my face today. This is it. This is what I got this morning. Accepting this pimple on my face today doesn't mean I don't want to change it. It simply means this is what I was offered today. I can embrace it and continue my day (and maybe even have a great day). OR I can be upset, have a terrible day, and still have a pimple on my face.
What might happen if you accept your body today because it is your body today, even if you want to change it?
03. When you accept your body, it's automatically easier to do healthful things for your body
When we appreciate and want to care for our bodies, it is easier to do things for our bodies that make us feel good. Likewise, when we reject and hate our bodies, it's harder to do things for our body that makes us feel good. You have tried hate, shame, and rejection, and it hasn't worked. What if you tried something different?
The next time you look in the mirror and want to reject what you see, what if you try these reframes instead:
- I don't love my body right now, AND I will accept it because rejecting it is wasted energy.
- Rejecting my body doesn't change my body. I am choosing to accept my body to do something different.
- Rejecting my body doesn't give me the life I want. I am learning to accept my body today, even if I want to change.
You don't have to love your body to accept it. However, you need to accept your body to make peace with it. What might happen if you tried that today?