Thursday, October 07, 2010

You are beautiful...

There's been a trend in recent years to promote self-acceptance, and loving yourself unconditionally. You see gurus discussing it on TV talk shows, there are books galore on the subject, and hundreds (probably thousands) of websites. That's a good thing, right? I mean, loathing yourself for being overweight, for overeating, for "failing" to lead the healthy, fit life you want can't lead anywhere positive.

I totally agree with the premise that we ought to love ourselves with all our imperfections. What I have a problem with is the suggestion that I've been hearing from a number of sources that a desire to change, to improve, is somehow wrong. Specifically, that the wish to lose weight must mean that you don’t like/love yourself. I disagree.

Personally, I have a good grasp of my reasons for wanting to ditch some fat. I don’t like my clothes being tight (breathing is always a good thing in my book). It’s uncomfortable to have rolls of fat squishing together when I bend. I don’t like the feel of everything wobbling around when I run. The extra weight makes it harder to do some of my favourite exercises, because there’s more of me to lift, and dragging those additional kgs around makes me tired. My cholesterol has gone up (WTF?). Menopause symptoms have increased and are driving me nuts. And I understand the ramifications of being overweight (and unfit) when it comes to my future health.

I don’t want to be thinner because I hate myself. I don’t feel ugly - or at least I have no more “fugly days” than usual. I'm quite confident, courtesy of my mirror (and my husband, God love him) that I haven’t descended into ugly old hag-dom. But I am not content to be carrying an extra three five kg. I deserve better. I deserve to have a fit, healthy and fully functional body, and in order to achieve those things, I need to be at my optimal weight.

Wanting to change, to improve yourself, (with improvement being totally subjective and judged by your own standards, of course) isn’t wrong. In itself it doesn’t indicate poor self-esteem. If that were so, then logically, no well-adjusted person should ever strive to achieve any kind of change. If you train to run faster or study to improve your knowledge, does that mean that you don’t like yourself the way you are? I don't think so...

Wanting to be better does not mean that you see yourself as worthless right now. It just means that you know you have the potential for improvement and can see the benefits those improvements will bring.

So, I'm beautiful. But give me a few weeks and I'll be beautiful and faster, stronger and healthier.


LizN said...

Totally agree with this posting brilliance Kek :) Wanting to change doesn't mean you dislike yourself as you are, you're just seeking different - which is what life is all about. Great post :)

Kathryn said...

Well said but you are doing it in a 'loving yourself' way. I think there is a tendency for people to go to the other extreme and dismiss all weight loss efforts as bad. There's a huge difference btw the woman suffering through an hour on the cross trainer with gritted teeth and someone sweating it out in the gym with a grin on their face!

Same with food. I don't think any one who loves and accepts themself lives on diet shakes.

Raechelle said...

Amen Sister!

AlleyCat Runs said...

I agree, well said.

Echoing Kathryn - like everything in life, i guess it's about moderation, being fitter, leaner, lighter etc may not necesarily make you like yourself any more than you do now. If it's about loving yourself, you've got to love what's on the inside too.

I do want to be fitter & faster & more able, which is part of my motivation. I'm also a tad vain & use that too :0)

Friday said...

Good post..

However, I have experienced the complete opposite. Apparently, I want to change because I am up myself, full of myself etc etc.

Cant frickin win.

I look fwd to being faster also :)

Unknown said...

It also seems to have become politically incorrect to say someone is fat! We have to pussy foot around and call it 'curvy' or 'accepting ourselves'. For goodness sake- there are real health problems with being overweight so it's not ok! We are such a protected lot of princesses it seems! Agreed with your post!

JB said...

I agree, but for me, it has been a long, hard road. The more I hated myself, the less change I let happen. It is actually through self-acceptance that I am now changing to a healthier version. People tend to think "self-acceptance" is the same as denying reality and it's actually not true at all. It is because I finally accept myself and love myself as I am that I am enjoying life, allowing pleasure AND extending self-care to myself (and the pounds are melting off while I enjoy the process). :) Janelle

Shauna said...

well said keksterooni :)

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