We all have our insecurities; however, we don’t realize that insecurities come up due to various external situations that influence how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. One of the most common and deeply attached insecurities is how we see our bodies and the extent we go to change it or to how our body conforms to what we feel falls in the category of ‘societal approval’. The social construct around the concept of ‘ideal body type’ is one of the core reasons which builds profound amounts of insecurity and anxiety within us.
Most of us are living our lives vicariously through social media – we observe a common body type which automatically leads us to believe that ‘we need to be this body type’, ‘if we don’t look like this, there is something wrong with us’, ‘my stomach isn’t flat, maybe I am fat’, ‘I need to lose weight, ‘I need to gain weight, ‘my arms are so skinny’, ‘my face is so chubby’, ‘I don’t have enough muscle like him, no one will be attracted to me’, and the endless number of self-judgements and criticisms go on with little evidence of acceptance and approval from ourselves.
Our insecurities derive from social media and our personal experiences of possibly having someone disapprove of us because of the way we look or be critical of our appearance – such experiences can have a significant impact on us, even on individuals who are remotely secure with themselves. However, being secure with who you are does not take away the humanness you are inherited with – it can still impact you and possibly aggravate that response if you’ve consistently struggled with patterns of resentment and disapproval towards your body personally.
Social constructs, ideologies, people’s opinions, judgements and beliefs are endless. They will constantly exist, and we can do very little to change how other people perceive themselves and the world unless they are willing to do it for themselves. However, taking the idea away from how we can’t change people’s way of being, we can change our way of being. We can change our perceptions of how we look at ourselves and how we choose to look at someone who brings us down. The easy way would be to let it trap you and consume you into believing and identifying with something you’re possibly not, attaching yourself to increasing amounts of insecurity through ‘comparison’ and ‘other people’s opinions about you’.
But then we rarely think of a question which has to do with HOW we feel about ourselves – not in connection with how other people feel or the social norm of ‘having a certain body type’, but – ‘how do we feel about our bodies?’ and we individuals are so much more beyond our bodies – we need to unlearn the idea of seeing ourselves through one lens and instead learn the idea of seeing ourselves holistically. We compare more than we accept, we try to ‘fit in’ rather than just seeking comfort in who we are, we think about ‘what others think’ about us more than ‘what WE think’ about us, we conform to the rules of society, knowing that we don’t have to, we strive to be like individuals we are not and can’t be.
In this endless fight with our bodies, we lose so much of ourselves in ‘trying to be something we are not. Striving to be something we are not isn’t something that’s going to help us move through our insecurities; it’ll only aggravate it – it won’t bring us genuine happiness and security, it’s a temporary fix. What’s more permanent? Finding acceptance in all parts of who you are, finding comfort in your individuality and accepting that each of us are existing differently with different body types. Then, we can work towards improving our bodies – to become fitter and healthier – and even then, we must also remember to do it for the right reasons with good intentions; we must remember to do it for ourselves and not with the idea of acquiring society’s approval. When you’re doing something for yourself is when you will feel more accepting and loving towards yourself.
Our bodies are capable of far more than what we give them credit for; we must honor it for the way it is and all that it does.
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