Inner Beauty #4 - Loving Your Body

12.11.14


Today's inner beauty post has been inspired by a recent blog post about body image by Megan of Wonderful U. I thought the message in her post was very inspiring, and I hope it resonated with women, particularly young impressionable women. But I thought I'd put my two-cents in and write a little something on the topic myself.

Embracing who we are and what we look like can sometimes be a difficult thing. In my opinion, this can be attributed to two things: firstly, the modelling industry and secondly, the media. You need only pick up any magazine targeted at young women to see the 'definition of perfection' on the front cover - the manipulated, Photoshopped, air-brushed image we see can make the body conscious woman feel inferior, inadequate. Attend a fashion show, and you'll see the clothes hanging off size 0 models. I experienced this firsthand at Melbourne Spring Fashion Week as a Back of House assistant. As someone who is relatively confident in her own body, this made me feel incredibly overwhelmed and intimidated, and they weren't even the thinnest models I've seen.

But trust me when I say I've been there, in that awkward self-conscious adolescent stage, looking to be accepted by my peers and the world. A size 14 at age 14 just wasn't good enough in my opinion - little did I know that it was simply 'puppy fat' that would gradually disappear as I hit my late teens. And now when I look back, I feel so disappointed in myself, that I didn't accept my body at that time. I never did anything extreme but I'd hardly ever finish the plate of food in front of me, and I'd deprive myself of that packet of chips, or chocolate bar...

Yet, if you think about it logically, even the people we admire and worship on the front of magazines and down the runway have flaws and imperfections. They too are human just like the rest of us. And there is this supposed 'need' for them to be touched-up, given a smaller waist, slimmer thighs, pore-less skin. The list goes on and on. If they're not perfect, what chance do the rest of us have, right?

Times change, ideas of the 'perfect woman' change, society constantly evolves. What was once considered beautiful is no longer considered so. But perhaps beauty shouldn't be defined at all - at least not by the media or the modelling industry. Or perhaps we should go about defining it in a different way. Beauty is healthy. Beauty is short. Beauty is tall. Beauty is slim. Beauty is not slim. Beauty is blonde. Or brunette. Beauty is freckles. Beauty is makeup. Beauty is without makeup. And beauty surely extends far beyond our exterior.

As I commented on Megan's post, we need to start disregarding society's message and teach each other to love our bodies. And if we do want to change something about ourselves it should be for the right reasons - because we want to, for our own selves, our health, our wellbeing, our happiness - not because society is telling us to change. Whenever you have a negative thought about your body, think of three things that you love about yourself. Focus on your strengths, embrace your flaws.

At 21, I now feel more confident and comfortable in my body than I ever have - and it's not because I have a perfect body, far from it. I have a bit of a tummy, I have stretch marks, my thighs could be thinner, my arms could be more toned. But I don't care. I'm happy and that's all that matters. Can you say the same? It's okay if you can't yet. But you will. One day. When you block out the world's chatter, you'll finally be able to accept yourself and you will be happy.