Mara Glatzel is a self-love coach and author of the body image + authentic living blog, Medicinal Marzipan. If you enjoyed this post, catch up with her (almost) daily body-loving antics and general rabble-rousing on facebook, twitter, or shoot her an email.
Raise your hand if you have said something negative about your body in the context of a conversation with a friend or acquaintance.
Suspend your disbelief: there you are, feeling a little bit nervous, wanting this person in front of you to like you. You’re not quite sure what you can say that makes you seem _____ (cool, smart, interesting). Suddenly the conversation navigates back to familiar territory – comparison and body bashing. And before you know it, you’re saying something to the effect of, “oh I KNOW, and these THIGHS! I really should get back to the gym this week.”
Or you join in making fun of that girl walking by who just shouldn’t be wearing that or that dress so-and-so wore to the academy awards.
Many of us are comfortable talking negatively about our bodies in conversations with our girl friends. We have grown up listening to our mother’s talk about their bodies in the same way – looking in the mirror, pinching a part of their body and exclaiming that if only we could get rid of this our lives would be just perfect.
We are comfortable speaking negatively about ourselves for the sake of easy conversation. We do it out of habit. We are encouraged the the lure of comfortable community.
However, each and every time we speak negatively about either our body or someone else’s we are sending ourselves a powerful message about what it means to be good enough.
If our actions speak louder than our words – our efforts towards self-love and self-acceptance are undercut by the casual daily degradation of our bodies during conversation.
True, “I just love my body so much today. I’m so grateful for everything that it gives me,” might be a conversation stopper, but that is because we have become so accustomed to negative self-talk that speaking positively about yourself and your assets has become a taboo.
We are careful not to look like we are boasting or bragging about all that we bring to the table, and instead, we cut ourselves down to size so that we are palatable and easy to swallow. We keep quiet about our accomplishments to keep from frightening others away or overwhelming them.
We tuck all of our self-love away, because we don’t want to be accused of being too big, too bright, too sparkly.
I believe that it is possible to begin to build friendships and relationships that encourage and celebrate our strengths, as much as it has been possible in the past to develop bridges based on the common experience of body loathing. We can be comfortable within our skin and make an effort not to speak negatively about others.
We can make a conscious choice not to add more body negativity to the world around us.
We can make a choice to get comfortable in our skin, drop the struggle with our bodies, and build relationships that encourage the flourishing growth of our new-found body love.