This question is so common that it’s a cliché by now, but it’s an apt phrase that captures our flawed relationships with our bodies (especially among women). It also epitomizes the bind we put ourselves and our loved ones (usually our significant others) in when we ask it. We are essentially placing our self-worth about our appearance into the hands of another, which is risky and unfair to both ourselves and to the people who try to love us for who we are.
What would happen if we accepted that our bodies don’t (all) look like supermodels’ bodies, and that this must be okay with our partners because they choose to be with us despite our fall from model-hood? What would happen if, whether we’re with someone romantically or not, we enjoyed our bodies with all their idiosyncrasies and deviations from Heidi Klum and Kate Moss, etc.? Would this start some sort of cosmetic-industry-threatening revolution? Probably not. There are plenty of other people who would still buy into the notion that we must define beauty — others’ and our own — by what someone else tells us is desirable. But what it might do is help us to accept our bodies and develop a new, different relationship with ourselves.
What would this new relationship look like? Maybe it would allow us to objectively say to ourselves, “I like my eyes/hair/breasts/legs, etc. but I’m not happy with the muscle tone in my thighs/butt/arms. What can I do to change that?” And then instead of hating ourselves for how we looked, we could proactively plan to exercise, eat differently, or do whatever healthy step would help us accept and love that body part MORE than we already do. But if we start with hating that body part, what point is there in changing it? We will still hate it when it’s more toned/slimmer, etc., until we change our attitude towards it. Any change we make in ourselves that will last and feel satisfying, comes from a basic self-acceptance of how we are right here, right now. I know, easier said than done, but it’s a worthwhile journey to take. If you want help taking it, please contact me and we can get started as soon as you’re ready to love yourself!