Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve shared posts about body image. Sharing how we feel about our bodies, the struggle to live up to unrealistic beauty standards and discovering how our thought process can affect our ability to love ourselves. We’ve now arrived at this final installment. It’s time to recognize the empowerment of acceptance.
Do you strive for perfection in your life? If you do, you’re not alone. There is massive pressure to be perfect, and it isn’t limited to external social pressure. We have a role too. We can choose to be a perfectionist, or we can choose awareness and self-love.
Option 1: The perfectionism mentality process
- Internalize external measures and develop a mental picture of what you must look like and be like, to have self-worth.
- Set goals that, when achieved, will ensure you become one with the mental image of step one.
- Strive with vigor and determination to achieve.
The problem with this process
Our self-worth is tied up in reaching our goals, but guess what, our mental image is unobtainable. Talk about setting ourselves up to fail. Ouch!
Here’s a real kicker (and I’m speaking from experience here). When we strive for perfection, we become critical of our bodies, ourselves and others. Being critical is a major downer, a fun killer and stress inducer. Talk about a party killer.
Option2 : Acceptance and self-love
Acceptance starts with acknowledging that I don’t fit the perfect mold, no one does. It means that my body, my life and my thoughts are reflections of my life experiences and tell the story of my life, as do yours. We’re all unique individuals. Embracing this uniqueness and accepting that we are who we are is ultimately a healthy lifestyle choice.
Acceptance in the simplest terms then means: I’m not broken; I’m uniquely me.
I’m a middle aged woman with a scar on both my neck and my belly. My body isn’t as toned as I’d like it to be, and my arms do the double wave when I wave goodbye to people. Does this mean that I should no longer wear shorts or short sleeved tops? Does it mean that I’m unlovable? I think not.
But I have a choice. I can be self-conscious and uncomfortable in my body, or I can accept that life is happening, years are passing and I am (no, don’t say it!)…..aging! We all have a choice.
Acceptance doesn’t mean tossing in the towel and throwing the baby out with the bath water. It means showing up for yourself in life and embracing yourself as you are today. Self-love starts with acceptance of who you are here, today, in this moment. Not at some undetermined point in the future when you’ll finally reach that perfect weight, get that promotion or lift that weight.
Growing up my mom always said, “Before you can really love another, you first have to love yourself.” I don’t know about you, but love is one of the greatest feelings in the world, and I want to give and receive it now, today, not 2-5 or 6 months from now.
Acceptance in action
Now the fun starts. With no more crazy judgments about what you should or shouldn’t be, you can enjoy life. Better yet, it’s time to have some fun. Grab your bathing suit and dance around the house. Wear a short sleeved shirt to the store. Leave the lights on during intimacy. Hell, open your eyes when you kiss your partner! Do what moves you.
Acceptance, of self is worthy of celebration; it’s better than perfection. Acceptance is real and tangible.
Be comfortable knowing that you’re the best version of yourself today, enjoy life with confidence and freedom from perfectionist thinking. Acceptance is freedom to embrace ourselves and celebrate that – as the song goes – “I’m too sexy for this body!” Sexy – real sexy – is driven from within.
If perfection striving isn’t working for you, why not give acceptance and self-love a chance? It’s a healthy lifestyle choice that has lots of added benefits. Let’s empower ourselves by accepting that who we are is not only good enough…..but unique, wonderful, genuine and….yes….too sexy!
To receive healthy lifestyle tips direct to your inbox (as well as a free copy of my manifesto, “The Principles of a Balanced Diet – So You Can Choose!“), like us on social media and join our newsletter by entering your name and email address in the top right section of my website pages.