Our bodies are an integral part of ourselves. It is what people see when they meet us and it plays a role in forming an impression of who we are and how we are seen by the people around us. There are also a lot of discourses and narratives present about our bodies. Whether we open Instagram, look at newspapers, watch a Netflix show or even walk out of our house, we are bombarded with ideas about how our bodies are supposed to look like- what skin colour is acceptable, how fat or thin we should be, how we should dress and so on. These messages send a recurring message that there is something about our bodies and appearance that needs to change.
These messages are also played to us when we interact with friends, family members, relatives, and other people we meet. It can come via seemingly harmless and innocent remarks about our skin, height, weight, and other changes in our body. Comments such as “you’ve lost so much weight. You look better now” send mixed messages where we are supposed to feel good about it but also wonder what was wrong with how we looked earlier. They tell us that there was something ‘wrong’ that has been ‘fixed’ now.
Something that I have struggled with personally is accepting my body the way it is. What has helped me is becoming aware of these cultural ideas about bodies and appearances as well as the role of diet culture, industry, and media in creating ideals of our bodies. Knowing that we have a choice to accept and reject this narrative helps us become conscious of the varying discourses that surround us.
When it comes to our bodies, it’s important to acknowledge that acceptance of our bodies is a journey. With this journey, there are going to be ups and downs and moments when there are going to be challenges. Be kind and compassionate to yourself in this journey.