If I Get Skinny, I'll Be Happy, RIGHT!?
We live in a world where having the "ideal" body has been reshaped, redefined and reconditioned to an unachievable amalgamation of distorted and unrealistic body shapes.
Look to instagram where you will no doubt find a feed full of thin women in bikinis or athletic men shirtless, giving you step by step instruction on getting those 6 Pack Abs or creating the perfect summer body.
Social media is the perfect place to look to find people screaming for attention, no shame to them for positing a beautiful picture of themselves just because), but we are screaming to be noticed.
The like button has absolutely no use but to drive you insane, and let you know how liked or unliked your post is (WHAT!!!!????)
Social media is the greatest thief of personal joy and uncertainty. Look no further than your favorite influencer, repping a new bathing suit brand, yoga sports bra or super tight gym shark tank.
Say it with me, these are all illusions of happiness. You won't magically be happy once you can "finally wear a crop top" - I promise. Over the past 12 years, in psychotherapy, I've seen patients with lots of different body shapes and sizes and I can promise you, there is no trend in "if I get skinny, I will be happy!" Zero! The thin people have just as many, less than, more than, or equal to problems as those of different body shapes. However, I can assure you, people who incorporate nonpunitive exercise, healthy eating and yoga, do tend to feel better, regardless of body shape.
People totally have the right to display themselves how they wish online - but imagine a world where people didn't have to show you how good it "feels" to be thin. Imagine a world where people taught you how to find joy in your life and tend to your body as if it were a garden, not a garden filled with ever growing ivy, needing to be pruned, and re-pruned, never seeing the abundance and beauty that is there. Instead, maybe you nurture your garden - tend to it, but not over tend to it - if that make sense?
How about instead of posting pictures that show off our abs, cheekbones and defined bodies we create joy through experience -- with no need to put it on display. We should be exercising, not for end results, but for FEELING BETTER. I was once the very person, who was tracking calories, never skipping a work out, eating chicken, broccoli and sweet potatoes 7 nights a week. Was I happy? If you looked at my instagram you would have thought so - posing in super tight tank tops, shirt off and tight leggings; lots of selfies and a big old smile. But it was never enough -- the comparison game was real. For every post I made, there were thousands of posts better - men who were thinner, more defined, prettier -- the list goes on and on. Not to mention how hard I was on myself when my body size would fluctuate - wow! It was doing the complete opposite of what I thought my journey to an athletic body was supposed to do! The joy we are believed to think a fitness body will provide is fleeting. Sure, it fits the "ideal" image of someone looking "better" in clothes, taking their shirt off at the beach, going on vacations looking super cute in stringed tops and crop tops, etc. (what the hell do those statements even mean!?- UGH).
I am not co-signing on binge eating, continuous overindulgence or morbid obesity. We know these can lead to physical and mental health problems. I'm saying, let's find a happy medium. Let's normalize diversity in body shapes and sizes. Let's encourage exercise and movement to FEEL better physically, emotionally and mentally, but let's avoid the façade of surface level satisfaction via superficial celebrity status bods.
If you're on a feel good journey (my trade in for fitness journey) then be PROUD OF YOURSELF.
Movement is a fundamental part of balance. It's a science. Exercise and eating healthy are essential to feel optimally more stable and at peace. But try to avoid the comparison which social media has readily made available before you. Maybe unfollow triggering influencers. Maybe don't post as many gym selfies. Maybe post pictures of yourself loving your life without the need to look at the number of likes or re-posts. The choice is yours. But know you are perfectly imperfect - just like the rest of us! :)
Let's reshape how we can view our bodies in a hope to find peace and contentment in the amazing bodies we have - look as all we can do, all we've been given -- so much magic happens outside of our bodies anyways! These bodies are merely containers for things so expansive (spirit) it's hard to believe we stay intact.
Above all else, Love Yourself. Your aim is to be physically, emotionally and mentally healthy, not superficially "ideal."
Your body is the architecture of your every ancestor. No more looking at flaws. BOW DOWN. - Jaiya John.