August 10, 2015

Surrender to the Beauty of Her Body.

Courtesy of Author

Many of us would not call it news that we are inundated with images of women on television, billboards, magazines and online that depict a particular body type we have been conditioned to work toward having.

We know it, well, probably much better than the back of our hands.

The multi-billion dollar health and wellness industry is set up in a way that keeps us looking away from and down upon women with bodies that don’t fit the standard that has been set.

From young girls, to women, to our great grandmothers—there is a standard. Not only is there a particular body type, but there is also a particular age and skin tonality and quality that are managing the way in which we experience the bodies of others, and thus ourselves.

How we experience her body dramatically affects the way we experience our bodies.

We have, in the most literal way, been conditioned to feel uneasy, uncomfortable with and even repelled by the bodies of women that don’t mirror the standard we see set on television, billboards, magazines and online.

Our (perhaps underlying) belief that her body is inadequate, too much of this or too little of that, is a huge part as to why we experience that same sort of distaste for our own bodies. What we experience when we look at her is simply a reflection of our own insecurities about our bodies—what they are, were, or could be.

When women are asked to deeply listen to their thoughts and bodily responses when looking at bodies that show spots, bumps, curves, bones—there is a response. It may be small, but it is likely hiding beneath the surface of our desire to accept (ourselves).

If we truly accept her body—the one that doesn’t quite fit the standard—then we would accept our thought to be unacceptable bodies.

For many, that is terrifying.

What if we looked at that terrifying experience right in the eyes?

What if we began to challenge ourselves to accept, and even more so, honor the bodies of all our sisters? The ones with bumps, scars, curves, innocence, highlighted bones, spots, extra skin, wisdom and all the other goodies.

To repeat, it is our fear of what our bodies are, were, or could be that repels us from seeing the deep, incredible beauty of her body.

Honoring her body is a powerful gift for her, while it also creates space for you to honor your body—what it was, what it is, what it could be.

Start by buffing up your social media game. Who do you follow? I invite you to fill your feeds with body positive women (models, activists, bloggers, coaches, athletes) who offer you the opportunity to witness beauty in all its diversity.

This minimizes the images and messages we would otherwise see, thus shifting the way we experience beauty. Let your social media feeds be inspirational, and no longer paths to body shame.

Take some time. Dump the bad, pump up the good! Witness women in diverse bodies honoring themselves. In observing women actively accept, honor and love their bodies, we then have the permission and inspiration to do the same.

Make social media a friend. That always reminds you to see the depth of her, and thus your, unique beauty.

The more we deprogram social patterns around body judgement, the more space we have to see the beauty in others, and thus ourselves. The more richness and beauty we see in varying body types, the more acceptance and beauty we find within our own.

It is a powerful and very real correlation.

Allow for yourself to witness powerful, beautiful, lived in bodies and create space for yourself, your sister, mother, best friend and all other women to no longer shy away from our own beauty.


Author: Natalie Marie Shapiro

Assistant Editor: Cecilia Vinkel / Editor: Renee Picard 

Photo: Courtesy of Author.


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