Learning to love myself has been a lifelong journey, and the lens that I see myself through shifts and morphs to this day. The earliest memory that I can recall where I became aware of my body in a negative light was around age 8. I was wearing a tank top that rode up a bit and the bottom of my belly was exposed. “Shouldn’t you only show your stomach if you’re skinny?” my friend said. I had never thought about what I “should” and “shouldn’t” wear before, based on my body shape. I don’t remember my response, but I do remember that I never wore shorter tops again.
A few years later, around age 10 or so, I was looking through a magazine while in a bikini by the pool. There was a page where it broke down all the different body types and how to dress for them: hourglass, apple, pear, and rectangle. I looked down at my body and concluded that I must be a pear. It said something along the lines of “pear shapes should avoid bikinis, and stick instead to one pieces.” I glanced down, disappointed in myself for not knowing this. For clothing it showed examples of all the different ways to minimize or conceal bigger hips. “And you avoid wearing shorts that are too far above your knees— keep your thighs hidden.”
We are all conditioned, from early on, to find “imperfections” and “flaws”. The more inadequate we feel, the less we appreciate ourselves, the more we’ll look outside of us, the more we’ll consume. It is still a daily practice for me, learning how to love myself. Old thought patterns creep in from time to time and I sometimes feel like I take 10 thousand steps back. The biggest helper that has brought peace to my heart and naturally generated self love, is to turn my focus outward— to be of service. To teach and to share and hold space for those in need. To recognize that there are so many more important things that truly matter than the dimples on your booty. When I take time focusing outward, I can then turn inward and say, I love you, I truly, truly do.