I’ve struggled with anorexia for over three years now. Three years of relapses and recovery, of hospital stays and meal plans, of scales and therapists. Three years of really only caring about one thing: my body.
Having gone through an eating disorder, you would think I’m the perfect candidate for body positivity. You would think I constantly go around shouting at the top of my lungs for people to love their bodies as they are. You would think I champion good body image and plus size models and the whole #bopo trend.
And in some ways, I do. But I wish I didn’t.
Because I think we shouldn’t love our bodies.
Sure, it’s nice to look in the mirror and like what you see. It’s nice to accept yourself at any weight. It’s nice not to feel pressure to be a size 0.
Body positivity is a great alternative to starving yourself, but I don’t think it’s a great thing to build your life around.
When you focus on loving your body, you’re still focusing on your body. You’re still prioritizing how you look and how you feel about how you look over anything else. You’re still spending just as much time obsessing about your physical self as you did in your eating disorder, albeit in a different way.
That’s why I think we need to stop the whole movement of loving our bodies. Essentially it’s keeping us stuck.
We bemoan the fact that men only love us for how we look or that magazines are constantly trying to tell us what size we should wear. But aren’t we perpetuating that by demanding we love our bodies? We still want men to love us for how we look, just how we look naturally. And we still want magazines to tell us what size to wear, just tell us we should wear whatever size we are.
I’m sick of it. I’m done hating my body. And I’m done loving my body.
Why don’t we start loving other things? Why don’t we start loving our graciousness or our inner strength or our creativity?
When did our interior start meaning so much less than our exterior?
Imagine if you put as much time and effort and energy into loving who you are on the inside as you do towards who you are on the outside. If instead of reading books about the trendiest “non-diets,” you read your Bible (or whatever book inspires you). If instead of focusing on mindful eating and taking small bites and waiting half an hour to feel full, you focused on the people you were eating with and actually listened. If instead of working on loving your thighs, you worked on learning a new language or maybe even found somewhere to volunteer in the evenings.
I understand what the body positive movement is trying to accomplish, I really do.
But I also think that it’s selling women short. It’s telling us we should love our bodies because that’s where our value is.
And it’s not. Who we are is what makes us worthy. Who we are in our hearts, in our souls. That’s what we need to focus on, what we need to learn to love.