On learning to love your body

Self love is a funny thing. They often say it relies more on perception than actuality, and I believe that’s true. 

It’s a known fact that girls, as well guys but perhaps to a lesser extent, suffer from self esteem and body image issues. And it’s tragic, really. 

It’s tragic that so often when you compliment someone, they deny it – “no, no, I don’t look good” or “naw, it’s nothing”. A lot of times it’s modesty, I know. But all too often, people really do perceive themselves negatively.

You’ll notice girls will compliment each other – they see the beauty in their friends but not themselves. Girls will proclaim, “I look like shit” when I am looking at them thinking, “she’s absolutely gorgeous!” 

But I get it. I really do, because I felt the same way. Heck, I feel the same way all too often. It’s easy to see the beautiful parts of someone else. But myself? Ourselves? We focus on the flaws. Maybe we look at ourselves so much that we’ve lost the feeling of wonder at our wide smiles and bright eyes. 

Maybe sometimes changing your looks can help you to love them. Many testimonials on weight loss programs show women posing in bikinis, stoked with their new slim and fit bodies. That is great. If it empowers the woman, I applaud. But all too often, weight loss isn’t enough.

I believe it can make you love yourself more. It can’t make you love yourself.

Three years ago, I was 20 kilos lighter than I am now. But I wasn’t happy with my looks. I hated the little bits of fat around my cheeks and jaw. I thought my thighs were too big and my stomach wasn’t flat enough. In fact, I wasn’t fat at all – I was underweight. But … perception. 

I wanted to lose weight. 

I have a naturally square face and you can’t change genetics. My face would always look round, even if my body didn’t match. And I naturally have a wide waist compared to my narrow hips. 

Now I’ve put on 20 kilos and gone up two or three dress sizes. My face is round and my figure is curvy, but I love my body and my face more than I ever did three years ago. 

I didn’t hate my looks because of my weight or my fats. I hated myself because I was … myself. 

I don’t understand the logistics of self love. But if I had to explain it or sum it all up, I guess it would be like this: there’s beauty in everybody and you just have to learn to see the beauty in yourself. Most of all, you have to stop being so hard on yourself.