Change: It’s Not Always a Bad Thing
Why learning to love your body doesn’t mean having to give up on it
Attractiveness 07th Apr, 2021
Change | Evolve | Grow. Everyone, essentially, wants to be attractive as it attracts attention from those who we find attractive. It is about setting yourself apart from the rest, to feel good about yourself, and realise you have options.
An opinion that is increasingly emerging is if you are uncomfortable with your body, then the problem does not lie with you but rather the societal pressures expecting you to look different from what you do. The combined result of self-acceptance however transcends society, sticks it to them, and shows yourself, and everyone else, that you are a better person. The trouble is that there is an element of conflation here.
Yes, there is too much comparing in our society. It is not surprising that depression is frequently linked to social media use, a place where we can compare our lifestyles, partners and indeed bodies in a sea where there is always a bigger fish. Learning to care less about others naturally frees yourself from the neurosis and anxiety that comes with not ever being good enough.
The issue is that although learning not to care what others think is a good step, after all apathy will provide relief from external places and even the self, your choice, if motivated by need rather than want, can leave you in a state of denial. There is a difference between wanting to do something and having to do something – one is a choice and the other is not.
If you give up because it was too hard to carry on, it is misleading to yourself to say that “I decided to love myself as I am.” The reason being the inference in the unsaid: “… because I could have if I wanted to, but…”, suggesting some level of superiority, in other words I could have but I have chosen a better way.
The reality is more than likely you just gave up and learned to be comfortable with reality, as it was better than living a life of misery. The distinction is that if it was the latter being inferred, most people had to say “it’s better this than living a life of misery” in the first place and not feel so good about it. This is not applicable to all, but it certainly is some.
The second issue is that, if your motivation for embracing who you are is still the desire for attention i.e you want people to notice you and be attracted to you, you have not transcended anything. You still care what people think, and your mood and self esteem is still dependent on the values and opinions of others. Depending on who you ask, there is nothing wrong with wanting to feel attractive, and yes we can recognise our beauty in the mirror but usually it is the mirror of others eyes that trumps.
Why is it that usually when we use photos of ourselves we choose ones from when we were younger, thinner, more muscular or “looked good”? It’s because, by and large, we care. If you decide to flaunt yourself, and the result is either not good or very negative, and you really care what others think, it can be a sledgehammer to your self esteem.
The short term love you might have gained for yourself can quickly turn to hate, or you can become conceited, internalising the belief that it is almost everyone else who is wrong. Such is the cycle of basing our self image on the beliefs of others. It is a game we can opt out of, but the risks are usually thought to be worth the rewards.
Changing your body can mean anything, but attraction is fundamentally a race. Not many are born looking phenomenal though. Photos we see online, in addition to airbrushing, are of people who have spent years working out, have spent thousands on hair, the best diets, teeth, great lighting, and cosmetic surgery. The need to be attractive is also a slippery slope as there is always something else you can get done or do.
Still, positive work usually pays off and if done for the right reasons can be of tremendous benefit to the self. Loving yourself does not have to mean your love is dependent on your body however. Just because you are uncomfortable with how you currently look does not have to mean you don’t love yourself.
Likewise, just because you love yourself as you are does not have to mean you don’t have a desire to change. People should be honest with their reasons as to why they want to be a certain way. If you decide to make peace with what you have now, that’s great, just don’t necessarily expect the majority to feel the same way and then blame them for doing so. If you want to play the game of attraction then embrace what comes with it.