It took me a long time to realise something bloody important when it comes to how I feel about my body (and other’s).
But first let me paint the picture…You see I used feel fine about my body one minute – meaning I could open a magazine and not feel triggered seeing a model in a bikini, or plummet into self comparisonitis mode when I saw someone at the gym rocking a sports bra and tiny shorts – but within a split second I could suddenly think and feel like I’m fat.
It’s highly likely you get what I mean. Right?
Back in the day when I was going through my recovery from disordered eating, I recall a friend of mine (wisely) telling me “If you think you’re fat and believe you’re fat, then fat is what you’ll inevitably feel”. I realised he was onto something FO’ SURE.
The key insight I took from that was, our views on our body (and others) is all about perception.
Meaning we have the potential to shape how it is we see and experiencing things. If I could see my body as irresistible, hot, beautiful and ‘fine’ as it is, without buying into what I think it ‘ought’, ‘should’ and ‘need’ look like, the power of my imagination could change my state of perception.
Hence I believe our perception is a powerful in helping women break free from the oppressive body image stigma placed on and upon us.
Here’s an example: I’m out for dinner with two friends who in conversation come to realise that while they may be different heights and have different body shapes, they are the same weight. One friend was astounded because she felt ‘fat’ while she thought her friend was ‘thin’.
Objectively both women are the same weight. But subjectively one woman certainly didn’t feel ‘thin’ like she described her friend to be- even though they are the same weight.
This paints a classic case of: Perception is based on our subjective interpretation.
In other words: What you believe to be true will be true to you. If you believe to be thin/ fat looks a certain way, then thats how fat/ thin will form the basis of what fat/thin is to you.
If you’re still not sure I’m onto something here, let me remind you that as infants we are born into a world free from stigma and limiting beliefs. Somewhere along the way we have been taught (by various modalities) what to believe. Other people’s views of what is ‘fat’, ‘thin’ and ‘everything between’ is based on their subjective interpretation, meaning their views are based on their perception of what is ‘right’/ ‘wrong’/ ‘questionable’. You have just absorbed these.
If we can believe something to be ‘true’ based on our perception (and being spoon fed a ton of beliefs), we can certainly choose to believe something else: By (actively) changing our perception.
If you believe ‘fat’ is bad, then you’ll highly likely think negatively of fat people.
If you believe beauty if about being well groomed, then you’ll likely think you need to be well groomed to be beautiful.
If you believe to be loved you need to be thin, then you’ll likely do whatever you can to be and stay thin
And before you tell me you can’t do it- you can’t possibly change the way your perception- I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying it will change over night. What I am saying is just because you’re better at thinking something oppressive, doesn’t mean it’s not possible for you to switch your thinking.
Even if it seems impossible, try committing to ‘seeing’ things a new way. Referencing snap chat- pop on a new filter and see how it changes your perception (like the butterfly halo filter can make my bad hair instantly better, even though ‘really’ my hair is still my hair- my perception of it has changed).
Try it for a week and let me know how you go in the comments.
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