"Oh, baby, you should go and love yourself".
In today's world, there is an idealized body that is idolized. This body is often unattainable by most, but many, including my self would do anything to try. I grew up in the dance and cheer-leading world where aesthetics where of the utmost importance. Not only did the coach/dance teacher place aesthetic pressure on me, but so did my peers (teammates, classmates, too many different names to keep track, all sports should just chose one). When I was fourteen, in cheer-leading, the coach encouraged others to diet in order to become a flier and my friends had costume size competitions. A costume size competition, FYI there is no prize besides an eating disorder, is when everyone on the team would share costume sizes and whoever wore the smallest size went up in social status. Let's be honest everyone in high school aspires to climb the social ladder and become Regina George, if only Mean Girls was real. Now you may be asking what does this horrid high school story have to do with loving your self? Throughout high school and my early years in college, body image consumed my life, but once I started yoga and enjoying physical activity, I began to love myself. Yoga in particular, focused on the idea of not striving for perfection or comparing yourself to anyone. In yoga you're suppose to understand that you are human, that you're body can do amazing things, but you're body can't do everything. An example of this is that I am incredibly flexible, as a result back bends are easy for me, but any type of hollow body inversions are near impossible. Where as someone else in the class may be able to do a hollow-body forearm stand and can't do the scorpion version, where I could only do the later.
Not only did yoga, help me appreciate and love my strengths and weaknesses, but yoga enabled me to love my self enough to treat it properly. Before yoga, I use to occasionally go on mass starvation diets where I would loose an immense amount of weight quickly while being obsessed with my appearance. Yoga cleared my mind. I no longer wanted to induce dukkah, suffering, I now wanted to eat for health. I eat to fuel my practice/other workouts and my brain. Every time I have a meal instead of panicking, whether this meal is going to make me fat, I now think what foods are going to get me through the day and allow my badass body to be able to accomplish all my dreams. BTW, I have a lot of dreams including doing the mud run and maybe running off and joining the circus. The last one is a joke, although I am an aerialist, so most people could see me running away with the circus.
What I hope that you take from the insight into my life and my experiences, is that it's so important to love yourself. If you have trouble, then maybe devout at least an hour a day to do what you love, maybe come to yoga class. Yoga can help I promise, it helped me!