There are no perfect bodies. But I once thought there were. And I knew I didn’t have one.
Fat Pat was one of my nicknames growing up. I didn’t look like the women in the magazines on our coffee table. I was ashamed of my body.
My dad was very athletic in his teen and young adult years. When he gave up sports, he didn’t take care of himself and started putting on weight. He ended up becoming obese with multiple health problems.
Much of the emphasis in my childhood home was on weight and how people look. I wasn’t what my family wanted me to be, and I entered adulthood with no self-esteem and a negative body image.
But I’ve realized a few things since then.
Acceptance. We don’t get to choose the body we’re born with, not our imperfections or body type. Heredity and genetics are what they are, and we’re each made uniquely. It doesn’t make sense to compare ourselves with anyone else or waste time and emotion on what we wish we were.
Hygiene. Being clean and doing simple things like combing our hair or adding a little makeup can make us look and feel better.
Health. We can choose to take care of our bodies or not, no matter what infirmities we face. Diet, exercise, habits, sleep, attitude–it’s up to each of us to do what we can to be healthy.
Dress. Wearing the right clothes can help. Clothes that fit and flatter our body types and colors that accentuate our natural beauty make a big difference in the way we look and feel.
Friends. It’s important to be around positive people who encourage us.
Laughter. It does the body good.
Age. We like growing in wisdom, but facing the physical changes with aging, not so much. Things start to shift and not work the way they used to. But it’s part of life, and we all must face it.
I’ve learned a lot since I left home 30-plus years ago. Now it’s my turn to influence my teenagers. They don’t have much in common physically, but they’re all beautiful. And I long for them to know that what’s important is what’s in their hearts.
I’m still not too excited about my body. But my husband tells me I’m beautiful. And I know in his eyes I am. Because he loves me. And that’s what matters.