I sit here typing on my computer, faithful companion by my side, warm tea soothing my sore throat (’tis the season, am I right?) and I’m mulling over the concept of “Body Image”. I can be honest about my looks, I know my stomach is by no means ‘flat’. I wouldn’t claim to being ‘toned’ or having abs by any stretch of the means. I know my husband loves my body, he makes a point of making sure I know this fact daily (thanks honey). When labouring tasks need to be accomplished I definitely don’t shy away from them, and will in fact offer up the help when people are looking because I know my body is capable of lifting, hauling, pulling and pushing. I know what size of clothes to look for when I shop simply because I know what size my body is, and I know what is comfortable for me. And I also know what my go to outfits are for a night out with my husband or girl friends to grab a little attention or turn heads, because I know how to show off my figure.
So i;m sitting here wondering – is this my body image?
I threw the words ‘body image definition’ into my google search engine just to snoop around. Without even clicking on anything, I started to see things like ‘body image and the media’, ‘how to have a positive body image’ and psychology reports and papers written about ‘body image and self esteem’ ‘Body Image – Links to national eating disorders’. And in the midst of all these articles, a suggestion for me – ‘How to improve your body image here!’. I knew body image was a widely talked about subject but good golly, I didn’t really know what I had gotten myself into searching those 3 words. To be more exact, Google tells me that [about] 44,600,000 results came up in .50 seconds. That’s what I got myself into searching those 3 words. Who would have thought?
I looked up the actual definition of “body image”, this is what google gives me according to dictionary.com.
“bod-y im-age; noun. the subjective picture or mental image of one’s own body.”
Well, that doesn’t seem so scary, does it? Maybe it’s scary for some, and not for others. Let me ask you this: When you close your eyes and imagine yourself, what do you see? Do you see fat? Do you know what a clump of fat looks like? Google it, it’s not that pretty. I can almost guarantee you that when you close your eyes and imagine your body, you don’t picture a clump of fat. ‘Yenno why? BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT FAT! You aren’t!I might have a size, but I’m not ‘a size’. I might have strength, but I’m not ‘strong’. I have fat, but I’m not ‘fat’. I bet that when you close your eyes and imagine yourself you picture a person, probably with some hair (maybe not for some of you that are less fortunate hehe) maybe smiling, maybe not. Arms, legs, eyes, nose, probably a couple fingers and toes depending on who you are. You know why? Because you’re a human being. Because that’s what you’re body image is all about. However you believe human being’s came into existence (that’s another thought for another time) your body image was never meant to be made up of you attributes. Just to drive this point home, allow me to define attribute for you; a quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something, a material object recognized as symbolic of a person. Two words in that definition are so incredibly important that I want to point out to you.
Your attributes are a part of you, they are not YOU. And an attribute is simply a material object that is symbolic of you, but YOU ARE NOT a mere material object. No – you are so much more than an object. You are an incredibly intrinsic, delicate, diverse and wonderful body made up of cells, molecules and DNA that makes you uniquely perfect in who you are.
Can we stop defining our body image based on nouns and material objects? I choose to close my eyes and imagine my body and the only thought I have is this;
One more definition for you, because definitions are one of my favourite things.
a-ble, adjective; having the power, skill, means or ability to do something. Having considerable skill, proficiency or intelligence.
Let’s start looking at our bodies for what they are, just that – bodies. And only define ourselves by what they are able to do. Use an adjective from now on, and only allow yourself to be limited by your ability – and even then, push the limits a little would ya?