The ladies in my neighborhood play Bunco. It’s technically a dice game, but it’s really just an excuse to get together with neighborhood friends – girls only, no kids or hubbies allowed. This gives us a monthly break to breathe, eat, drink, and socialize without feeling guilty. We haven’t actually played the game in months. But, it’s a neighborhood function, after all, so you’re practically obligated to go, right?
At one of the most recent “Buncos” we got on the topic of fitness and body image. (This was well into the night and after lots of beer and wine). I probably shouldn’t have been shocked, but it became clear very quickly that practically every woman there had a poor body image. So I went around the room and told each woman what I loved about them. (Thank you Bud Light for helping to take my guard down so I could lift these women up.) Then I challenged each of them to tell one thing they loved about themselves. Just one thing. One. Most came up with something. Eyes, boobs, hair, strength. I was super proud of these girls to say out loud something they loved about themselves. It was as though with each self compliment, we all got stronger.
Then there were those that had nothing. Even after much probing and encouragement, we couldn’t get them to name one thing they loved about themselves and it made me genuinely sad. Unfortunately, I think this is a true representation of how a lot of people feel. Myself included. As a mother of daughters, I’ve had to literally force myself from negative talk. I’ve had to stop talking about weight and losing it. I’ve had to force myself to look in the mirror and tell myself I’m beautiful (in front of them). Even on days when I definitely don’t believe it.
I do this because I don’t want them to have self-doubt. I want them to love themselves for who they are regardless of their weight, size, or body shape. I want them to always love themselves while still striving to be better (or while maintaining their awesomeness). I don’t want them to think success is a number on a scale and happiness is a dress size. So, I’m trying to lead by example. I’m trying to love myself, flaws included. I try not to be too hard on myself after a binge eating episode. I try not to freak out if I miss a work out or if my jeans are uncomfortable from too many powdered donuts. Because this is what I want for my daughters. And I want it for all women. All people for that matter, men and women. I would love people to just love themselves, so they can love each other. We have to just stop judging and give genuine compliments. Not just to others, but to ourselves as well. Imagine the support we could find in one another if we just loved ourselves. Give yourself one genuine compliment right now. Then pass it on.
In Fitness and In Health,