The Happiness Connection  

Free yourself from body shame

Accepting your body

As I write this column, it’s summer—at least for today.

Sundresses, shorts, and flip flops are all on display. Traditionally, this is a tricky time of the year for me. I love summer weather but the warmer temperatures mean days at the beach and hanging out in the sunshine.

You may wonder why that would be a potentially difficult thing. If you’re caught up in body shame, then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Warm weather means summer clothes that tend to expose more flesh. In the winter, you can bundle up and keep your body well hidden.

Last time I talked about this topic, I received an email from a man who thought this subject was purely for women. I assured him that was not the case.

Feeling uncomfortable about your looks also does not indicate you’re shallow.

I do, however, agree whole-heartedly that life is better when you shift your perspective away from thinking somehow you aren’t good enough.

Acceptance brings with it a sense of freedom and allows you to love all of you, even your perceived flaws. After all, if you can’t appreciate yourself, why should you expect someone else to?

As I sit in my favorite coffee shop, I’m noticing just how many young women seem to accept their bodies with so much more grace than I did at their age. They seem to understand the human form comes in a vast array of shapes and sizes and all of them are beautiful.

I started about a year ago on a journey to banish body shame. To me that means accepting what I look like. I’m not a spring chicken, so I have sagging skin and certain parts of me are thicker than they used to be.

The ironic thing is when I was in my 20s and had a gorgeous, youthful body, I didn’t appreciate it. I focused on its imperfections. When I look back at photographs of me at that age, I realize just how bizarre my perception was.

Does that mean when I’m 90 I’ll look at photographs of me in my 60s and wonder why I wasn’t able to appreciate what I look like today? That’s a sobering thought.

Having the body of a supermodel doesn’t define you. It isn’t a reflection of your soul. Yes, humans appreciate beauty but there’s so much more to a person than their physical form. Beauty radiates from what’s on the inside.

I want to thank everyone who is further ahead of me on this journey. As I watch you wear clothing that makes you feel good without trying to hide your curves, cellulite or protruding bones, understand you’re modelling the beauty of acceptance.

I know for sure I’m not the only one you’re setting a healthy example for. You’re helping me and countless others to put on shorts and uncover our arms.

It’s time to embrace the freedom that comes with releasing limiting beliefs. And, as with most things in life, comfort comes with practice.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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