They talked about approval from others and about people commenting when they lose weight. They spoke about how they diet in groups and about what their mothers say and how they feel "special" when their clothing is a bit more loose. They spoke about the times they felt happiest, and I was crushed to hear it was in the past.
Now, I understand that discussing health and being able to open up to friends is important. It's something I do with my friends (and at one time I did it too frequently and had to cut back on the amount of mental space I allowed my body to take up), but we always try to keep it positive. There is so much literature on the subject of body image and I've drafted my fair share of posts on the topic, but ultimately shied away from it. I thought to myself, "Who am I to add more noise to this discussion? And what authority do I have?"
But, you know what, I have seen too many of my beautiful friends feel inferior because of their body. I have had a cherished friendship impacted because of outward appearance and an eating disorder. I have heard too many conversations between women about how they look and how they want to become more appealing. And I am sick of it.
Health is one thing. It's important to take care of yourself and to be physically fit and nourished. It is another thing to allow your appearance to take hold of your energy and to impact your personal satisfaction and happiness. There is SO MUCH MORE to life than how we look. We add value through our intelligence and love and kindness, not simply by looking lovely.
If I could talk to everyone who is feeling negatively toward their body, I would tell them that they are more than their physical self. You are your thoughts and your actions. You are your responses and your kindness. You are your interests and passions. Please acknowledge how you feel, but do not allow it to overcome you. Please don't allow it to be a constant topic of conversation. Please know that I like you because of WHO you are, not how you look.
How do you approach body image? Have you observed this same thing?