May 15, 2021 at 7:47 am #26808CrystalParticipant
I’m pretty sure everyone agrees that self-love is important, but I don’t know how many people actually love themselves. I personally like my personality and I think I’m pretty cool to hang out with, depending on who you are. But I find it hard to love myself when I absolutely hate my body. I know a lot of y’all have a lot of problems with your body, but do y’all hate your body like I do? Sometimes my whole body will be shaking out of pure anger and hatred towards my body. How am I supposed to love myself like this?
May 15, 2021 at 10:53 am #26812Tracy OdellParticipant
Realize you’re immersed in an ableist culture which will skew how you compare yourself to others…
1. Call out what you see
We’re swamped with images these days, most of which have been heavily photoshopped. A lot of the images we end up comparing ourselves to do not even show real bodies. We see ourselves from the moment we wake up, tired and puffy eyed – we only see other people putting their best foot forward. No one is perfect. We all have off-days and we all have things about ourselves we don’t like. Remind yourself of that next time you find yourself comparing yourself to someone else.
2. Choose what you look at
Subliminal messages sneak into our subconscious without us noticing it. On social media, make sure you unfollow any of the brands or magazines that imply anyone should ever change themselves or improve their appearance. Fortunately, people are starting to call out this behaviour and promote healthier body image with hashtags like #bodyposi. Remember: there is no perfect body or bikini body – there are simply bodies!
3. Start loving your body exactly as it is, however hard it feels
It’s easy to say things like you’re going to feel happier with your body when you get in better shape. But the truth is, you’re much more likely to start treating your body better when you like it. Start working on loving your body first – that’s true self-acceptance.
4. Be YOU
You don’t have to be perfect, you simply have to be you. And when you’re comfortable with that you shine. Being authentic is the most attractive quality there is. Find a vibe or look that makes you feel comfortable and ignore the rest. Trends mis-sell the idea that we have to dress or appear a certain way in order to be attractive. The best thing you can be is you.
5. Celebrate your body as an instrument not an ornament
Go out, swim, dance, laugh! Celebrate all the amazing things your body does for you everyday.
6. Indulge your body
Whether it’s a meditation class, a weekly massage or a trip to the nail salon…. Do something different and indulgent that makes you feel good.
7. Stop your inner critic in its tracks
Most of us are much harder on ourselves than we would ever be with friends. Next time your inner critic rears its ugly head, call it out and make a list of the things you love about yourself instead.
May 15, 2021 at 11:22 am #26815AdamParticipant
I get it mate. Absolutely. I’ve always been my harshest critic but have eased up a bit. Every time I can’t do something but drives me mad and I usually wind up frustrated swearing at myself. If my body kept up with my personality it’d be great. It doesn’t. Overall I’d hate myself more than I loved me.
Yes I hate my body.
- This reply was modified 1 month ago by Adam.
May 15, 2021 at 2:49 pm #26817Robert StumpParticipant
Not the discussion I was expecting after reading the title, but a good one nonetheless. 🙂 For me, I feel it’s just honestly. We each have our own hangups about how other people look, so it’s understandable that we know deep down that others looking at us probably feel a certain type of way. But, we can’t know what is in their heart, but we can project and assume that they are looking at us negatively. I’m as bad as anyone else thinking that my body is undesirable, but at the end of the day there are too many things we can’t change so it’s hardly worth worrying about. I try not to look in the mirror too much (except when I’m naked, heehee), but I just try to remember that each of us is unique, and there is no earthly reason to assume that all 6,000,000,000 of the other humans on this planet care all that much about how I look. For instance, I’m always anxious trying to get into a swimming pool or hot tub in public feeling that I have to bear so much of my body in a very awkward way to complete strangers. But, not once was I ever truly embarrassed, ashamed, put down, or tormented in any way during or after the experience, and any interaction I have with strangers during those times are always uplifting, beneficial, and very kind.
May 16, 2021 at 4:10 am #26818AjayParticipant
I also dislike certain parts of my body. I tend to not look in the mirror so often below my neck but one day I had someone take a picture of my naked body and I was shocked to see what I saw. I had never seen myself completely naked and I didn’t like what I saw but at the same time it was something new to me and I knew I can’t change it so there was some acceptance there. What I saw was a severe scoliosis and a body that was all twisted. I did think to myself at some stage how can someone ever love that?
Personality-wise I’m pretty happy with who I am and I know that when I’m happy people generally would like to be around me but what gets me down is when I think, “would I ever find a woman that could ever accept my personality and body fully and perhaps even find it attractive?” My mind says “no” but my heart says “maybe”.
May 16, 2021 at 2:47 pm #26819LosmiParticipant
Hello Crystal, another great topic started by you, and I am gladly going to contribute to it, so thank you!
Before I start ranting, let me first say that I think that this is not an easy topic 🙂 It’s one of the most profound questions in life – how can I accept myself for what I am? This question plagues healthy people as well as us disabled, but (fortunately or unfortunately) I think we disabled get to ask it earlier than most of other people.
I think your approach to this problem is perfect. You have this situation that is terrible bothering you, but you are not lying yourself about it, you are not lying anyone else, and you decided to talk openly about it and look for other people’s opinion. I think this approach is right on the money, and that you will be just fine.
What do I mean by “just fine”? I think you will come to realization that maybe there is not much reason to love your body, but there is also not much reason to hate it:)
As I see it you are still very young and of course you are not satisfied with your body. I don’t think there ever lived a single soul on this planet that didn’t have a phase where they hated their body; of course, for us with SMA this is extremely amplified. So honestly, why would we love our body? It is not just that is not pretty (to say the least), it is also preventing us to live our lives the way most other people can!
Then again, it’s not like our body decided to be this way. It didn’t wake up one day and say “Hey, I’m going to make life miserable for this owner of mine”. It is as if you would have some old, rusty, half painted car that breaks down every second. I mean maybe you can’t love it, but why would you hate it? It has nothing against you, it has no will of its own:)
So, regarding your body, I think it is perfectly fine that you are not happy with it, but really there is no point in hating so much. As a matter of fact, you described this hate as a really really strong feeling, and it probably only results in actually hurting your body even more. Too much of a stress hormone is not good for your mind or for your body, so it would be nice if you could stop feeling it so intensely.
It could be an interesting practice if you could “detach yourself from yourself” in these situations. When you are shaking with anger maybe you can try out of curiosity to see which part of your body shakes the most. It’s probably not the same in whole body. Which part shakes the least? What is happening with your breathing in these situations? Your breathing is probably more shallow than usual, or faster than usual, or both. Try taking control of your breathing, make it more “normal” and see if that helps to calm down the whole body.
In general, as I said, I think you are seeing everything clearly and I think you will come to a more balanced place when it comes to relationship with your body, and that place is – it is what it is, I will try aid my body as much as I can.
Regarding the question of “How am I supposed to love myself like this?” – I am sure you heard this many times – you are not only your body!:) That is why I think we are so lucky, our bodies are shitty, but we are sane people. I have immeasurable empathy for truly insane people; I have unfortunate of having some in my family, and I can tell you that is probably the worst thing in the world. They basically have no “fighting chance”, they are left to the mercy of their illness… but we are not! We get to ask the kind of questions you are asking; we get to think about them, research them, talk to others about them, reach some kind of a decision and act on it. What I am trying to say, we are so much more than our bodies, we can make people happy, we can make ourselves happy, there is no reason to focus only on our failing bodies and not love ourselves because of it.
The main point is (at least for me) how do I judge myself as a human being? I really won’t dislike myself just because my body is faulty, I don’t think that this is logically right, and I don’t feel that this is right. I constantly work on myself and this truly I love about myself. I am not a saint, but I am always thinking about what does a good human being does, and I try do it. I really think that in this we are not different from healthy people.
Of course, I have different standard for myself than I have for someone who is healthy. If you are healthy, I really think you should try to be of service to other people and/or animals and/or plants around you. On the other hand, I am not really in a position to be of service to many living beings, but I can try to have better relationship with my parents. There were some things that we would often fight about, so I decided to try figuring out what is exactly happening, can we not have these arguments over and over again? If we somehow figure it out, I find that to be great a victory. Also, I try to figure out how can I ease some of the things they need to do for me… so something like that. Maybe I can’t do much because of my body, but there are certainly things I can do and I will judge myself by these, and not by my body.
That’s it from me. Once again, thank you for inspiring me to get on this “little” rant😊
Yes, English is not my first language so this text feels a bit messy, but I am tired, this is the best I can do now 😀
May 16, 2021 at 9:45 pm #26820Alyssa SilvaKeymaster
I don’t have anything to add, but I just wanted to say the advice here is so beautiful. Thank you for bringing up such an important topic, Crystal. I have my good and bad days when it comes to loving myself, and I’m going to pocket these words for the bad ones.
May 17, 2021 at 6:15 pm #26830CrystalParticipant
OMG thank you all so much! These were beautiful and very inspiring! And funny. Thank you for being so honest and open. I have had someone take a picture of my butt cuz I wanted to see how the wound was doing but I only saw the wound. Not even my whole butt. But I’m getting a bath tomorrow (pray for me, I hate baths, they hurt so much) so maybe I’ll have my mom take a picture of me naked so I can see.
I don’t hate my body for how it looks necessarily – I don’t love it but I don’t hate it either. I love my eyes and that’s enough to get my mind off of the snake shape of my body and the fact that my stomach sticks out on my side. Plus I don’t really care what people think. I have gone to the park with my brothers a few times without even brushing my hair. Lol. Sometimes I do think “how can anyone fall in love with me? Look at my body” but my brother snaps me out of that pretty quick. He says that someone will love me for my personality and whatnot and they’ll understand that my crazy body and a lot of work comes with the package. He says he loves me and that’s why he hangs out with me when he can even though he might have to take me to the bathroom or reposition me a couple hundred times cuz I’m hurting or just having trouble sitting up on my own. Sometimes he’d even pull a chair into my room so he can hang out with me while I’m laying down. And he says that he won’t always be the only one who does that.
No, I hate my body cuz it won’t leave me alone. I’m always hurting and I’m not exaggerating. And the pain is always BAD. SO BAD. And I can’t do anything about it. I know I’m not the only one who hurts, especially in this community. But this is driving me insane! I currently have three – sorry, four – bandages on my body. And they all hurt extremely bad. AND other things hurt extremely bad too. And I always have to use the bathroom at the worst times.
I’m sorry for complaining so much.
Oh and Losmi, I also have family who are mentally ill. My birth mom, my older brother and my older half brother. And all three have hurt me a lot, physically and emotionally and mentally. It sucks, doesn’t it?
May 23, 2021 at 12:01 pm #26886Mike HuddlestonParticipant
Probably not likely going to add much to this, but I wanted to reply. Some amazing answers have been provided.
To me, and I know this is a huge difference, I am fortunate in that I do not deal with a lot of pain. Some, but it is very manageable, and mostly without medication. Very infrequently do I need something like ibuprofen. So, admittedly, a completely different perspective than Crystal and others who are dealing with much more pain. Just wanted to get that out there.
My perspective is of an over 40 year patient. I’m 58 and was formally diagnosed when I was 16, but knew there were issues before then. So, the teenage years bring a lot of self awareness and potential body image awareness. That can be difficult enough for those not dealing with a progressively degenerative condition like SMA. Add SMA to the mix, and it can be, and often is, overwhelming. I played a LOT of sports when I was younger. Just when I was coming into an age when my abilities should have been improving, they were regressing. I was having trouble running, getting up from the ground, squatting and then standing up. All things that I’d done without much thought or hesitation before. Then you start adding in difficulties getting out of a chair, or climbing the steps to the school bus, and then just going up regular steps, formerly taken two at a time, now requiring the hand rail to do individually.
This certainly caused a lot of self consciousness. That can lead to anger, frustration, and maybe even some hatred toward the seeming betrayal being committed by your body. Way too much to comprehend and process. So, I will not gloss over and pretend there weren’t times when I was angry, because I was. And I was frustrated. Girls I liked and even others guys starting treating me like a freak of nature – and not in some kind of cool X-Men kind of way. Kids can be cruel.
But then I realized a few things. One, no one wants to be around someone who is angry or frustrated all the time. So, I started focusing on the parts of my personality that allowed me to make friends and be the person I wanted to be around. Crystal, that’s the part of your personality you like and makes you cool to hang around. Two, I realized that my body is only a vessel that allows me, yes with challenges, to make this journey of life. I can still work and contribute in that way. I have a loving wife, we own a home, and two cars, and we find ways to enjoy life. And finally, three, I realized there are so many people much worse off than I am. Sure, that doesn’t help manage the day to day pain, but it does help with trying to keep things in perspective.
Not sure if any of this helps, but I hope so. And Crystal, I hope you’re able to get to a place where your pain is more manageable and you’re able to focus on self love, and not hate your body. Deal with the anger and frustrations, because they are real, but don’t hate yourself – you have so much life in front of you and so much to offer people and this world. Embrace the opportunities that life will provide you.
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