Updated: Jan 13
Blog post written by Shae Jasmine
Digital Illustration by Myer Short
Imagine all of your friends and loved ones for a second. Imagine them in a room at a house party, or walking down the street together. Sat round a table having dinner or laughing at something hysterical on the telly. Whatever it is, just imagine them. Picture their beautiful faces. Their smiles. Hear their laughs echo through your mind. Visualise everyone together.
They’re all different, aren’t they? They’re each individuals, with their own personalities. They each have their own ambitions, goals and dreams. Their own unique passions and driving forces in their lives. Everyone has a different idea of how they want their lives to be. Who wants to be a politician, a researcher, a writer? Who gets giddy at the thought of a new David Attenborough documentary and who loves nothing more than a boozy night down the pub? Who adores a daily run and who absolutely loathes all form of exercise? Who is career driven and who can’t wait to be a parent? You’re right that many people might have a lot of these things in common. But do all of your loved ones share all of the same characteristics and values? Of course not! When you really think about your loved ones in this way, isn’t it glorious to see how incredibly diverseeveryone is? To realise that every person is a beautiful mosaic of individual pieces? To really notice every individual and beautiful aspect of each person that makes them uniquely, truly them?
When we make an emotional connection with another human, it’s not because of their appearance. You don’t make a meaningful connection with the way someone looks: you engage with someone’s personality and the magic inside of them. Their minds and their souls. That’s why we love those around us. So why do we focus so much on our own bodies? We know that we wouldn’t love our loved ones any less if their appearances changed, so why don’t we afford ourselves the same luxury? Why do we think that our favourite, most trusted people are going to love us any less if our bodies change shape a bit? If we gain or lose weight? If we can’t fit into the pair of jeans we wore last year? If we don’t go to the gym as much anymore because we have careers and responsibilities to throw our energy into now? Who cares if our fitness priorities have changed or we’ve gone up a dress size? Unless we’ve become unhealthy and our loved ones are worried about our wellbeing, I would say that no one cares. No one will think any less of you.
Why don’t we forget what we look like and focus more on the person underneath? The energy that we spend criticising, wishing away, agonising over horribly unrealistic body expectations could be spent pouring love and gratitude into our bodies. Gratitude that our bodies keep us alive every day. That our bodies repair us when we are broken. That our bodies can give us children if we choose that. That our bodies allow us to run, and swim, climb and breathe. Every part of us is beautiful and, honestly, you wouldn’t be you without your wonderful body keeping you alive. So show yourself some more kindness from now on. We’ve been through an awful year, and our bodies have done incredibly well carrying us through these dark and uncertain times. Who cares if we’ve put on a bit of Lockdown weight? Our bodies have been continually processing stress since March, and it is a miracle that we are alive and healthy and well. That should be enough.