Flaws. I hate that word. We are constantly being told to ‘learn to love’ or ‘appreciate’ or (worst of all) ‘accept’ our supposed flaws. But for me, simply admitting to having physical ‘flaws’ is putting ourselves down. How are we to embrace loving our bodies when we pre-empt any discussion by ticking off our ‘imperfections’?
Surely what one person finds beautiful another finds, well, less so? Therefore we are never going to please everyone, certainly not in this lifetime. But what does it matter? The only person your appearance should ‘please’ is yourself right?
Easier said than done that one. It can be a mammoth issue to deal with – body image. For everyone, let’s be honest, but perhaps more so when you have a chronic illness. The way you see yourself can alter significantly, maybe even from the minute you start experiencing symptoms. Even if it’s not in any way apparent to people on the outside, you feel ill, therefore you must look it. I’m 99% sure most of that is in the head (no I don’t have any scientific fact to back that up, but when do I ever?). Our perception of ourselves has altered due to sickness, pain, aches, breaks, et al, so it stands to reason we will find fault in the appearance of our failing bodies.
But don’t get me wrong; I’m no enlightened being, by any stretch of the imagination. I’m just as bad at picking holes in my own appearance as everyone else. I tend not to spend too much time in front of the mirror, but when I do, I indulge in a veritable insult BANQUET. I won’t leave that reflective surface until I’m feeling satisfactorily repulsive and have trampled any morsel of self-esteem I once had into the ground. No, that’s not healthy: but it is common, and a FLAW I wish I didn’t have.
If you feel unattractive it stands to reason this will affect your mood, and so it follows that that low mood will seep into everything else in your day/week/life. So I wouldn’t be as daft as to suggest appearance isn’t important – it absolutely is. Whether that’s right or wrong in the grand scheme of things is pretty much irrelevant.
I don’t have a daughter, or even a female cat, but I do have women in my life who I adore – so I can tell them that they are beautiful even when they feel ugly. I can tell them they have a good heart and a great personality and that one day they will look in the mirror and see what I see. You could, and unquestionably should, do that for someone you love too. Or do it for yourself, everyday it’ll get a little bit easier.