I read this quote recently and realized it is true. However, I believe in this battle against yourself we have two opponents: the outside world and ourselves. I personally believe the latter is the harder fight.
For example, I was at the beach this past weekend with two good girl friends. We have different body shapes and sizes, yet we are fighting the same battles.
The first is our struggle with a society that constantly has images of how individuals should ideally look. The media puts out the message that we should change ourselves and our imperfections to a standardized “ideal” image in order to be happy and accepted.
Therefore, the first battle is to not let these unrealistic images influence our view of ourselves.
The second battle (which I think is the hardest) is to not let our insecurities prevent us from enjoying life. At the beach, we had focused on our flaws and made excuses for why we weren’t showing off our beautiful selves.
I am insecure about my stomach, so I have not worn a bikini all summer. I fear that other people will see my stomach and judge me because it’s not perfectly toned.
In reality, why should I care what other people think? I need to change my thought patterns to trust myself more, so that I can embrace the bikini and my beautiful body underneath. Accepting myself will let me enjoy life more – not worrying about whether I measure up to arbitrary societal expectations.
“Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired. When you were younger, the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was never tired…You’ve always got to make the mind take over and keep going.”- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General and 1912 Olympian
In this case whenever I go to the beach or have to wear a swimsuit, I have two choices. My first choice is to focus on my apparent “flaws” and never wear a bikini because my body is not beautiful according to the media’s standardized “ideal.” Or, I can do the opposite and focus on the POSITIVE. I choose the latter.
I am so lucky to have a healthy body with all my senses. There will be negative comments and obstacles throughout my life, but I am going to work at being mentally strong. I will continue to eat healthy and be active. I will also surround myself with individuals who treat me respectfully and encourage a healthy self-image and lifestyle, too.
“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game!” – Babe Ruth
Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.
See you at the beach!
- 200 Pounds of Pride in a Bikini (blogher.com)
- It's Not About a Better Body (Run Like a Girl)
- Overcoming Body Image Battles for a Better Life (My guest blog on Weightless)
- My Reaction To Jess Weiner's Glamour Article About Body Love Killing you (Weightless)
- Am I Really Free to Be Me?
- Leave it to Science: Does it pay to be Beautiful? (United Academics Magazine)