Our Body Image: A Friend or Enemy?

Recently, I heard a sentence no woman wants to hear. “Blanka, you gained weight!” said a friend of mine in public. And he was right.

I’ve been through an interesting process of gaining weight over the last few years. My size changed from 6 to 12. With my nearly 6 feet (182 cm) of height, for those who didn’t know me 3 years ago, my current 185 pounds (84 kg) looks normal. For those who knew me back in 2009, when I was 133 pounds (60 kg), this is a huge change in how I look!

There are many advantages of having a more substantial body. First, I feel like a woman. Being nearly 40 now, I accept that I am no longer a girl and my body reflects that. Second, I am having really great balance now when practicing tai chi, since my center of gravity is lower. And balance in tai chi is balance in life. Last but not least, my husband really likes my womanly body!

Of course, there are some disadvantages. I had to completely change my wardrobe in the last 3 years. Clothes simply stopped fitting… I understand the desperation of women when they buy the largest size of nylons only to find out at home that the nylons are still not large enough… And, most importantly, as much as I am rationally aware of all the advantages of my new weight, I still have moments when I would love to have a few kilos less…

Weight, hair, face, body shape – so many potential reasons to dislike ourselves. According to recent social psychology research performed in the US and UK, 90% of women feel body image anxiety. It basically means that 90% of women are unhappy. It is impossible to be truly happy and hate your body at the same time.

What helps me on my path of self-acceptance is to stop worrying about what other people think about how I look. And it really works! Other people are not going to judge us if we do not judge ourselves. Our body can be our greatest friend, if we allow it to be. Loving ourselves is the single most important thing we can do to be happy. And when we love ourselves, we have capacity to love everyone else.

What can you do today to love yourself more? What part of your body needs more of your love? 
The secret to happiness is to accept and love ourselves as we are right now.

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