On loving yourself through other people’s eyes

Yes, there’s a lot of dumb body-shaming bullshit in this world. You better believe I am ALL. OVER. THAT. But sometimes I see a little light that reminds me that body love, actually, is all around us. Hey-o!to-me-you-are-perfect

Lately, that light came from this beautiful essay by Ashley Ford about a woman finding her way to body acceptance through the eyes of her partner. It reminded me that while, of course, acceptance must come from within, you might be surprised where you’ll find the inspiration to accept the body you live in — no diets necessary:

  • Your best friend. Your best friend wants you to be healthy. But not in that co-opted-by-diet-culture way — in the “Let’s live long lives together because I just really love hanging out with you” way. What does she care what size pants you wear? She loves you because you are a great listener and you laugh at her jokes and you know everything about her and love her anyway. She just loves you.
  • Little ones. Have any special little ones in your life? Now let’s be real: children are SUPER SKILLED at saying some, ahem, less-than-P.C. stuff about bodies. Example: “Hey look, your arms are jiggly!” Thanks, kid. But they note it, and they move on — it’s an observation, not a judgment. That’s why they’re such body-love geniuses, and we can learn a lot from them. Yeah my arms are jiggly, but who cares? Does that make me less smart, kind, attentive, loyal, loving? Of course not. Kids love us just the way we are, and we can repay that by modeling how to give that gift to yourself, too.
  • Your pets. That’s right. YOUR PETS. These sweet little nuggets do not notice or care what you look like. They are just so happy when you hang out. They look at you with eyes filled with love, and that love is not based on a number on the scale. They love you in the moment and they love you for you — the physical details are kind of a blur. Those are my body love goals right there.
  • Your person. In her essay My Boyfriend Weighs Less Than I Do, Ashley Ford beautifully lays out how to be a body-positive partner, and how to find body positivity through your partner’s perspective. It reminded me of an early conversation with the man who would become my husband: “Who are you shaving for? Don’t do it for me!” If this essay does not remind you of your current person, it may be time for a talk, or even a breakup. Practice these perfect words from Ashley Ford: “Real love makes room for you to love yourself the way you are.”

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