We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with images of women who eat better than us, who have “happier” relationships, go on more holidays, have a nicer ass than us. The whole bit. It can be so hard to not fall victim to envy, self-doubt and jealousy at times.
I think back to the times in my life where I have felt the most confident, the happiest, or proudest… Ironically, they weren’t the times where I had the most number of friends, when I was following a strict healthy eating plan, or was working out to exhaustion.
Actually, when I think back to some of my most confident, happiest personal eras, I think of a few different times. Like when I pushed myself outside my comfort zone and learned how to lift weights in a gym instead of just using the cardio equipment, and I saw a dramatic difference in my body composition that made me feel strong on the inside and out. I think of the times where I made better decisions for my health such as eliminating chemical laden body products like conventional deodorant to help improve my hormonal imbalance. I think of around the time where I began questioning why I was so miserable, overweight, and emotional and decided to quit taking the birth control pill. I instantly lost 20 pounds and felt like I had recovered myself after living under a rock for 3 years. During this time I learned about how to track my fertility and learned exactly what was going on in my body hormonally. Understanding how to interpret the signals my body was giving me created a space for me to have a better relationship with my body.
After learning the language my body was trying to speak to me, I began to respect it a lot more. As this new language developed, it became harder and harder for me to ever hate the way I looked in the mirror. It became easier for me to freely talk about periods and bleeding, because I realized that your monthly bleed is much more than any other type of bodily bleeding. It became less attractive to attempt some sort of fad diet that told me what would be good for my body to consume, rather dictating for myself what is good for my body to consume.
I soon learned that I had a hormonal imbalance, which allowed me to stop hating my body for not being able to do what I thought it “should” be able to do, like push through an intense 2-hour work-out session everyday like some other women my age can do. Magically, when I began taking better care of myself, my imbalance improved and so did my fitness.
These times of confidence and triumph that I’ve had may seem trivial, but for me, they were moments of empowerment. I had learned about something pivotal to my health and wellness, and harnessed them to my benefit. My confidence as a woman was boosted. And if you’ve ever switched to natural deodorant, you can understand that its most definitely not the coolest thing to do, (theres a period where you smell like a sweaty sack of empty beer cans for two weeks until your armpits can detox all the aluminum from your old anti-prespirant). It isn’t always easy, but the empowerment I’ve experienced from respecting my body in a way that is unique to me has been invaluable.
Learning about your body, starting that conversation with it and allowing it to teach you things is empowering. I am reminded of this as I often times find myself sitting next to a woman who is aching, moaning, and screaming in pain for hours on end, and then finally after lots of sweat, tears, pee, poop, and gushes of fluid, she delivers her first little human out of her vagina. The same vagina she has had for 28 years and didn’t have any clue had so much power, until now. With the same body that she didn’t believe could do this, until now. And then there I am, right next to her, in the 11th hour of this long-ass 12-hour shift, and I get to piggy back on her proudest moment to date – on her empowerment high.
If you fall victim to giving your body what social media advertisements say you need to give it.. if you have trouble standing up to your doctor when they say your symptoms are “probably nothing” – but deep down you know something isn’t right.. or if you still stand in front of a mirror, pinch your belly fat and associate your self-worth to this, then maybe you, too, need to open up a conversation with your body and start giving it what it needs.