At the end of each semester, my body image students write a process paper where they synthesize their learning- both personal and academic- for the semester. These papers are always a delight to read and there is so much wisdom in them that I just have to share a fraction of it (with my students’ permission, of course) with you. Here, some wise words from my students this semester. May they buoy and encourage you the way they did me.
My body isn’t meant to be project but a “vehicle” in which I can be the person I was created to be.
I believe my primary aha moment in this class culminated while reading a (powerpoint) quote, “Studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between relation to your body in a healthy way and improving your body image, reducing your anxiety about other people’s opinions, and positive changes in behavior.” It is how you relate to your body that produces change, not changing your body to relate better to it. Going along these lines, we discussed that it is not effective to just try to reach a set weight goal; there is not ultimate satisfaction and peace in that. It is “our perspective that determines our reality.” The concept of an intentional switch in perspective in order to move in a positive direction in life strongly resonates with me. There are many aspects in life my life that I wish were different (that are outside of my control), but somehow I have been clinging to the notion that moving forward in those things is not possible because if it were meant to be, it would just happen and fall into place… I need to deliberately choose to move forward in order to manifest this change; choice is our most powerful ability. I have a lot of choices to start claiming; commitments to declare. That overwhelms me as I realize it is not “one and done”. That’s just not reality. I am becoming at peace with the fact that “the journey is the goal,” and that it is not about arriving at specific points in life where the depth and richness lie; it is in the PROCESS.” Marcella
I feel empowered to be the only person in control of my body. I always seem to remind myself now that peers, media, and even family cannot make choices for me in regards to my lifestyle and eating habits. Cassady
It’s normal to question things that are uncomfortable, but if I avoided everything that pushed me out of my comfort zone, then I would be depriving myself of the life experiences I have a right to as a human being. Beth
I no longer feel that bodies are something to be changed to fit the ideal; the ideal must be changed to fit each body. Beth
I love my body for allowing me to move through this world, to attempt in this short, fleeting life to make a difference in my circle of influence and hopefully the world. I love my heart for pumping, my lungs for letting me breathe the fresh morning air, my eyes for allowing me to see the beauty of nature, and my ears for letting me hear the irreproducible music of life…. Life is too precious to waste it worrying about what I look like, what other people think, or if I fit into an ideal. My body is absolutely my temple. I now understand that the journey, rather than the destination, is the goal. Taylor