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. Last week, I shared the first installment of wisdom from my students. Here are some more wise words from my students this semester. May they give you hope and inspiration the way they did me.
It’s not okay to bash ourselves just like it’s not okay for us to bash other people. These bodies that we were given are gifts, they aren’t meant to be criticized, bashed and destroyed. They’re meant to be cherished and loved. Not all of us are going to look like the models we see on TV, we aren’t going to all have flat stomachs, but we’re all made unique in the way that we should be. We’re all blessed with something about us that is beautiful and rather than point out the flaws that we think we have, we need to focus on the things that can be perceived as wonderful. ~Kaitie Beth
With a new perspective on body image, I am now able to appreciate the fact that each and every body, paired with a soul, serves a unique purpose and therefore is meant to look or operate differently than others. Rather than judging the people around me, I am able to celebrate the diversity of my peers and find value in the features that make us all irreplaceable. ~Amanda
Throughout this body image course and my Beautiful You journal process, I have come across concepts that have really made an impact on my body image growth. One concept being, that my body is my vehicle. That metaphor in itself has changed the way I view my body drastically. Because my body is my ONLY vehicle, I need to take care of it. I do not need to be body shaming my only body, I do not need to place the blame of my unhappiness on my body and my body does not define who I am or what I have to offer. My body is simply the vehicle that allows me to function, express myself and achieve my goals.
Another concept that was reinforced that changed my perception of my body to a more positive one is that my body is… a canvas. Yes, I have crowfeet around my eyes from where I laugh and squint and yes I have stretch marks and yeah I have moles but they are all beautiful. Everything I name and more is the art on my canvas and that art is what makes me a unique individual. Those “imperfections” should be celebrated because those “imperfections” prove that I am an alive, breathing, functioning being of worth and value. ~Wynter
Beauty is not defined by skin, confidence is not found in peers, and identity is not gained from the latest trend. ~ Shannon