Imagine stripping down to a black bikini in a public marketplace to stand up for others who struggle with body self-acceptance. Amy Pence of Boise Idaho did exactly that. She prepared herself to hear negative, body-shaming remarks, but what happened shocked her. Her experience went viral and now is an inspiration to thousands of women to love your body no matter the size or type.
Standing blindfolded and holding two markers for one hour, she encouraged onlookers to draw hearts on her body. A sign by her feet read:
“I’m standing for anyone who has struggled with a self-esteem issue like me because all of our bodies are valuable. To support self-acceptance, draw a heart on my body.”
To her surprise, she received love from strangers—a hug, hearts, kind words, flowers and a lemonade.
Here at Get Healthy U, we watched Amy’s video and were inspired to share it because too often we get the message that you need to be perfect to love yourself. As the video states: In a society that profits from self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act. Did you hear that? Liking yourself is a rebellious act. You don’t have to look perfect, act perfect or be at the perfect weight to love your body. We believe that you should love your body right now, wherever you are in your journey to a healthier you. In fact, we believe loving your body and loving yourself is the only path to a healthier you. Here are 4 easy ways to start:
Let go of your own body-shaming.
The person who has the most power over how you feel is you. What you say to yourself matters more than the opinion of anyone else. More than 70 percent of our daily self-talk is negative, according to recent studies. Whoa! If you step in front of a full-length mirror and start with: “I hate my …” then you have some work to do. Don’t get us wrong, we all have parts of our bodies we want to improve (and that’s fine) but you aren’t going to be successful hating your way to change. It’s the difference between: “I hate my fat thighs” and “I am going to do some lunges and squats today to work on toning my thighs.” Thinking “hate” will only make you feel bad about yourself and your self-esteem will take a hit. Negative thoughts are defeating; positive and actionable thoughts are empowering. Working to improve something about yourself puts you in the driver’s seat and helps you to love your body and feel inspired.
Focus on what you like most about yourself.
Become your own cheerleader. What do you love about your body? Strong legs? Toned shoulders? Soft skin? Beautiful face? Start your own list of positive thoughts and focus on those more often than you do anything you want to change. When you spend time thinking about what you love about yourself, you actually start to love yourself. Sound simple? Loving yourself doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think. It all starts with a positive mindset.
Liking yourself should be your natural state.
Hating on yourself can get old and exhausting fast. Your self-love shouldn’t be conditional—based on a certain weight on the scale or the way you look in the dressing room mirror (worst mirrors ever!). Think about it like this: Do your children need to do something for you to love them? Do they have to become more perfect to be deserving of your time and attention? Well, same goes for you. Love yourself and love your body, right here and right now. When you think self-defeating thoughts, you will be defeated. Accept and love yourself for who you are and if you want to change, that’s up to you. But know this: You deserve love—especially your own.
What does Amy’s experiment teach us? Amy showed us that strangers can be kinder to us than we can be to ourselves. Strangers can surprise us by accepting us just as we are. We don’t have to look like we stepped off a runway to receive love. Yes, there will always be people who hide behind hateful comments online, but what if you chose to focus on the positive? I promise, choosing to be optimistic will only make your life better. A healthier you is an inside job first. Can you love your body? C’mon be a rebel.
Thank you, Amy!