Just in time for summer… a reminder to exercise your right to bare arms.
I think nearly everyone knows that feeling, that feeling of being uncomfortable in your body and wearing too much clothing to cover it up. How many of you have worn a sweater over a sleeveless dress in sweltering heat to cover up areas of your body that you wanted to hide? How many of you have worn a t-shirt in the pool for the same reason? How many of you have worn all black on a hot summer’s day?
I can answer an emphatic “I have” to all of the above questions. I’ve done all of those things – and more. And all they made me was sweaty, uncomfortable and angry. I felt angry that I “wasn’t allowed” to dress the way that thinner people dressed and I was angry at myself for being fat.
A few years ago I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to let myself be angry and uncomfortable (or sweaty!) any more. I realized that the idea that I “wasn’t allowed” to wear less clothing was really a self-imposed rule. No matter how it might feel, you can’t get a ticket for wearing a tank top!
When I was just learning to love my body, I started using a technique that I’m going to share with you right now. I would decide that whatever part of my body that I was feeling iffy or wrong about was the absolute, most sexy, attractive, alluring part of my body. Not only was this part of my body super gorgeous, it was so gorgeous that people wished that their bodies looked that way.
Now, I realize that this might seem way over the top, and, indeed, it is. I have found, however, that sometimes you need to swing the pendulum way in the opposite direction before things start to even out. So if you’re going around hating your belly, you may just have to decide that your belly is the sexiest thing on the planet before you can start to feel reasonably good, every day, about your belly.
Why does this matter? Because hiding your body sends a message to others and to yourself. It sends a message that you are uncomfortable with how you look and that your body is unacceptable. It sends the message that making yourself acceptable to other people is more important than your own needs. And I can tell you that the more you try to be acceptable to other people by ignoring what you need, the more you will feel unfulfilled, angry, self-hateful, uncomfortable, and, at least in the summer, sweaty.
Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. To learn more about Golda and her work, click here.