One of my favorite ways to spend my free time is boating with friends and family. For as long as I can remember, I have looked forward to the carefree days on the lake with nothing to worry about aside from how long I can surf the wake and the downloaded playlist that will be on repeat all weekend long. As I grew older I became aware of my body and the unrealistic expectations that society was trying to force upon me. Instead of solely feeling excited, I had other feelings cropping up. Although the excitement didn’t disappear, it was accompanied by feelings of vulnerability and nervousness. Instead of living candidly like my inner child wished I could, I felt limited and distracted by the way that I was taking up space and the way that I looked in a swimsuit. One of my favorite quotes by Lindsay Kite reads, “Having positive body image isn’t believing your body looks good; it is believing your body is good, regardless of how it looks.” (Lindsay Kite, 2020). Knowing that your worth isn’t defined by the way your body looks, opens doors from the unrealistic box society tries to force us into.
Have you ever felt unworthy of an experience based on the way you perceived your body? As I think of all of the memories I would have missed out on if I were to give in and avoid certain experiences based on these uncomfortable or unknown feelings, I would have missed out on so many of my all time favorite days and events. When I think of all of these core memories, I think of the word free. And having the freedom of not limiting myself based on the unrealistic expectations society tries to enforce upon me, requires vulnerability. As you think of your personal experience and your experience surrounding your healing journey, I want you to consider journaling about each of the following questions:
What does it mean to be vulnerable in my healing journey?
What does freedom surrounding body image look like to me?
Am I allowing my perspective of my body to limit my experiences?
Am I allowing myself to feel all emotions that are being brought on by my healing process or am I suppressing specific emotions in effort to avoid feeling uncomfortable?
When we look back on our favorite memories, we are often thinking about the way that we felt, not the way we looked. Making an effort to work through uncomfortable emotions provides a pathway towards a life full of freedom and experiences that we may otherwise miss out on.