I hope no one clicked on this article without every intention of being validated to within an inch of their life. I’m warming my hands by the fire to get the circulation going on this coldest of days, all the better to type faster and more exuberantly about you and your hips. Because that’s the big secret. Semantics.
You are you. It’s not you, and your hips.
Or, indeed, you as distinct from your perceived flaws or inadequacies. The goal is to accept and move on from your flaws, not to rid yourself of them, or pretend they aren’t there. You are more than your flaws, but they are nonetheless part of you. You aren’t only suddenly valid or worthy of love after achieving some ideal of ‘perfection’. Quite apart from anything else, we all need imperfections. We all love one another in spite of our flaws. We have to practice that. Loving other people helps us love ourselves.
It teaches us that, if we can find other people with bigger hips or smaller feet – or whatever it is – attractive, then it’s not so great a leap to presume that we ourselves are valid too. Yes, we have those traits too, but maybe we’re also pretty great as well. As much as we sometimes lower our standards and love people that we deserve better than, it’s because we sometimes look for ‘the one’ in a person who isn’t worthy of your commitment. This is largely because of fears that that person may be the ‘only one’ who will love you.
It got deep, fast, I know. But bear with me.
I’m going to wrestle back control from our demons. Sometimes you have to listen to them to realise just how irrational and horrible and toxic they are.
But all these people around us – all the body positivity influencers you follow on social media – they can prove to us that it’s possible to love yourself. And to be worthy of love. Those are two different things, but they interweave with each other. Once you have one, you generally have the other. It’s like a muscle memory in that respect.
So yes, you might have larger hips than the person next to you.
But you have to stop comparing yourself to other people. Also, just because you don’t find yourself attractive, or always feel positive about yourself, it doesn’t mean that you’re alone in that. First of all, it may just mean that you’re not your own type! Equally, I know there’s a pressure to always be positive and progressive and feminist and empowered, but sometimes those pressures get misinterpreted into the thought police.
We don’t always need to think what we think society wants us to think. We can have toxic thoughts or intrusive random thoughts every now and then. It doesn’t make us bad people. We are allowed sometimes to dislike aspects of ourselves. Because, after all, we all make mistakes. Nothing good comes from pretending that we can hold ourselves to the esteem of perfection. No one’s perfect or effortless or always happy. Happiness isn’t a state of permanent, achievable, constant existence. You have to know the hills from the trees.
Don’t waste your breath wondering if there’s enough of you or too much of you. Or if you are taking up more space than you should, or if you feel conspicuous, or seen.
So what? You are you. Full stop.
Lots of the time, we only think people are looking at us. In reality, no one is as concerned with ourselves as we are. That’s a fact of logistics. Think about it, given that we spend too much of our time consumed by our own presentation to the world, we’re rarely sparing a glance for the world and people around us.
Therefore, it stands to reason that everyone else – who is just as flawed and insecure as we are – occupy themselves similarly. In short – we don’t care about each other as much as we think we do. What we really are concerned with is the threat of what they could be thinking about us.
In reality, if we looked around us, we’d find a world slightly more forgiving and more willing to be kinder to ourselves than we ever are.