We Need to Stop Thinking of 'Healthy' Bodies as 'Better' Bodies
As a society, we tend to associate certain bodies with “health” and others as “unhealthy.” Often this is related to weight. We say one body is “better” because she is “healthy” and another body isn’t as good because she is “unhealthy.” We make these judgments based upon appearance from the outside. I could write a lot about the fact that thinner bodies aren’t always healthier bodies (and this is something I know about given the fact that I had anorexia), but I want to take a moment to address a bigger issue:
Why is it OK to judge other people’s bodies in any circumstance? Why are “healthy” bodies better?
Imagine how that feels to those of us who are dealing with a chronic illness, or who have a disability, or are sick, when we constantly see messages that healthy bodies are better bodies. Does that mean my body isn’t as good? Isn’t as worthy? Isn’t as socially acceptable?
But that is a false distinction. People only know about my illness because I share about it openly. How can we possibly know what is going on inside of another person? And even if a person is struggling with food addiction or some other cause of health/weight issues, does that make their body worthy of judgment?
For the first time in my life, I am living in an “overweight” body. As someone who used to struggle with anorexia, this is really difficult. Pictures are hard for me. Going out in public and living in the midst of my current health situation is painful – why? Because I am subject to the judgment of others.
People can be cruel. And yet I am sick – there is nothing I can do to change my circumstances. The stress dose steriods are keeping me alive while they hunt for the cause of my acute pain. Yet the steriods have left me swollen. As I walk down the street, people don’t know this about me. As I encounter new doctors, they don’t know what’s happening with me… They only see my body. And for some reason, we have made it socially acceptable to judge bigger bodies as “less than.”
I feel compelled to say my body is not up for judgment. A healthy body is not a better body. If I were to allow this pervasive belief to become a part of my own personal consciousness, imagine how that would feel?
I walk with those who are struggling. People who live outside are my teachers. And yet, we judge them too. I suppose this is why I embrace my own personal journey. I am finally at a place where I am learning to love my body unconditionally. After years of forcing my body into societal ideals so other people would find me attractive, seductive, sexy, smart, intelligent, successful… I am finally learning to live in harmony with myself.
Right now, my body is struggling and in pain and yes, unhealthy. And yet, I still love my body. My body is the vessel God has given me. It is a part of my human experience, and I am grateful.
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Thinkstock photo via SolodkayaMari.