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The Real Enemy When You Have Body Dysmorphic Disorder

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Editor's Note

If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.

I hope one day I can look in the mirror and see myself for who I really am. I want to look into my own eyes and see more than my loneliness. I want to look at my crooked smile and not be disgusted. I want to stand up straight and feel like the way that I am is good enough. I want to embrace my ribcage, especially on the days where I cannot see it at all. I want to scream at myself that it is OK. It’s OK to be human. It’s OK to have flaws. I look the way that I look, they look the way that they look and we are all exactly how we are supposed to be.

I want to learn to love every part of myself, even if no one else ever can. From my crooked teeth to the softness of my stomach to the tiny marks telling stories all the way down my thighs. I want to love every part of me. I want to learn to look at myself with the same envy and awe I look upon others with. I want to remind myself that what I see reflected back at me is not who I am, it is only who I appear to be. I want to look in the mirror and see my soul. I want to know there is goodness left here. We all have our demons, but I am so sick of always letting mine win.

I wish we were not conditioned from such a young age to hate ourselves. I wish instead of constantly being taught how we can improve, we could for once focus on loving what is already there. Why was I taught to hate my body before I could even understand how it functions? Why was I made to believe that beauty could be found only if I was willing to inflict myself with so much pain? Why do any of us even aspire to be perfect? Perfect only exists because we let it.

We are taught from a young age what beauty is. We are told to pluck and paint and shrink ourselves into these absolutely unattainable images of what society decides is beautiful in that exact moment. Every time you think you might have finally found it, and every time you feel like you might finally love the person looking back at you in the mirror, beauty changes. Society decides that the image you have been striving toward for so long is no longer “it.” So then the cycle starts again and again and again, and I fear it will never end.

We have to stop doing this to ourselves. We have to stop doing this to our future generations. You can only push someone so far before they break, and I think so many people in our world are already so broken. Why can’t we just stop and put them all back together? Why can’t we all just agree on the fact that beauty is everything and nothing all at once. What I find beautiful, you might not, and that does not make either of us wrong. The way you look naturally is never wrong. The way the world treats you is wrong.

I wish I could look myself in the eye and get myself to believe that. I wish I could look in the mirror and know that my purpose in this life goes far beyond how appealing my physical appearance is. I want to wake up every day and thank my body for the good it does for me, rather than chastising myself for looking this way. I want the weight of the world off of my shoulders so I can hold my head higher and carry myself the way I am meant to be carried. I want to believe it when someone tells me I am beautiful, just like I want you to believe it whenever I say it to you.

It’s funny how much time we spend trying to get our loved ones to love themselves when we cannot even love ourselves. If we could only see ourselves the same way that we see those we love, we could be living in an entirely different world. Your body is not your enemy. Your peers’ bodies are not your enemy. The way you look at yourself so negatively is your true enemy.

I want to learn to love the girl in the mirror. My body is not my enemy. My body is my home. My body is not my enemy, but I know I have made it so. My body is not my enemy, and I would give anything to truly believe that.

Getty image by redtea

Originally published: June 7, 2020
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