Challenging Myself (and You) to Not Give a Shit

A recent goal in my life has been to “not give a shit” what other people think. In many ways this is easy for me, but there are still some areas this doesn’t come natural.

I was very caught up in rules as a child, but as an adult I don’t do well with being told what to do, or even more so, what not to do. I know what I want done, and I don’t really care if anyone else approves. Don’t get me wrong, if the rules are keeping people safe in any manner, I’m going to follow them, but I’m not going to blindly do what I’m told.

I Need to Not Give a Shit I’m Misjudged

I hate being misunderstood. In any situation, I don’t mind if people disagree with me, but I want to feel they understand my position. So, it has been hard to let go of being concerned about judgment based on misinformation. I mean, judge me all you want, but do it based on the truth. Another truth though is that I have no control over how people go about judging me, and it isn’t even my business. It is all on them.

"Don't take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinons and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering. - Don Miguel Ruiz

People base their opinions on life experiences and whatever info they come across. It isn’t my job to correct the conclusions they have formed. I can provide more information, but I can’t make them pay any attention to it. I can’t make them listen. And most of the time it isn’t worth it to even do that much.

Remember, people who are judging and talking about you apparently have very little going on in their life if they have time for that nonsense. If you are going to waste any time on them, pity them and move on.

I Struggle to Not Give a Shit While Fat

People have many opportunities to misjudge me. It’s the same for everyone. On a daily basis, this doesn’t bother me much, but one way it does is my weight. I’m fat, and I know how most of our world perceives fat people, especially fat women. Rude, hateful people make this very clear on social media quite often. Often enough, in fact, that I avoid posting body positive and fat acceptance topics sometimes because I’m not ready to deal with the backlash.

I also avoid some life experiences because I worry about what others will think based on my body. Do you understand? I’m letting other people limit what I do! In reality, their opinions don’t matter at all, because their assumptions about me are wrong, and none of their thoughts change anything in my life. My thoughts, opinions, and truth all stay the same.

If I’m happy and confident in what I’m doing, why should anyone’s opinion matter to me? If I don’t plan on changing my actions based on those opinions, they don’t need to affect me in anyway.

All the hateful comments and behavior are nothing to my knowledge of how harmful dieting is, what my body has been through, and the security I have that I’m doing what is right for me.

Your opinion is not my reality. Dr Steve Maraboli

My ability to not give a shit needs to expand and grow so I can live my life more fully as myself. This is a beautiful bit of self-love and self-care that is desperately needed.

Some Steps Toward “Not Giving a Shit

1. Realize that everyone judges (even you)

You aren’t going to escape from judgment. It is very important to me to pass as little judgment as possible, and yet I still tend to do it sometimes. The fact is, people are going to judge, but you don’t have to let it affect you.

2. Acknowledge the fact that you aren’t as important as you think.

Hear me out. You are a valuable human, no doubt, but maybe people aren’t paying as much attention to you as you think they are. Perhaps a big chunk of that judgment you think you are receiving isn’t even there.

3. Some things are out of your control.

We have our sphere of control, our sphere of influence, and then there is the sphere where we have no influence or control. Most things in life are out of our control, and we will all be much happier if we realize this.

Other people’s opinions of us are out of our control. We can control how much effort and learning we put into making decisions, but once we make them, the rest is usually out of our control. If something is eating at you, think of these spheres, and if it’s out of your control, let it go and work on not giving a shit.

4. You aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Not everyone is going to like you. That’s okay! Like that one saying, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who hates peaches.” Who cares? You can change everything about you in an effort to try to be liked by everyone, and it isn’t going to work. Instead, work on being the best, most authentic you possible.

5. Be authentic.

Speaking of authentic, always act that way and you leave nothing to condemn. People will absolutely still try, but what are they really judging? If you are honest, don’t lie, and make as well-informed decisions as you are able to make, there is no room for objection. I find that leaving nothing for me to question about myself makes it much easier to not give a shit what other’s may think.

So, are you with me? Let’s make 2018 a year of not giving a shit what other people think!

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

15 Great Body Positive Quotes To Share

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for some great stuff to share online. Just for you, here are some great body positive quotes all ready for you to share on Pinterest, Twitter, etc.

I am allowed to look sexy, feel sexy, and be in love. I am worthy of all of those things, and so are you. -Mary Lambert

Why should I change something as beautiful and complex as my body, when you won't change somethinga simple as your mind?

You don't encourage people to take care of their body by telling them to hate it. -Laci Green

Self hate isn't okay at any size.

There's nothing body positive about tearing down anyone's body.

Admire someone else's beauty without questioning your own.

Girls of all kinds can be beautiful-from the thing, plus-sized, short, very tall, ebony to porcelain-skinned; the quirky, clumsy, shy, outgoing, and all in between. - Tyra Banks

Want to get a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body.

To me, beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin. It's about knowing and accepting who you are. -Ellen Degeneres

Sexy isn't about what you wear. It's about how you feel. The more passion you feel, for yourself and your life, the more passion others will feel for you.

Never compare yourself to others and celebrate what makes you, you. -Tess Holliday

All bodies are summer bodies.

You were born an original. Don't die a copy. -John Mason

Your worth is not measured by the size of your waist.

I hope you enjoy these. There are a lot more on my Body Love | Body Positivity board over on Pinterest if you are interested.

I’ve also compiled a great list of body positive accounts to follow on social media. If you’d like some more sources for great body positive stuff to share, just sign up and I’ll send it to you.

 

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

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5 Myths About Body Acceptance

People tend to jump to a lot of conclusions when it comes to body acceptance or body positivity. This leads to some common myths. I’ve chosen five of them to discuss here.

1) Body acceptance is only for women.

Not true! Body acceptance is for everyone on the gender spectrum. Women tend to be the focus, because the pressure on them is more obvious. Even so, other people on the gender spectrum find themselves under pressure to conform to certain standards also. There is quite the lack of representation for them in the body acceptance movement though. I will be attempting to be inclusive, but will likely tend to lean toward addressing women and femmes since that is my perspective.

I’ve searched for some sources of info and support from other views for you:

This is a wonderful article with links to good sources.

Body Positivity For The Modern Man – Tumblr

Another great article with links

The Good Men Project has a host of articles in their archive

There is a very noticeable lack of gender neutral body positivity sources. After searching for some time, I think your best bet is to search Tumblr and/or Pinterest for “gender neutral body positivity” or something similar (without the quotation marks). I will be keeping an eye out for any good links, and will be sure to update with them as I find them.

2) Accepting your body, as it is right now, means you are lazy.

Not at all! Many people think those who love body acceptance do so as an excuse to not take care of themselves, but that is not the case. Body acceptance encourages you to cultivate love for yourself and your body, and show that love by taking care of yourself. Showing yourself love includes eating food that you enjoy and makes you feel well, staying hydrated, and moving your body in ways that are enjoyable and make you feel good.

You don’t do these things with any intent to change your body, only to care for it. There doesn’t need to be any guilt over how you actually care for yourself either. Your self-care is always up to you. There is much more to this idea, but that isn’t the focus of this post. If you are interested, you will want to look into Intuitive Eating or mindful eating. If done without a dieting mindset, intuitive eating and/or mindfulness can be a wonderfully body positive way to approach food and self-care.

3) Body acceptance is only about appearance.

Absolutely not. While there is a good amount of focus on all body shapes being acceptable, that is not the only important part. We also need to be able to see what our bodies are capable of doing. Many times people are able to start by appreciating how their bodies function, even when they can’t appreciate and accept their bodies otherwise. Appreciating the strength of your legs, how your arms embrace your loved ones, how your ribs protect your organs, all these things are part of body acceptance.

A side view of a nude torso with fat rolls. The photo is edged in words describing what "this body" does.

4) Body acceptance can be found overnight.

I honestly laugh at this one. I feel I can safely say no one ever has. We are conditioned to hate our bodies. That message comes at us from all sides, everyday, and a single article or decision won’t overwrite it.

Being body positive, or even just neutral toward your body, takes making a decision each day, and helping your brain rewire itself in how it thinks. Don’t feel like you’ve failed if you are still struggling after a few weeks. As long as you are working toward accepting of your body, you haven’t failed.

Which brings us to our final myth.

5) Once you find body acceptance, you will never struggle again. (Or you will love your body at all times.)

Even the biggest names in body positivity struggle some days. No matter how clearly you are aware of the lies in the media, these messages have still made a deep impression. This takes a long time to counter, and we are still getting ongoing negative messages, even if we take steps to adjust our “media diet”. (Media diet = what we see each day).

Of course this will lead to days where you struggle no matter how well you’ve been doing. Everybody does. But you will have tools and knowledge to help you through those days.

sketches of different bellies with pastel watercolor over them
credit to glasmond glasmond.tumblr.stfi.re

Something that helps me on rough days is listening to music. I made up a playlist on YouTube full of great songs that encourage body positivity and self-love. This play list is especially for my readers, and you can only see it if you have the link!

I feel strongly that everyone deserves to have positive feeling toward their body. Hopefully this post helps alleviate some of the reservations you may be having, or give you answers for anyone in your life questioning your choices. Please feel free to email me at leighbryant@flawedmessylife.com with any other questions or concerns you may be having.

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

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What The Heck Is Body Acceptance, And Why Do I Need It?

A popular “buzzword” lately has been “body positivity”. Not everyone feels ready to have positive thoughts toward their body. In that case, it may be easier to try for body acceptance.

What is body acceptance?

Simply put, body acceptance is just accepting your body as it is with no judgement. It is a step toward body positivity and loving yourself without requiring any change. Another way to look at it is body neutrality. This article covers it well. Just not hating their body can be a huge step for some people.

I’ve talked before about acceptance. Self-acceptance is recognizing and accepting all parts of yourself with no judgement. You can read more here and here. Body acceptance is similar. It is being aware of your body with no judgement. It’s seeing your body as neither good nor bad, but simply a body. If you aren’t ready yet to jump into body positivity, acceptance is a wonderful place to start.

Why body acceptance?

Why be accepting of your body? Well, basically, you are living in the body you have right now, and it does you no good to hate on it. Even if you are sure that, no matter what, you want to change something about your body, you are still living in this body currently, and being negative toward yourself will help nothing. Real change can only come from a place of love, and that is what body acceptance (and body positivity) can give you.

You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn't worked. Try approving of yourself, and see what happens. - Louise L. Hay

No matter what you may find to be flaws with your body, it is important to find peace with it now as it is. Your body doesn’t have to earn your respect and care. It deserves to be treated well just as it is. It is taking care of you daily, the best it can.  You can return the favor by keeping up with your self-care and being gentle with yourself.

How to start working on it.

There are a few exercises you can use to work on your body acceptance. One of the simplest, though not the easiest, is to spend time each day in front of a mirror (naked if possible). Find at least one thing nice to say about your body each time. If you find yourself having negative thoughts about your body use my method of Beating Negative Thoughts to interrupt yourself, and start turning them around. The goal may be body positivity, but it is fine to shoot for neutrality or acceptance at first.

My body is my home, and I will not tear it down.

Now make a list of things you like about yourself that have nothing to do with your body. Shoot for 5-10 to start. It helps to remind yourself how much more there is to you other than your body. You have a lot to offer the world, and you should be proud of that.

Another helpful activity is to start a body gratitude journal. Spend time each day writing down things about your body you can be grateful about. Perhaps it is the way your legs allow you to go on walks, or the way your hands help you to do your hobbies. Maybe you are grateful for the hugs your arms can give, or the great food you get to taste with your mouth. Before long you will have an amazing list to read back though, and see all your body does for you.

If you would like some more ideas, Buzz Feed has a nice list of activities suggested by readers here.

Body acceptance is not an instant thing. There isn’t a quick fix. It is very worth working on though, and I hope you will be willing to take steps in that direction. Everyone deserves to be comfortable in their body.

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