I know how real this is though because at one time I believed those evil messages, and to be honest there are still some days (very few and far between-but still some days) where I revert to thinking the way society wants me to think. Society made me grow up hating my stomach. It was the part of my body I hated consistently. I grew up hearing the world around me speak that I needed to have a "flat, toned, lean, ab-tastic stomach" to be a respectable woman. So the hatred for my stomach came almost naturally. I didn't meet the requirements society had set before me and so I wasn't good enough. I hated my stomach so much that I used to cut it. I engaged in self-harm by cutting on my stomach because I wished more than anything that I could get rid of it in some way. I wanted it to go away and I wanted to conform to the ideals of society. The pressure of society, the pain, the way I looked, I wanted it all to go away and so then I began restricting.
It took me a long time to get here. To get to this place where I can look at my body and love it for each and every amazing thing that it does. There are days that struggle is involved, but that's life and that's real. However, after years of retraining my brain and learning just how wrong and evil the messages of body shaming in our society are, I realized something. I realized that I didn't have to believe them. I didn't have to believe that I was only respectable or good enough if I had a flat stomach. I could love my tummy and that would be okay. I could feed my tummy and that would be okay. I could love my stomach for a multitude of reasons and could be proud of the love that I have for it. I love my tummy now because it shows comfort in who I am. It shows growth and strength. It's a stomach I learned to feed and learned to love, not overnight, but over time. I LOVE MY TUMMY. I love that I feed my body for what it needs and that we're friends now. I love that maybe one day, if God wills it to happen, that this stomach of mine is where my babies will grow and be safe. I love that these folds on my stomach are there to show me protection. I love that I have a tummy that shows that I can go out and eat with my friends and fill my tummy and my heart at the same time. I love my body for who and what it is, and at the same time I love that my body does not define me as a human being. I'm a human deserving of love regardless of what I look like on the outside.
Let's all love our tummies, our bodies and who we are today!! You do NOT need to change your body in order to receive love. Forget the statements, "I would be better if I were..." or "I just need to lose a little of...". YOU ARE DESERVING OF LOVE RIGHT NOW. YOU ARE AMAZING RIGHT NOW. YOUR BODY IS FANTASTIC RIGHT NOW. It's not always an easy thing to do but self-love isn't just for me, it's for you too.