Before we begin, I want you to think of a few things. Recall one of the happiest moments in your life, the way it felt, the sounds, the location. Now consider someone who loves you. Someone who makes your heart grow when they laugh; someone who knows you love them back. With these two ideas in mind, you should be feeling a nice, warm, positive feeling inside. Now let me ask you this, when thinking of any of these things, did you ever focus on the way that you look? When you imagined that perfect moment, did the definition of your stomach or size of your jeans cross your mind? When you pictured that special person in your life, did you associate their endless love with your lowest weight? For most people, the answer is probably no. So if we can all have our best moments without our size mattering, then why are we all so obsessed with looking a certain way?
Every day, I see so many people on social media who are existing to get the perfect body. As an ice dancer, I constantly hear people talking about losing weight and “looking like a dancer” as if they have no other purpose. People make the way they look into this huge, life consuming ordeal, when in reality it has such little significance. I think so many people are under this false pretence that if they look a certain way, they will be happy or loved or even just accepted. I think this because that is exactly how I used to see it.
I remember that my biggest reason for weight loss initially was that I wanted to be confident and happy. I thought maybe if I could look like all the other ice dancers or the models on social media, then I would immediately love myself. I thought if I just simply changed my appearance I would love myself. So I lost the weight and in the process I lost myself. I reached my two goals: get skinny and change who I was. I was past skinny and who I used to be was lost along with the weight. But I wasn’t happy. I went from a bubbly, optimistic, extroverted girl to an isolated, introverted, lifeless girl but, hey, I lost the weight and I felt comfortable with other ice dancers. I fit in with the ice dancers physically, but when I tried to perform, I fell way behind. Not because I was untalented, but because I had no energy to put into my skating. I could not produce power, I could not focus on the steps and I could not perform, but at least I was skinnier than the girl beating me. And that was exactly it. At that point I cared less about the sport and my passion than I did about the way I looked. How unfulfilling! That’s exactly my point though: even if we reach our “body goals,” what good will it actually do? How much happiness can you obtain from a flat stomach? How successful will you really feel if you have the perfect booty? Maybe some, but in a big over all picture of your life is that what you want to matter?
Think of that happy, fulfilling moment you brought to mind earlier. Think of the things that DID make you so blissful. Maybe it was the sounds of the waves, or the lights of the concert hall flashing all around you. Maybe you just felt so much more full of love than you ever had before. When I search for my happiness, I search for what makes me feel fulfilled. I want to find something that can fill those empty, lonely gaps that I feel when I’m not so positive. I used to try to fill those gaps with the perfect body or fitting in with other people but when I strived for these things, I always felt my gaps get bigger. They became more empty. Because when I looked in the mirror and I did not see exactly what I saw on social media, I ripped myself apart. But when I started learning that my reflection did not have to be perfect for me to love myself and for others to love me, my gaps started to shrink a little bit. When I focused my energy on things in life that could fill my heart, like family, friends, helping people, working hard in my sport, then I found what it was like to really feel worthy. I found a goal that was rewarding. I found my purpose.