Today is the day when women {and men, I assume} get the opportunity to proclaim loud and proud that they LOVE their body. The challenge laid down by the We Heart Life team is to declare three things that you love about your body. What you love can be anything you like. Anything at all. When I posed the question on the Facebook wall a little while ago asking YOU what you would say, could you do it, a surprising number of you said no. That it would be difficult or challenging. Hard. As a reformed body hater, this makes me sad.

My reformed hater status is a hard-earned one. Years of disordered eating and pluses and minuses. Pages and pages of scribbled, hate filled notebooks lamenting the size, the shape, the worthiness. I wanted to be loved, desired, wanted, needed. I wanted to be thin, to be graceful, willowy and elegant. I cried and cried over page after page of what seemed to be genuine complaints. My disorders continued to spiral out of control. First under then over eating. Punishment for the disgusting things I knew about my self. Torture for not being who I should be.

A person can only live for so long like that. They either stop living like that or they die. That’s the cold hard reality of it. The tortured painful anguish of that will win in some form or another. For me it broke me down so far that when I started again I didn’t recognise myself. I chose for myself what tiny shreds of self I had left that I would keep. I watched others stumble and fall with disorders and self harm. I stood by as others were taken from us forever. Their loss became my fuel to be different. To be ok. To be in love with my body, my self and the life I was building.

And so I would say to myself;

Your body doesn’t have to be perfect to deserve love.

Your body doesn’t have to fit an ideal to deserve love.

Your body doesn’t have to perform like it’s supposed to, to deserve love.

YOU don’t have to be perfect, or fit an ideal or perform as expected to deserve love.

Bit by excruciating bit I pieced myself back together. I mended my heart, steeled my resolve and fought for change. Change for my thoughts, the thoughts of others and the ideal that pushed my buttons so hard in the first place. I used to burn with rage at this ideal. The very idea of it made me bite down hard to stop the hateful words spewing out. I would burn with hatred and fire for what the world had done to me. What life had done.

That fire consumed me just as much as the voice of negativity and hate. It had to be let go too. Forgiveness is an amazing thing. Forgiving the ideal, the people who had enforced it and myself most importantly for believing them. One day I woke up and I felt no fire. I felt no hate. There was only a hint of love. I genuinely felt love. Not every day is like this, but more often than not these days. It was a cool relief akin to an icy beverage on a hot day.

I was relieved.

So I want you to tell this to your children for me. Me, the child-less activist. Tell them to value themselves. Tell them they are loved. Tell them it’s the world that is crazy not them. Tell them, so they live. Tell them, so their hearts are full and their minds embedded with the idea. Tell them until they laugh and say, Mum I know, with an eye roll. Because when they know, when they laugh like you’re the crazy one it’ll be because the idea of hating who you are will be foreign to them. And then show them. Show them you love {heart} your body by being great to it.

And hope like hell they can hear.

  • Hello gorgeous guts 🙂 I love the confidence you bring to all your outfit photos, you rock them so hard!

  • Cassandra (@ LittleOliverJ)

    Every morning I get my son out of bed, change his nappy and stand him in front of the mirror. We both kiss our reflection, and I point to him and say you are a beautiful boy and we are proud of everything you are. And then I tell him that his Mummy is beautiful too, because of him.

    • This is gorgeous. Big kisses to that reflection. Mummy is beautiful. Hold your head high.

  • Your gorgeous! My eldest daughter has started coming home with tears in her eyes because she is starting to think that the reason that she isn’t popular is because of her weight. And yeah… she’s probably right in some ways… kids are bloody mean little things 🙁 But I was doing big head nods in agreeance as I read your words… I remind her all the time about how much she is loved by those that really matter in her life… I tell her I think she’s beautiful and smart and talented and give her a cuddle and she pushes me away and rolls her eyes and says “Muu-uummmm! Stop it!”, giggles and walks off happy again.
    Great post hun xo

    • Thank you. I feel her pain. I was always the biggest girl in my class, heck without some of the big, big guys I could’ve been the biggest person in the whole class. It shaped me, for sure. Keep being the Mum you are and reminding her of her value, she’ll come out fine but I can’t imagine how hard it is to watch. xo

  • You’re amazing 🙂

    I’ve only spoke with you in person twice, but every time I am addicted to your confidence. Not arrogance, but confidence.

    I’m so glad you got out of that spiral of self loathing, because where you are now is a place that inspires women, everywhere.

    Cherie @ We Heart Life

    xo

    • Thank you Cherie.

      I’m glad we got the chance to meet in person. I adore you. It was like meeting up with an old friend this past month.

      I’m glad too. SO glad. xo

  • Melissa

    Great post, one I can so relate to.

    What are your 3 things though?

    • Thank you Melissa.

      My three things are I love my body’s strength, it’s resilience and it’s shape. I’m also a big fan of my eyes, crazy ass hair, shoulders, arms, boobs, butt and legs. HA. Too much? Yeah, probably too much.

  • I see you the way you see you. Confident, beautiful and fashionable – list goes on . . . .
    If you didn’t feel that way about yourself, it would be harder for us to see.
    I love the advice you’ve given us about our kids. I’m hoping for lots of eye-rolling 🙂

    • Thank you Laney. You have no idea how touched I am that you said that. It’s wonderful. I agree, who you are being speaks way louder than who you are sometimes.

      I’ll keep my fingers crossed for eye rolling. xo

  • Sarah

    Oh wonderful Suger xx Every person and their body deserves love. Of course! Self loathing never fixed anything, only made it worse. I know that for a fact!

    It’s too difficult to take care of something you hate. A great reminder for me.

    • Thank you. It never fixed a darn thing and never did anyone any good. It really is impossible to care for something you hate. Ask my garden!

  • Love. Melissa I love what you say, that your body always deserves love even if it isn’t ideal or perfect or doing what it is meant to be doing!

    ~Carly [Creator of WHL]

    • Thank you Carly. Congratulations on such a success year already. I’m proud to be a part of it and that this post spoke to you in some way. xox

  • Leisa Flanigan

    Great post Melissa, very wise words. I’m so not there yet, but love reading your posts for inspiration 🙂

    • Thank you Leisa. I’m glad. We can inspire each other. I have your email flagged, by the way, expect a reply later today. xo

  • Goodness women you and your words are beautiful in so many ways and on so many levels. X

    • Thank you Trudie. Such a big statement. One I continue to aim to fulfil. xo

  • Wow. Just wow. Beautiful post from a beautiful woman. xx

  • This is so inspiring. Beautiful, wise words. You look fantastic x

  • Love love love your words to yourself! Amen!

  • Such an important and powerful message <3

  • Anne Downing

    Great post!

  • I love this! I also love that my kids are at an age where they haven’t been corrupted by media and will tell me things like ‘I love your squishy belly’.

  • I love this Melissa! Rachel x

  • I absolutely fucking love you. If you weren’t so far away I’d be on my way round to give you a massive hug (I was going to say high five, but hugs are better). I love your attitude. So much. This is what it’s all about xx

    • Hugs always welcome. Make sure you look me up if you’re in Gympie. 😉
      Thank you.

  • Oh Suger, you are the bomb diggity m’dear x

  • That was such a fist pump to read, Melissa. You, your words, are beautiful 🙂

  • Tam

    Oh yes, yes, yes! Spot on, Melissa. Congratulations on your ‘recovery’. And thank you for sharing it with us xx

  • I love you so much Mel, you ROCK x

  • Oh this is one of those posts Im book marking and will keep coming back to read again. You are awesome.. beautiful and so so inspiring! xx

  • You’re so right Melissa – you cannot hate yourself to greatness. Age has helped me be a little more forgiving, but it aint easy!

  • Jac @ Common Chaos Chronicle

    Right, I have just spread the word to my youngest lady monster, and i will keep telling them Mel. Thanks for this post, touched my heart. xox

  • I love this post it is open , honest and beautiful just like you. I have read it three times and I love it more each time. I feel proud of you like a Mumma.. I heart your body too!

  • Carly Findlay

    What a wonderful message in this post. Think you for sharing. You rock x

  • No truer words are spoken. I tell my kids that every time someone (my MIL) picks on whatever that is “negative” about their image, their body or about them. It irks me when someone else tries to destroy what I’ve tried to build so hard so that they can be normal, happy functioning human beings. With all that’s out there in the media and even…with myself, I have to be careful what I say and do…to myself because I’m their role model. I’ve been through some pretty crappy body image issues myself and I really don’t wish that upon my girls either. x

    • So great Norlin, often it’s those outsiders that do the damage, it’s crazy what people will say to kids knowing what sponges they are. Totally mad. Good luck to you, I’m sure you’ll determinedly deliver that message. xo

  • My teenage self wishes this post was around way back then. Great post!!! Love

  • Beautiful words. You should give school talks, you’re good with powerful messages. I heart this post. Kinda heart you after reading it too x

    • Thank you Kelly. I gave a talk at my younger sister’s school once, it was about how to rent a house. Not really the same thing, but absolutely. Naaaw. Thanks. 🙂

  • You are honestly one of the most genuine, honest and inspiring woman ever. I just adore your attitude and your energy and your love for life. I know the road you traveled to get to where you are today was bloody hard, but you are there and I hope you gift yourself the pride that should come with being as inspiring as you are Melissa. xx

    • Thank you Sonia. I feel the same way about you and all your geniune’ness. I do allow myself a little pride. Trying to keep my head a manageable size. 😉

  • I heart this post and you very much x

  • HumbirdsSong

    Beautiful words Miss Liss. We’re kicking arse in the body appreciation category today 😛 xx

  • So happy for you that you found your way to feeling the love. What is the ideal body anyway? I’d say that the ideal is to have a healthy body. And beauty comes from within, it shines through you regardless of body shape. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

  • You inspire me I am attempting to become a reformed body hater and reading this is just so inspiring and incredible xx

    • Thank you. I’m glad. I hope it lights the way a bit for you. All the best of luck. xo

  • I {heart} YOU! x

  • Ashley aka Go Mumma

    You’re lovely.. 🙂

  • You are the best. xoxo

  • Glad to read that you pulled yourself out!

  • You are all kinds of awesome. And beautiful. xx

  • I heart your guts too! You inspire me everyday. You are real, you have a great attitude and you are gorgeous inside and out! I feel so lucky to have you in my life as a friend and inspiration! You are a-maz-ing!

  • kp

    Brilliant post!
    YOU ROCK!