So… I’m 42 years old and a widow. My husband died in an accident almost 5 years ago and I haven’t ‘been’ with anyone since. I.am.petrified. My 42 year old body has had 3 children, and honestly, I haven’t been taking very good care of her. I need to lose 30 pounds to be at my love my body weight. But I’m a stress eater. Single mom with 3 kids = lots of stress. I have been ready for the last 2 years to meet someone. But how am I supposed to meet someone when I’m not happy with myself? How do you get past the fears of someone seeing you naked again? (it is a HUGE fear!)
So I’m just going to come out and state the obvious right now, at the outset. Loving one’s body and/or achieving some imagined ideal self is not a requirement for happiness or finding love. It’s not. Period.
And let’s be honest here: the vast majority of women living on planet earth today – tall or short, fat or thin or in-between – are just not going to ever be entirely happy with or truly “love” their bodies, and so waiting for that magical moment of total self-love to happen and seeing it as necessary to you starting to live a romantic life again is really CLASSIC self-defeating and self-sabotaging behavior.
Without getting into a Giant Feminist Tirade here, let’s just agree that as women we’ve been trained by society since birth to be harsh and overly-critical (understatement, ahoy!) with ourselves when it comes to our bodies. Each and every one of us nitpick and body-snark ourselves to death, magnifying our own perceived flaws until they become giant and insurmountable obstacles to everything in our lives. We all think we’d be happier if we lost 15 pounds, were taller, and didn’t have cellulite and split-ends. We each imagine and wish for an illusive perfected self. The only problem is, that fully actualized and perfectly happy version of ourselves we suppose to be the answer to all our problems doesn’t exist and never will exist, because being happy with who you are has nothing to do with your body. Not now, not then, not ever.
You say that you’ve been ready for two years to meet someone, but if you were ready, you’d already be out there, meeting people. You would have started tentatively dipping your toe into the dating pool, at the very least. Instead, you’ve whiled away that time creating reasons to not meet people and to not open that door to a new life and a new parter, skillfully convincing yourself that you’re somehow not good enough, that you’re not up-to-par and unlovable as-is, that if a man saw you naked he’d run screaming, that 30 pounds is an actual and genuine impediment to human connection, to love. But of course, it’s not.
This, my dear, is all about you NOT being ready.
Because the truth is, you’re good enough and lovable just as you are, today, this very minute. You’ve been through a lot, sure, but who hasn’t by age 42 (myself included)? Stop telling yourself that you’re damaged goods and start seeing those scars you bear – that we ALL bear – as character, growth, and hard-earned wisdom. Flip the proverbial script. YOU decide how you frame your own experience and your own body. Stop framing yourself negatively, stop the body-snarking, stop punishing yourself, and start seeing the richness of your life – the life you lived before AND the life you live now – and focus on all that you have to offer someone. Because THAT is where true happiness lies – right between those two ears of yours.
And, furthermore, if a man doesn’t love you (or want to date you) because of what number a scale says, he’s not a man worth your time and not someone even your Imaginary Perfected Self would want to be with. You know it, and I know it. You deserve better. And when you are truly ready, nothing will stop you from getting out there and finding someone who will love all of you, whatever clothing size all of you happens to be.
Now it’s your turn, gentle reader. What would you say to the author of today’s submission? What thoughts or advice do you have for her? Please share in comments!
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