We have long believed that acceptance was a goal. “When I will accept yourself” we repeated to ourselves, but this acceptance never came. This is because self-acceptance is more of a path, a skill. There will still be times when we will be afraid or we will not like our body. It’s ok. Because this path shouldn’t lead us to feel inadequate again just because we don’t accept ourselves. Instead, it should make us understand more and more that we cannot miss so many things in life because of how others see our body, as if it were not worthy.
Self-acceptance in this sense is nourished as we realize that we can be free, that we can do what we want, that we do not have to stay closed in the cellar waiting for a body that allows us to do all those things that, almost surely, we can already do it now. And this, slowly, could allow us to understand and get to know our body better.
Self-acceptance cannot allow us to exclude other people
For example, for many, the fact that some people are fat and not ashamed means that they don’t love their life because they have chosen not to be healthy. Yet as many fat people keep their weight under control they always remain fat. The reality is that no matter how thin a person may lose, they will never be thin enough. But this search for “enough” doesn’t lead us to listen to our body. Others dictate what sufficiency is to be achieved.
We should understand that gratitude, happiness and life satisfaction can be a well-being that comes even when our body is not in the shape that others believe is right. Freeing bodies, especially for the most marginalized ones, means that all bodies are equal and worthy of respect regardless of their differences. When we ridicule, discriminate or push away (even mentally) all these bodies, we are deciding that what we think and say comes before them, we are not giving them freedom.
Practicing self-acceptance on a daily basis is indeed important, but it should make us understand how important it is not to continue to exclude others. Otherwise we would just be accepting ourselves and those who are alike, which is what someone else will have already done to us before we began to love each other.