Love Ourselves, Love Our Bodies: Allyn Crooper

Today’s reflection on body image comes to us from Allyn Crooper.

Body image plays a big factor in all parts of my life. It sets the tone for the day for me, beginning when I first look in the mirror in the morning. Body image not only denotes how much you take care of yourself, but it can also give a estimate about how healthy you are, which in turn opens more avenues for success in your life. So for me, everything and every day starts with that first look in the mirror.

Growing up not quite fitting in anywhere, I had to create my own niche in life. I’ve learned to love myself despite what others may think.

It’s so easy to get caught up in what others think of you. As I grew in life, I felt alone and would look to others on what I should look like. As children, we look to our surroundings–for example on how we should live our lives. So I went along with the program of being what my mother wanted me to be despite feeling as if I was suffocating inside. It had gotten so bad that I wouldn’t want to look at myself in the mirror because I was being forced to be someone I wasn’t. Everyone around me was happy but I was miserable. The person in the mirror was very nice looking, but it just wasn’t me.

One day I decided to break away to start a new life, so I joined the service. When I joined the armed services I gained a sense of pride and confidence in myself. I accomplished physical goals that I’d told myself I could never do. As I progress every day, I look and the mirror at the person I’ve became. Surprisingly, by taking a stance to be myself, I have created an image for others to look up to. I let them know every day that they are not alone, and there’s another way. In helping myself I help others, which is the greatest motivation of all. My body image to me has become my representation of survival. I’ve survived every doubt, ill thought, and discouraging event that has been placed in my path.

– Allyn Crooper


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