Self-love is a recipe for unification

Even if its a struggle, accepting and appreciating your body is worthwhile


Ameya Bellamkonda, Contributing Columnist

I went to Student Health Services the other day for a mild case of frat flu. If you’ve never been to SHS at Wake, it’s exactly like any other doctor’s office except for the fact that the guy sitting across from you in the waiting room may be a 300-pound linebacker for the undefeated Wake Forest football team. When I was called back to see the doctor, they took my temperature, blood pressure and weight. Let me restate that in case you read over it: my weight.

I have thick thighs and have always been bigger than all of the other girls I went to school with. I’ve been self-conscious of my weight since I was young, but since I started lifting weights, I’ve gained a new sense of confidence. Before my appointment, I hadn’t seen a difference in my body besides a slight decrease in definition, but I was okay with this development. I knew I could get my body into shape with two solid lifts.

I know — and knew during that moment — that every body is different and deserving of love. I’ve never been overweight … I’ve never even been close. But, when I saw the number on the scale at SHS, 10 pounds heavier than when I came to Wake, all my progress disappeared. In a single moment, I forgot about all the lifting and cardio I’d done and how much stronger I had gotten during my time here. I became frustrated and angry at myself for eating too much and not working out enough. I was already heavier than everyone else, the last thing I needed was to be gaining more weight.

It’s been a struggle. I’m most angry at myself for thinking boys wouldn’t want me because I’m heavier, or that I’m less worthy of love than the girls around me because I gained weight. I started to feel guilty about having negative feelings. My body does so much for me daily. It supports me and deals with all the crazy stuff I put it through. It holds my brain and all my thoughts. It holds my heart and all the love that I have to give. And it’s the only thing that will be with me until I die.

The guilt of not being okay with the way that I look despite all my body does for me made me feel worse. My life has felt like a constant struggle between loving my body, feeling guilty for not loving my body and feeling angry for even thinking about wanting the people who wouldn’t like me with a bigger body. I know my worth. I know that I’m funny, smart, outgoing and hardworking; but for some reason; all of that gets lost because another part of me doesn’t meet my own standards.

Whether it’s loving myself, my body, coping with some big emotions or getting over the frat flu — I’m working towards getting better. I like to think we can be united by these struggles; my dad likes to say that oftentimes we separate ourselves from our individual problems. But what would our world look like if we united ourselves through these differences? Would we be more peaceful? Would the vulnerability needed for unification change the nature of humanity? How can we all come together to accept ourselves?

The process of accepting ourselves is internal; so how can we, together, help someone else through such an internal struggle? Giving support is good, but does it actually help? The most we can do is put all our effort in, and if that’s not enough, we have to accept that there is nothing else for us to give.

I think that’s a lesson we aren’t taught and reminded of enough. How can we program ourselves into believing that our best is our best, that no one should be able to convince us that we’re less? I think the answer starts with introspection and support.

All we can do as humans who are flawed by nature is love one another and oneself with the love that we’d like to receive. If we do that and can unite through both our similarities and differences, I think we can create much more light and hope in a world that can seem quite dark and sad on our own.