People seem to have a natural tendency to exert control over their surroundings. Initially, taming nature was absolutely necessary to survive until the next sunrise. Over time, however, the desire for control began to extend to other people, which can create a number of problems. Control, in the broader sense of the word, is therefore both necessary and dangerous. In the context of fitness, however, control over one’s own body is a positive phenomenon, which I will try to convince you of in this post.
Your body is your immediate, closest environment. At least some degree of control over it is the first step towards feeling confident and comfortable in this world.
My thesis assumes that increased control over one’s own body, which can be achieved through fitness, leads to an increase in satisfaction with life. As simple as that. But what exactly is this control?
Before I answer this question in detail, let me take a step back and place the discussion in a slightly broader context.
Body empowerment and body positivity
These terms are often used interchangeably, but for me, body empowerment is not just a somewhat abstract, unconditional acceptance of one’s body as it is, but an active taking of control over it, improving it, and thereby strengthening self-acceptance, increasing self-confidence and growing in mental and physical strength through the process.
Body empowerment means taking the reins of your own body and striving to improve it, regardless of the cards you’ve been dealt. Yes, our potential and capabilities differ, but the vast majority of people are capable of becoming better.
Body positivity, on the other hand, is deeply rooted in fat activism, a movement of overweight+ individuals who build their entire personality around their body fat tissue and construct a narrative of being oppressed and demanding that the world adapt to them, and view them as beautiful and valuable, without the need to change anything about themselves.
Body positivity regards beauty standards as a social construct, but replaces them with another abstract construct assuming that everyone is beautiful, which actually devalues the concept of beauty. In a complete vacuum, it may sound noble, but in the real world, it quickly crashes into the rocks.
Yes, beauty standards are established by people, but in my opinion, they are dictated by factors that come from nature, certain encoded preferences, and therefore are in a sense universal, even though beauty is also a spectrum.
For clarity, although I consider this aspect of human existence to be significant, beauty does certainly not determine someone’s value, therefore it is not as important as some might think.
I wrote more about it here:
Aesthetics of the Human Body
By the way, maybe it’s worth asking where society’s obsession with external appearance comes from instead of mindlessly rejecting it as inappropriate?
Anyway, in my opinion, true body positivity should come precisely through control over one’s own body, leading to increased self-confidence and justified value.
Obesity is in most cases a complete antithesis of control over one’s own body, and that’s why it’s difficult for me to associate it with any kind of empowerment.
Why would you want to control your body?
Well, if the idea of conscious control over your own body has not yet crossed your mind, you may be wondering why you would even want or need to do it.
The idea of maximizing your potential, becoming the best version of yourself, and having a fit body has been ingrained in me for a long time, and I believe that being physically active is a big part of realizing this philosophy.
To me, it is much more surprising to see a lack of desire to control one’s own body. Why wouldn’t you want to become better in one of the few areas of life that are fully within your control (yes, there are few exceptions)?
I suspect that my search for identity and the desire for self-expression, which also manifest through the body, as well as a strong sense of individualism and independence, may be influencing me. Based on my own observations, all of these concepts, while absolutely crucial to me, do not seem to be as important to many other people.
One way or another, I want to have control over my own body because:
- The process itself teaches me and affects the mental aspects of my personality.
- It gives me satisfaction, and the results of the work fill me with pride.
- I gain greater control over the functioning of my body, what it is capable of.
- I am increasing healthy, justified self-acceptance. I know that I am doing what I can to become (almost) the best version of myself.
Control over your own body in practice
Despite my thesis about an innate desire to control the world around us, people often have an aversion to controlling their own body because it means taking responsibility for a very significant aspect of existence.
Responsibility for your own actions and the necessity of holding yourself accountable for the effects – in fitness, you become your own manager and employee simultaneously.
That’s why body empowerment so quickly turns into mindless acceptance of one’s weaknesses. The problem is not the weaknesses themselves, but the fact that you do nothing about them.
It’s much easier to say, “oh well, I won’t do anything about it, it’s my genes”, than to maintain a diet for six months and exercise regularly.
The most important aspect of building a physique
It is fascinating in its own way that so many people on the one hand are ashamed of how they look, but on the other hand, do nothing to take control of their body and change it.
Meanwhile, the body is your vehicle that allows you to experience life, and that is why it is worth taking control of it. Ignoring your diet and physical activity is like letting go of the steering wheel while driving a car. For a moment, nothing may happen, but there is no way you will reach your destination that way.
In my personal philosophy, the body is also a kind of performance. Its presentation to the world is one way of actively signaling who you are. It is largely similar to fashion.
There are definitely more ways to take control of your body, but I will focus on the one that worked for me, which is fitness.
Conscious nutrition and working out are ways to achieve self-acceptance, love of your own body, and feeling rightfully proud, even if you don’t have results like Instagram influencers.
Control over your own body means:
- the desire for improvement, setting progress rather than perfection as the goal
- maximizing your potential
- understanding your needs and fulfilling them
- good nutrition habits
- the ability to use your own body to achieve other goals
- staying healthy and fit (self-sufficiency)
Control over your own body is not synonymous with some killer regimen and restrictions, which in my opinion is the main excuse for people who don’t want to develop it.
I feel like I jumped around on different topics in this post, so I’m not sure if I was able to truly convey what I wanted to. Let me know if you took away anything of value from it or if it sparked new thoughts in your head.
All in all, having control over your own body is a useful and positive form of personal power. It is not just about aesthetics, because a body that you have control over is not only more beautiful, but also more active and efficient.
I believe that increased control over your own body is something worth striving for because the process brings a number of added values in both the physical and mental spheres.
True body empowerment means creating real foundations for feeling good and confident in your own body. Positive change is within your reach.
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