You and your body. One of the more complicated relationships that you may have in your life. The longest relationship you’ve ever had, the longest one you will ever have, and the one relationship that you can’t get away from. Your body is with you day and night, throughout this lifetime – whether you get along with it or not.
Whether you’ve ever thought of it this way before, your body is not just a thing that you carry around, it is actually an arranged marriage. You committed to this pairing the day that you were born and you will be wed until the day that you take your last breath. So think about how you are treating this relationship because it is going to be there for a very, very long time.
How is your relationship with your body right now? Do you love each other? Despise each other? Feel indifferent? Has it always been this way? When did your feelings about it start? Your body has been with you a lot longer than any other influences, so really take a minute and think about when conflict began (if there is one). Maybe it was the first time someone ever commented on your weight or mentioned a pudgy belly. Maybe it was the first time you saw a supermodel on television or were in swim class with someone whose body you envied. Maybe it was the day that you realized you couldn’t walk, run or stretch as far as you used to be able to.
Give yourself a moment to think about your body. Are the first things that you think of the parts that you don’t like? I’ll tell you right now that my hair is too thin for my liking, my shoulders are so broad that they don’t fit into most tailored shirts, my belly has extra skin from two pregnancies, and the rest of my skin has white splotches from vitiligo. I don’t love these aspects and I know that we all have “those things.” The things that stick out and make life a little more difficult. The ones we hope other people don’t notice and that we are a little embarrassed about. We all have them. (You can read more about this in the “You wouldn’t worry about what other people think of you if you knew how seldom them do” article!)
Given all of those things, it is time to turn over the coin and look at the other side. What do you love about your body? What has your body given you that nobody else could? Despite all of the things that you may wish were different, what are some of the amazing aspects? Did your body allow you to give birth to children? Did it provide you with strong arms and hips to carry and love an adopted child? Did it offer you muscle strength to run the bases on the field or hit a puck into a goal? Do you have healthy eyes with which to look at nature and a sense of smell to appreciate it more deeply?
Our body is our partner. It gets sick and tired or has great days just like everybody else. And while you may not be used to thinking of your body as a separate entity apart from you, maybe it is time to do just that. I’m not suggesting that you send birthday messages or Valentine’s Day cards to your body, I just mean that maybe it’s time to appreciate the things that it provides you rather than comparing it to everyone else’s vehicle.
If you can find that place where you can be grateful to your body for all that it has given, it makes it a little easier to get over the bumps. To not be as angry when psoriasis or endometriosis attacks. To be thankful for the life you’ve had even if you should get a more serious diagnosis or your parts begin to wear down. And on the day where your doctor says that it’s time for a hip replacement or a pacemaker, welcome those new parts into the family. It may not have been what you were hoping for, but find the positivity to see that these things are advantages to your life path and not hindrances. Replacing a fuel pump in your car doesn’t mean that you have a new car, it just means that your car needed a little alteration in order to be its best self.
Whether you love the body that you are in or wish that you had another one, the opposite of having this body is not having a body at all. There is a lot of life to live, and it is so much easier if you can find a place of positivity within the setup you’ve been given. Your body wants to be there for you. It wants to be loved and appreciated just like anyone else in your life. The bottom line is that it just wants you to be grateful for all that it has provided and all that it will provide until it no longer can.