Your body is your vehicle and your partner. Finding a way to appreciate everything that it is will help you see yourself in a new light.
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 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.
What Do You Say To Yourself?
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 influence, so really take a minute and think about when the 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 image. Are the first things that you think of the parts that you don’t like?
I’ll tell you right now about my own body: 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 my Vitiligo diagnosis.
I don’t love these aspects, I don’t always feel comfortable in my own skin, 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 embarrassed about.
We all have those negative feelings about ourselves, whether we work on body positivity or not. (You can read more about this in the “You wouldn’t worry about what other people think of you if you knew how seldom they do” article.)
What Are Your Favorite Things?
Given all of that, 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?
Your body is your 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 yourself, maybe it is time to do just that.
Not that you need to send birthday messages or Valentine’s Day cards to your body, it’s just time to appreciate the things that it provides you rather than comparing it to everyone else’s vehicle.
Look At Your Body In A Loving Way
The best thing you can do for your mental health in relation to your body is to try to kick this very bad habit. It is not about whether you’ve started a weight loss journey or gotten plastic surgery. It is about making some real change in the way you see your body and what it gives to you.
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 when 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 to be its best self. You can be a healthy woman, a healthy man, or a healthy nonbinary person by allowing your body to have what it needs. Support it, don’t ignore it.
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.