Your body is your home. It is the place your spirit dwells in this mortal existence. It is where you will spend everyday of your entire life! Why are some of us, many of us actually, so unhappy in our own bodies? Remember when you were a little kid and you loved your body? What happened? It’s the same body. Somewhere along the way a war was waged…and I am willing to bet you fired the first shot. I am also fairly sure you can’t even remember why.
If you are fortunate, your body is healthy and it does everything you ask of it. It walks, sleeps, eats, bends, it scratches an itch, stands, sits, reaches, throws, catches, and it even creates life! It also does things we don’t ask it to do. The heart beats, the lungs breathe, the stomach digests food, the brain functions, hair grows, cells regenerate, and the immune system defends us diligently without any thought on our part.
Like a selfless friend our bodies serve us daily and like an abusive lover many of us don’t appreciate what we have. In fact, many of us abuse our bodies with poor nutrition, lack of sleep, over exercise or the opposite, a sedentary lifestyle. But that’s nothing compared the the verbal abuse! We hurl insults at our bodies, criticizing, whining and complaining about their perceived ‘flaws’. I know because I spent my teens hating my thighs and my butt (oh to go back in time!) and my 20’s pregnant and nursing six babies with my weight in constant flux. In my 30’s I was happy with my body but not my breasts. In my 40’s I became a little fearful of aging and searched for (and therefore found) more ‘flaws’. BUT in my 50’s something fabulous happened…
I became grateful.
Really grateful, not that kind of grateful where I said “I am so grateful” but in the next breath complained about my love handles. I mean really grateful. Grateful enough to use italics when I typed ‘really’. And grateful enough that complaining about anything regarding my body seemed…well, ungrateful! And with gratitude came love and acceptance. I love my body. Not because it’s perfect by the world’s standards but because it is a faithful servant that has treated me well. Looking back, all those years of dissatisfaction seem so incredibly pointless and silly. I could have spent those years being happier.
The irony is, many of us spend our lives being unhappy with our bodies until something goes wrong with our health and suddenly we are the repentant, devoted lover, promising our body we will be better, more attentive and kinder. We spoil it, pamper it and lavish it with love, begging it to come back because we are so, so sorry.
So My Message Is This:
Learning to love your body doesn’t have to be a 53 year process. Admittedly, I was a little slow. You can love your body today. Right now, as is! Nothing has to change about your body for you to love it, because the fact is there is nothing wrong with your body.
Your Body is Not The Enemy: Your Mind Is
Here is a favorite quote from the book Starve a Bully, Feed a Champion: “Your body is totally innocent, completely neutral. It merely responds to the story you tell about it.” YES! If you remove ego from your thoughts about your body and become less attached to how it looks and more concerned with it’s true purpose, life becomes a little sweeter. Once you accept the body for what it is, a glorious but temporary shelter for your spirit and the vehicle by which you serve others, you make peace with it and don’t fear the changes as much.
Your body is a loaner. Treat it well. It is your home. It is the place you dwell. Fill it with beauty and love, like you would a house. When you are filled with gratitude and love it will emanate from you everywhere you go, and that is true beauty.
Every morning thank your body for it’s service. Instead of hurling insults praise it for all the good it does, it can hear you you know! Gratitude is a powerful thing. It can change your perception, and perception after all is your reality! When you are truly grateful for your body you will love your body. When you love your body, you are more likely to treat it well with good food, rest and the proper amount of exercise and in return it will reward you with improved health and wellness. Hating your body doesn’t change it, loving it does. If you truly need to change something, change it because you love yourself enough to change it.
Treat your body the way you would a good friend:
Treat your body with love, compassion, kindness, patience and honesty. If your best and most devoted lifelong friend were telling you how hard he/she worked this week and how exhausted they were, would you say “Well you better go to the gym and take a really challenging spin class!” or would you say “Go home, soak in a hot bath and go to sleep early”? Exactly.
Speak kindly about your body. Think kindly about your body. Treat your body well. It is like a loyal dog. No matter how long you have neglected it, it will be happy and forgiving when you stop. It believes everything you say and is waiting for your attention and praise and when you give it, it will respond positively. Nourish it, love it, praise it, and give it a good belly rub once in a while.
Don’t Waste a Minute on Self Loathing: Call a Truce Today
Yep, your body is a loaner. Eventually we all lay it down. And unless you live to be 100 years old, chances are when the time comes you will think it’s too soon. You will beg your body to hold on just a bit longer and you won’t give a thought to your size or your thighs. Love your body now. Love yourself now. Be grateful now. Because now is really all you have. Life unfolds in the present, don’t waste a second.
~ Linda Spiker
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