Yep. That about sums it up. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?
For years I told myself “I’ll love my body when…” When I’ve lost the weight. When I’m a certain size. Sure, I’ve lost weight before, and it felt great! I was even beginning to like how I looked. Especially when I was working out (I was beginning to have a great ass!)
But you know what? It didn’t last. And I realize now that, even if I had reached my goal weight and size, I still wouldn’t have loved my body. If I wait until I lose the weight to love myself, I’ll never lose the weight and I’ll never love myself.
It shouldn’t be about waiting to have the perfect body to love myself. You see, I think I’ve got it all wrong. What if, hear me out, what if I loved my body THEN lost the weight? What would happen then?
I took an inventory of my body the other day, and made a mental list of all the ways in which my body has served me for 38 years. It’s a long list! It created and birthed three amazing kids, nourishing them all for the first years of their lives; it’s gotten me through illness and injury more times than I can remember; it supported me as I completed my university degrees (even when I injured my back!); it carried me through my darkest days even when I didn’t feel like carrying on; it moves in amazing ways (who knew I could swing dance like that?!); it hugs my children, kisses lovers, wipes away tears, and jumps for joy. In all of my pain and suffering, in all of my celebrations, my body has been there for me.
And what have I done? I’ve mistreated it. I’ve fed it unhealthy food. I’ve neglected to care for it by not exercising. If I treated my kids this way, I’d have social services after me in a heartbeat! Like the above cartoon suggests, we treat our kids better than we treat our bodies. Of course I love my kids, even when they’re not the most loveable. I don’t expect them to be perfect. I love them no matter what.
Why can’t I love my body that way? Why is my love for my physical self so conditional? I’m not fair to myself. I deserve to love my body. I deserve to treat my body with love and respect.
As a matter of fact, every morning, at the end of my yoga workout, as I’m meditating for a few minutes, I tell myself, “I will treat my body with respect and love today.”
I don’t always have good days. The past few days have been not-so-great, and I haven’t been treating my body in a loving way. Let me tell you, I sure can feel the difference. But the amazing thing is, this is a day-by-day, hour-to-hour endeavour. I don’t need to be perfect in loving my body. I just need to do my best.