This is my body. When I look at it, there are things I may not like. I have rolls on my belly when I sit down and flabby skin under my arms. I do not have the prized “thigh gap.” Shall I go on? Most women hate their bodies. It’s a pretty widely known fact. We look at people as they walk past, wondering why we can’t have her arms or shape. We quietly (or not so quietly) judge ourselves and those around us.
But Why? Does it actually make us feel better when we criticize our own bodies? Or wonder why we can’t have that ladies’ arms? Criticism often makes you question your choices and decisions. It tears your self-esteem apart and makes you feel worthless. It can, therefore, be the catalyst that can help you to develop self-praise and approval of yourself just the way you are. Because you are worth it!
My body is, first and foremost, a tool. It is a tool for moving and thinking and reasoning and feeling. 50 years ago, it began to walk, then it ran, then it got stronger. It has taken me through tennis games, rollerblading, swimming, hiking, and walking to school. It has helped me heal knee bruises, ankle sprain, and shed tears. It has also learned how to process emotions, how to speak, and how to read. Eventually, it learned how to write — sharpening this skill into an actual professional career as a teacher/writer/blogger. Notice that none of these things — all things I am amazingly proud of — have anything to do with my appearance. I’ve tried looking past the surface of my body and strive to feel what’s happening inside.
Maybe all the things we do to look a certain way can actually sharpen the tool of our own body. When I work out, I want to think about my muscles getting stronger, about my blood flowing, about my flexibility, and my breath. I want to remember that exercise improves sleep, lowers anxiety, and is a source of new brain cells responsible for learning and memory. When I eat healthy food, I do so because I know that heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in women. I want to live a long time and feel alert and energized. And you know, if I lose a couple of pounds or notice some new muscle sharpness, that’s awesome too.
My body is my tool. It is the only body I will ever have, so I will treat it with respect, and I will love it no matter what it looks like. I will commit to nourishing the inside, knowing that will eventually lead to finding confidence on the outside. My body is my vehicle for playing, for sweating, for thinking, for birthing, for writing, for loving. My body has supported me through physical pain and through mental struggles; It has celebrated triumphs and job offers; I am enjoying my body and everything it gives me. And one day, inevitably, it will return to its resting place in the earth.
In my own effort to embrace a little self-love, self-respect, and self-awareness of the importance of my body with you, honor your body, BECAUSE YOU LOOK TERRIFIC.