People often ask me, “how can I love my body when I have been at war with her my whole life?” or “How can I love myself when I’m not pleased with it?” They are waiting to love their body when it looks a certain way. That is conditional love. I’m not saying it’s easy to overlook aspects of our shape that make us uncomfortable. But I am saying it’s cruel to only love your own body when it is ‘at it’s best’.
Below you will see A Love Letter To My Body. It is an exercise anyone can do, and an example to help demonstrate how our bodies are SO MUCH MORE than a number on a scale, or something we want to squeeze into a pair of skinny jeans.
If you can relate to having a less than stellar history with body acceptance, or are currently struggling to love your body, and want to start giving back more to yourself, I encourage you to take the time to write your own love letter to your body. We can’t sustain any behavior, be it exercise or healthy/intuitive eating without a foundation of self love and respect.
Start with your body. Focus on telling your body a new story, one that comes from a place of apology, compassion and some hard earned wisdom. Tell her why you have been struggling with loving her and see if you can verbalize what the struggle has been like for you. Storytelling is an ancient form of communicating wisdom. Like the stories passed down in cultures, the narratives we have playing in our head gives meaning what is happening in our life. We have to reclaim the narrative we are telling our body in order to begin to love her as we once did before we bought into the lies about our bodies not being good enough.
Try focusing on the functionality of the body. See if you can be grateful for it. Can you thank your legs for moving you around this earth, or your arms for letting you feel the world around you? Can you thank your eyes for giving you access to all the beauty you see?
The story is about starting a process with your body that focuses on giving it the respect it deserves. Learn to love it, through good times and bad, because it loves you even when you’re not at your ‘best’.
A Love Letter To My Body – Rewriting the Narrative of Our Lives
From my first second here on this earth, you were there to welcome me. You doubled, and tripled in size, growing and developing at a rapid speed, just so that I might have a my own special place to call home. That you did this, and how you did this, could only be described as a miracle.
Out of nowhere, and from nothing, you emerged. You did so in utter perfection, providing me with everything I might need to navigate my journey here in this world; skin, lungs, heart, eyes, arms, legs, and so on and so forth. You thought of everything so that I might have what I needed to grow and adapt in this new world.
As a child, I was in awe of you. As I came to slowly absorb my surroundings, discovering you was an act of pure bliss. Although I don’t consciously remember this time, I have since watched babies as they discover their own bodies. It is noting short of amazing.
As I grew, you preserved while I learned to move within you and walk, falling down and bumping into things. Learning to do many things, from riding bikes to playing games, all provided me with the kind of happiness that only an innocent child can emanate. You allowed me those experiences, and because I hadn’t forgotten my love for you, I felt pure joy. Thank you for that.
You allowed me to experience this world in so many ways. You captured the wind on your skin, and I felt the fuzzy warmth of goose bumps. You took in the rich scents of my surroundings, and I became intoxicated with the fragrance. Your ears captured the vibrating voices of those I love, and the beauty of music, and my soul felt the resonance of peace.
I could not count the ways in which you captured my world and fed it to me with precision. For this alone, words cannot express the level of thanks I have for you.
And yet, somewhere along the way, I became lost and forgot whom I was and that you were a most precious gift.
Somewhere along the way, I started to believe that I WAS you, and that there was something wrong with us. I was fed a lie, a lie that exists outside in the world that told me that all that was real were the things we can see, touch, and feel. The lie told me that there was one objective truth, a certain ‘way’ to be, and that to be different was to be bad.
I started to believe that as a girl, my body and my face were what gave me value, and that in order to be valuable, I must look a certain way. The lie told me that beauty was something specific. The world told me that to be beautiful was to be thin, and to look a certain way, the way ‘other’ women, the women in ads and magazines, appeared. They were not you. How could they be? You, who were so uniquely mine, all of a sudden became bad, and I abandoned you in search of something outside of us.
I bought into that lie, and as a result, I have hurt you in unimaginable ways.
I have abandoned you, and hated you. I have deprived you and starved you. I have made hurtful remarks, degraded you, and ignored your needs. I have made you feel less than, and left you when you needed me most. And yet, despite all of that, you have continued to carry me. Despite my neglect, you are always there for me, and I now know, always will be.
I may have been lost, but finding my way back to the truth of who I am and how amazing you are has been a long, and winding road. The path back to myself was worth every step. Thank you for being patient with me and carrying me forward despite everything. You embody (no pun intended!) the concept of unconditional love.
I want to say that I am truly sorry for anything that has occurred in the past. I want to say today that I love you – exactly as you are. I am eternally grateful for everything you are. Every day you awaken and carry me in this world is a gift, and I promise that I will never again take you for granted.