Body love. Now there’s something I’ve wrestled with like a crocodile.
As a younger person I often thought I was fat even though I wasn’t. That belief led me to crazy, quick-fix diets (well, more like quick fail), denial, binges and midnight pantry raids. It made me the calorie police and it made my happiness overly dependent on how thin or fat I thought I was.
I’ve been that woman who prods with distaste the hips she thinks are podgy. And the tummy roll she hates. And the thighs that when she looks at them, all she sees is wobbly. I’ve been that women who always looked at other women’s bodies and compared them with her own.
Body love hasn’t been easy to come by and there’s no need for me to explain to any other woman why. I think we all know the battleground. Just about every woman I’ve met has been dissatisfied with her body, even women I’ve viewed as catwalk-ready. Even women who easily fit our cultural ideal of beauty have let slip that they want to be heavier, or shorter or thinner or… something.
How we think we look can kill our sex drive, our mood and our confidence. How we feel we look can define how we meet the world on any given day and how we meet and treat ourselves. Body love is a limb of self-love, of course. Years of working on that helped me lose my misshapen perceptions and food issues. I also adjusted my body love lens from the outside in… to the inside out.
Here’s what I really started to appreciate:
1.My body is the best communicator I know.
It tells me I’m hungry, tired, hot, cold, nervous, sad, scared and a bazillion other crucial things. It tells me when I’m feeling overloaded or need time alone. Too easy to override what we’re feeling and not give it our best attention, but not listening means we invite all manner of imbalance and stress.
2. Life is a massive sensual experience.
Smell, touch, hearing, sight and taste. Just think about walking barefoot, or breathing in the scent of roses or garlic, or ice cream melting in your mouth, or stroking a baby’s head.
3. My body is the best guide I know.
Intuitive feelings are body based. A knowing in our hearts, a curdling or dropkick in our solar plexus. Goosebumps or tingles tell us something too. The more we tune into these feelings—both subtle and strong—the more we can live from our own true guidance.
4. My body is the biggest pleasure I know.
Where shall I start? Oily massage, orgasm, foot rub, body scrub. Kiss. Cuddle. Hold. Stare in the eyes of a loved one. Endless.
5. My body is an amazing time keeper.
It runs cycles, trimesters and life stages. It runs cycles within cycles and naturally attunes to moon phases and tides. It births life. Take a bow body, take a bow.
6. My body is the best fun I know.
Swim, run, dance, sing, Zumba! Laugh. Repeat. What’s not to love?
7. My body is where I feel peace, love and connection.
It’s how I get to feel spaciousness and calm. Maybe we drop into peace through meditation, yoga or a walk. Whatever works.
8. My body is infinitely intelligent.
It stores deep memory and is constantly renewing. It allows us healing crisis and healing journeys, all part of the souls work to open us up. Our bodies are the fleshy outfits for our souls.
9. My body is honest.
It never lies. We spend heaps of time listening to our heads, but not nearly as much time listening to our bodies, even though they have so much to communicate that’s important.
Our bodies are miracles in action. And non-action. They inform us constantly about ourselves and the world. Our appearance is but one aspect of this mighty apparatus.
Our bodies tell us what’s right and wrong for us, healthy and unhealthy in every aspect of our lives—food, people, work, environments. Let’s love them because it’s through our bodies that we feel and experience life. That’s a really frigging obvious sentence to write, but it’s so easy to take our eyes off that ball and just look more superficially at our flesh.
Our bodies need our love. Our bodies need our respect. And our strength to own and value the reality of them rather than the lies. If we give away our power by thinking we’re not beautiful enough we create our own pain, and I know what that feels like.
The female body is beautiful, so beautiful. The curves and contours and flow of the female form are exquisite. Women are meant to be admired. I love to be admired. I always smile when my partner says I’m beautiful or I think that to myself. I enjoy appreciating the beauty of other women too, their radiance, their shape, their style.
How would it feel to say everyday, “I’m beautiful?”
How would it feel to truly own it?
How about we mantra that every day?
Let’s crank up telling other women they’re beautiful. Stunning. Radiant. Awesome. Magnificent. When someone compliments us—don’t dismiss it. Don’t doubt it. Breathe it in and feel its truth.
To use an old adage—beauty is in the eye of the beholder—it makes us responsible for seeing our own. So let’s let go of the reasons why we can’t. Let’s let go of the lies. But let’s not obsess too much about the outside.
Our bodies are not just for looking at. They are for living in.
Author: Dettra Rose
Editor: Katarina Tavčar
Photo: cea +/Flickr