If you’re like me, you’ve said some harmful things about your body before. You’ve looked in the mirror and you’ve cursed the gods for making you so flawed. Raise your hand. Nod your head yes. Throw your hands up in Amen. It’s okay. You’re not alone.
My husband and I bought a house closer to both our families last year and we’ve become a boys and girls club of sorts. We’re more involved in the lives of our nieces and nephews and I have a fifteen-year-old cousin that comes over a few times a week. I felt an immediate responsibility to learn how to conduct myself around the young girls. I didn’t want them to hear me speaking in a negative way about my body.
But where was I supposed to start? How was I to alter the wiring in my brain that had me believing that my body was only acceptable if it fit a mold that required me to give up tacos forever?
So I talked to my therapist. I told her about my bouts of self-loathing and the things I would say aloud to myself and sometimes in front of other people (mostly my husband). She asked me “have you ever stopped to thank your body?”
“No, I haven’t.”
And I felt like such a jerk.
“Maybe you should take some time to write about all of the things that your body has done for you that you are grateful for.”
I couldn’t believe that I had never stopped to thank my body. I never saw my body as worthy of thanks or praise. I didn’t grow up in an environment where women celebrated their bodies. Quite the contrary. Everyone constantly complained about their body or complained about how someone else complained about their body. But that’s only because nobody told them to thank their bodies either.
I sat down that night and I wrote about my body. And I was shocked to find that I wasn’t writing anything about how my body looked, but more about how my body functioned.
I wrote things like:
“No broken bones ever, no years of sickness or recurring health problems.”
“My stomach is so communicative and always lets me know when I’m stressed out, hungry, full, or ready for dessert.”
“Thanks, lungs! They’ve helped me get through some tough songs. Belting out Luis Miguel’s greatest hits would not be possible, if not for these stellar lungs.”
I learned, that night, that my body was feeling so neglected. All I ever did was complain and I never took a moment to appreciate all of the things that my body has given me and all the ways that it has made my life easier. What a beautiful discovery! And what a great tool to use with the boys and girls club.
So I’ve started to openly thank my body for being so cool. Thanks for barking at me, foot! I’ll slow down. Thanks for reminding me that fried foods make me feel like shit, stomach! Thanks for keeping me alive, heart! You just keep ticking and fueling my passions and my desires, and even when I want to give up, you don’t.
My body’s love language is definitely words of affirmation because she responds so well to the praise. She appreciates being appreciated. So whether you’re an example for someone in your life or you’re just looking for a deeper connection with yourself – give some thanks to that amazing bod of yours today – you sexy thang.