How one woman found yoga, eased her inner hunger, and started loving herself. Follow Kimber as she shares her journey to loving her body, the joys and sorrows of yoga teaching, and venturing into the wilderness of writing and publishing.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Love Your Body Blog Part 31: Who Loves Your Body?

Just yesterday morning, my sweetie asked me, “Have you mentioned on your blog how important it is to surround yourself with people who love your body?” Why, no honey, I haven’t… but I will.

If you want to love your body, surround yourself with people who think your body is the bomb.

Not lethally dangerous like a bomb. That’s not exactly what I mean. The bomb, as in awesomely, explosively amazing.

Not that your body looks like Angelina Jolie’s or whomever’s. But people who love your body as an expression of you… who love it young, old, fat, thin, ill, or healthy.

Where are these people, you may ask?

Is it like Where’s Waldo, where you scour and filter through hordes of people in similarly red and white striped shirts, looking for the ones who light up when you and your body enter the room? Well, kind of.

It’s quite possible you are surrounded by people who think your body is wonderful already.

First, cancel out all the people who you know for a fact don’t appreciate your body, i.e. mean Uncle Bob, the well-intentioned friend who’s always hinting at you to lose weight, the oblivious trainer, and the lady who keeps trying to sell you diet pills at work. Now you probably still have some people to work with. Include everyone on your list who has ever given you a sincere compliment, everyone who loves you unconditionally, and everyone who has ever encouraged you to see the beauty in yourself by word or by deed. Think of those among your friends and acquaintances who seem comfortable and happy in their bodies… it’s a good bet these folks are comfortable with your body too, just the way it is. Perhaps your list has grown quite long, or quite short. If you have even one person on your list, you’ve got a good start. (If there’s no one on your list, email me, and I’ll give you some personalized tips on where to find your peeps.)

This one person or several people make up the core of your Love Your Body posse. What’s a Love Your Body posse? The folks you can rely on to reflect back to you your true reflection… that of a worthwhile, attractive, lovable human being.

Your Love Your Body posse is made up of people you can call and share your latest two steps back with, who remind you that your body is good just because it’s yours, and that the value of your life isn’t measured by the numbers on a scale.

Having your partner be the CEO of your Love Your Body posse is an enormous coup if you can manage it. I’ve been lucky… not only does my sweetie love my body, but she’s made it very clear that she’d be perfectly happy with even more to love. Her consistent refrain over many years---Your body is beautiful, I love your body---forced me to look at my body through her eyes, and see it as desirable and good. After about the ten thousandth and thirty-first time, I started to believe her.

The opposite sentiment---I’m not attracted to your body, you’re body is ugly---would have undoubtedly taken less time to sink in.

And would have crushed my soul into brittle little shards if I stayed.

Thank God I’m not dealing with a partner who dislikes my body… if you are, my heart goes out to you. That sucks… and possibly qualifies as emotional abuse.

If you’re single and searching, look for the person who makes your heart go thrum and your body feel adored and alive: someone who tells you and shows you they love your body exactly as it is.

If you’re considering someone, ask your body for its opinion, “Hey body, what do you think? Does this person show you the unqualified respect and adoration you deserve?” Trust your body’s instincts; remember it’s your best friend.

Why is having a Love Your Body posse important?

Because we are constantly bombarded by the message that our bodies are not good enough, both from outside, and often from within our own minds. If you are serious about developing an enduring friendship with your body, you need support. Otherwise, it’s like trying to quit drinking while you’re still hanging out with all your five-martinis-an-hour friends. Not the recipe for success---more a self-sabotage soufflé with a swirl of masochism on top.

Get together with the folks on your list of potential Love Your Body posse members and talk to them about your desire to be a better friend to your body.

Journal together some of the practices from this blog, and share your answers. Make commitments to each other for how you’re going to be a good friend to your body today. Schedule Love Your Body playdates---go out and have fun in your bodies. Collaborate and inspire one another to come up with your own ways to love and celebrate your body.

And here’s the shameless plug: if you’re looking for even more posse members, come to the next Love Your Body workshop series, starting Tues, May 17, 7-9 in Berkeley. Over four weeks, we’ll connect and support each other, and you’ll develop the skills and tools you need to become the friend to your body you never imagined you could be. Email me for more details!

Your inner work in coming to love your body can help you forge friendships you’ll treasure for the rest of your life. And your friendships will provide the fertile soil for your love for your body to grow beyond your wildest imaginings.