My mom has always had great legs. She would deny it to her dying breath, but it’s true. Even now that she’s older than she’d care to admit. My sister has always had an amazing body… she’s carried three babies (two at the same time!) and eats triathlons for breakfast. And I love my dad’s chest… he gives the greatest hugs. Nothing feels as safe and steady. My family doesn’t look like a bevy of runway models. But I love their bodies.
As you learn to love your body, teach yourself to love the bodies of the people you love.
What do you love about your grandmother’s body? Your cousin? Your aunt? What do you love about your brother’s body?
Look for what’s good in the bodies of those you care about. Pick someone. First just look at your family member (or friend) remembering what you love about them. Notice if your tendency is to criticize their body. Soften around your judgments and just say “Hi” to their body. Remind yourself that their body is what makes it possible to love them, what allows them to be embodied and present in your life. What are you grateful for about their body? How does their body take care of and support them, allowing you to be in relationship with them?
Think of a time when they’ve been sick or injured. Thank their body for healing and for taking care of them so that they are around for you to love and enjoy their presence. What’s good and beautiful in their body? It might be that they have strong arms or soft cheeks, warm hands or a round, comforting belly. Maybe you’re grateful that their liver or kidneys have held up so well. Can you see the beauty and the good in their body? Can you find something about their body you admire, perhaps something you’d never realized you were fond of?
If your family is anything like mine, they’ve got real bodies, not airbrushed and not “perfect” in an abstract, idealized way. And yet they are lovable. When you can see the beauty in Great Aunt Mary’s arms, it’s so much easier to soften and see the beauty in your own arms. When you remember how fond you are of your grandfather’s belly, it’s less of a stretch to embrace what’s good about your own. Get out of the habit of criticizing others’ bodies and… you get the idea.
Learn to love all bodies and you’ll have less trouble loving your own!
Love Your Body Blog Part 52