Learning to Love Your Body
It’s so strange to think about it but so many of us struggle to love our bodies. We feel separate, a brain judging the brawn as though it is a different thing. We feel unhappy and ungrateful despite the fact that we are literally walking around in life-giving gear.
The good news is that it is never too late to start loving your body. It may take work and you will have to put in some tough love along the way but it’s not your body we’re going to change. It’s your perspective.
Make Your Mark
So here’s the deal. Your body will only ever belong to you. So, if you think you’ll look awesome with bright pink armpit hair, it’s your armpit hair to dye, even if you’re a few years behind this surprising trend. The point is that you can make the choice, you can choose how to interact with and display your body.
A more common way of linking your mind and body through body art is the humble tattoo. Once the tattoo was the reserve of sailors but you can now find them on all kinds of people and in all kinds of places. Tattoos are a great way to create an artwork that is meaningful for you but it’s also a way to transcribe a thought or feeling, a bit like a talisman you carry everywhere. And once the tattoo gel goes on and the image is worked into your skin, that connection between the abstract thought and a more concrete reality is complete.
Treat Yourself Like a Friend
The reasons you might struggle to love your body are many and varied: chronic illness, body dysmorphia, anxiety, depression, not conforming to the “ideal body” on social media (social media is a disaster for body image). But what if, instead of being part of you, your body was a separate entity – a friend? Would you be upset with a friend for not following social norms? Would you be angry with a friend for being ill? No. Of course not.
Treating your body as you would a friend takes practice. You have to learn to be kinder to yourself and more forgiving. You can start by forgiving your body for it’s “sins”, literally stand in front of a mirror and tell your body it’s okay. Then compliment yourself, look at the good bits and smile. It sounds stupid and feels weird but you’ll be surprised by how much it helps to talk to yourself once in a while.
Friends do stuff together and you and your body are pretty well stuck together so you might as well make the best of it. Doing mindful yoga poses is a nice way to reconnect with your body as are most forms of exercise. Eating well and enjoying yourself are also going to do your body good. Laugh often.
Growing together means understanding that your relationship will change as your body and mind develop. And that’s okay. Do the stuff that makes you happy and you’ll soon find that your body troubles ebb away.