A few weeks ago, my team and I sat down to talk about the upcoming Love Your Body event.
What does it mean, we asked, to actually love your body?
I’m very action-oriented, so I reframed the question as this: “What would you do differently if you truly loved your body?”
When it was Lauren’s turn to answer, she said only one word: “Everything.”
“What do you mean?” I asked. “Like what?”
“Just…everything,” she said. “How I carry myself, how I walk into a room. How and what I ate. What I did during the day. My relationships, for sure.”
As her list went on, I found myself nodding in sympathy. Honestly, when I thought about it, that would be my answer too. If I really, truly loved my body, it would change everything.
As some of you know, I struggled with anorexia for over a decade. I was so obsessed with making my body “perfect” that I almost destroyed it. My sister said to me once, around that time “Sitting down to a meal with you is like going to war.”
Food wasn’t nourishment to me. I saw it through a filter of not thinking I was good enough the way I was. Eating, to me, was rigid, full of self-constricting rules.
The question “what would I do differently if I loved my body?” changes how I think about food. There’s a softness there. The rigidity is gone. That question puts me in a place of love, and from there, I think of food with kindness.
But not a passive kindness. It’s not “It’s okay, I can have this bag of potato chips.” It’s the opposite. Coming from a place of love, I see those foods as unhealthy, and I don’t want to treat my body that way. It’s the same kindness with which I treat my children. I want what’s best for them because I love them. Same thing with my body.
Lauren’s mention of relationships got me thinking, too. How does my relationship with my body affect my relationships with others?
When I really think about it, it’s sobering.
Throughout my life, when I didn’t feel good about my body, I pushed people away. It was when I felt most ashamed of my body that I put up walls. I didn’t allow myself to be vulnerable with those I loved most. And that’s detrimental to relationships.
After my kids were born, though, I grew to love my body more and more. And loving my body brings about wholeness. I’m no longer body and mind, two separate entities at war. I’m one. And that creates confidence. It enables me to present my truest, most honest self to those around me, and it enables those relationships to grow.
Lauren’s answer made me realize that loving my body absolutely impacts my relationships. It doesn’t just impact me. It impacts those around me – family, friends, employees, colleagues, clients. The people I meet on the subway. Literally everyone I come into contact with.
Loving your body really does change everything – work, energy level, self-esteem, choices about what to do and why. I could go on, but I want to turn the question to you.
If you really loved your body, what would you do differently?
How would that impact your life?
Feel free to share your answer here. I hope you take the time to reflect on this question for yourself – because the answers can be truly astounding.
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