I’ll be honest… the title of this post is a lie. I don’t know how you learn to love your body.
What I can tell you is how to find peace with your body.
Real talk: 35 years of copious amounts of self help books and Brené Brown quotes, I still struggle with what I look like.
And, as I write that sentence, I realize what a ridiculous privileged space I inhabit. For me to even admit these types of struggles (as a white, normal weight, cisgender, heterosexual female) can come off as completely tone deaf. I completely understand that my words and advice may not resonate with a lot of you and I respect and understand that.
That caveat aside: here is how I learned to love my body.
Spoiler alert: it’s not about actually loving my body.
The secret is to accept your body and love your life.
I call this compassionate acceptance. With compassionate acceptance, you stop trying to punish or change your body but learn to celebrate, nourish, and respect it.
I spent the first half of my life fighting with my body: punishing it for perceived wrongs and pushing it an endurance test I’d never win.
My journey to compassionate acceptance of my body started when I was 16 years old and had to be hospitalized for an eating disorder.
I distinctly remember laying on a mattress on the floor of a hospital ward (this was before the days of hospitals dedicated to treating eating disorders… so no private rooms. It was bleak AF) and missing home so acutely that I could feel it in the depths of my bones.
I missed my grandma, my super fat cat, my AP American History class with the hardest/best teacher I’ve ever had, my best friend with her faux fur coat she rocked, and my own bed.
And it was then I realized, I may not love my body but I loved my life.
And every day since then I’ve made the conscious decision to love my life more then I hate my body. To have the courage to look at my body in a place of acceptance and constantly evaluate my life to make sure I am happy with what it’s giving me.
Turn’s out: when you’re happy with your life and standing firmly in who you are, it’s much easier to accept your body.
Even on bad days, I try and make a conscious effort to look at my life like Harry looks at Meghan.
Some days are harder than others but the important thing is: I try.
At the end of the day, it’s my body that allows me to live this life so it’s hard NOT to accept it.
When I feel those negative thoughts swirling (and hot damn, can they swirl)… I take an inventory of things in my life that I do love:
- Real Housewives
- My doggie
- My Monday night Pilates Crew
- My never ending group chat with my 2 soul sisters
- Game nights where I get ultra competitive and mad at the people I love
- My favorite pedicure place up the street with the owner who always greets me with a glass of wine
Remembering these things allows me to give myself grace and kindness when I look in the mirror.
Is it (‘it’=body) perfect? Hell no BUT it helped me travel to see my soul sisters in California and get a crazy ass mud treatment that felt like I was being buried alive, so it ain’t that bad.
One thing I can really recommend is an App called 1 Second of Everyday.
I takes video or a picture of my day (everyday) and the app compiles them into a video of one second snippets of my life.
Every time I start spiraling, I pull out that app and watch my video. It’s really hard to hate your body when you have physical proof of where it took you, who you met with it, and what you did with it.
And also real talk: getting older helps because eventually you start caring less.
Is this fool proof? No.
However, I do believe eventually we have to make a decision.
What do you feel more: love or hate?
And I’m a bleeding heart snowflake liberal (*gasp!*) so I believe that love always wins.
So tell me: what are your tips when you aren’t feeling your body? Or if you are?