Making Peace with Our Bodies
It’s no secret that our society has a little, shall we say, hang-up on body image. While women are the primary targets, let’s not forget our testosterone-laden brethren, who are not exempt from “good-natured” ribbing from pals or offhand comments from wives or girlfriends. And in this season of resolutions, our figures are public enemy number one.
So here’s a little reality check, some perspective from Carl Jung: “We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.” Consider this the next time you cast a critical glare at that part of your body that apparently did not get the memo that it was supposed to remain unchanged from its 18-year-old counterpart.
Embrace reality, my friends. End the dictatorship that has oppressed your unsuspecting thighs, stomach or backside. Paradoxically, doing so does not relinquish you to the slovenly mound of mush you so fear — it frees up the energy you have spent in frustration and self-loathing to be used productively, in such ground-breaking endeavors as taking a deep breath and smiling. Filling your lungs with ocean air or rejoicing that your legs are capable of carrying you down a sun-dappled path.
Like any perspective shift, this takes time. But the only way to begin the shift is to do. A little kindness turned inward, like soothing an injured child. Perhaps this is exactly what our abused bodies have always needed: praise for what it does right, rather than punishment for not living up to our unrealistic expectations.
I leave you with a quote from Anne Lamott, from her book Grace (Eventually): “To step into beauty, does one have to give up on losing a little weight? No, of course not. Only if you’re sick of suffering. Because if you cannot see that you’re okay now, you won’t be able to see it if you lose twenty pounds. It’s an inside job.”Tags: body acceptance, confidence, critical inner voice, personal growth, self confidence, self-awareness, self-esteem, stress management