Your body is not an object designed to be assessed on the basis of the size and shape of it. As you get set to start or re-embark on your wholeness and wellness journey, this is the first thing that you need to acknowledge, accept, believe and understand. You have a body because you’re a living thing, and living things need a vessel to hold together all the parts that enable them to be alive. How you look on the outside is the least important aspect of your body. Your rippling muscles or your voluptuous figure can arouse people’s desire for carnal pleasure. And other people’s rippling muscles or their voluptuous figure can arouse the same in you. But, elemental though sexuality may be, the ability to achieve an orgasm is just something else of which the body is capable. It is not the point of having a body. And your external protuberances have nothing on your internal system when it comes to the question of what truly matters as it relates to your ability to be alive. If any of your vital organs stop working, it will not matter that you have the hottest looking body of any other human in the world.
Society is a powerful influence. And the influence of society is such that many of us begin to view our body as an object to be judged and compared from a pretty early age. This is true regardless of gender. The adults around us begin to use words and phrases to describe our body as early as the day we are born. If a baby is born weighing twelve pounds, more than a few of us are likely to remark on what a big baby it is. And our reactions, if we’re able to be honest, would not be tinged with positive marvel. We’d more likely be aghast and shocked. Less tactful ones of us might ask the mother what she was feeding the baby while pregnant. On the other hand, if a baby is born tiny, we speak of how tiny it is in softer tones, with more marvel in our voices. There’s a certain element of the precious that we attach to our perception of the tiny baby. It’s so little and cute, so adorable and delicate and precious–to be handled with the utmost care. Whereas we won’t usually refer to a twelve pound baby as cute and adorable. We’ll talk about the baby’s big chubby legs and chubby cheeks–not intending negativity of course. But chubby is not a word often used favorably.
The point is, we’re programmed from an early age to feel better or worse about ourselves depending on how we look. We learn to see our body as an object that is subject to the judgement of everyone we encounter. We learn to focus on how our body looks and not on how our body works. We learn to love or hate ourselves depending on having or not having a physique that is considered attractive according to what society has determined to be an attractive physique. And with this faulty programming, some of us proceed to struggle throughout our lifetime with feelings of shame over our body. We spend a lifetime struggling with weight issues, believing that we need to be a certain weight, wear a certain size, have a certain shape to our body to be able to claim our self worth.
Before you embark on any body transformation journey, it’s important to do away with the mindset that your worth is enhanced or diminished by your weight, your size or your shape. If you cannot love and accept yourself unless you are a certain weight, size or shape, you’re probably focusing on the wrong goal. Your mindset requires more attention than your physique. Because, the thing is, you’re human, and part of being human and having a human body is that, across the spectrum of your life, your physique can go through changes that result from things going on inside your system. And sometimes, that can mean having a different body type. You might gain weight due to developing some type of issue like hypothyroidism for example, or due to developing fatty liver disease or some other issue with your thyroid, your liver, your heart. Your metabolism can crash for different reasons, including just the natural decrease in metabolic functionality due to age. There are plenty of scenarios outside of your intention and control wherein your body can increase or decrease in weight or size. So being able to understand that you are not your body and your body shape and size and weight do not determine your worth is critical.
Without this understanding, you can put yourself through the anguish of self rejection–of going through the days of your life feeling misery and shame over your body–comparing yourself to others and putting yourself down whether you do it directly by insulting yourself or indirectly by praising others for looking how they look while hating yourself for looking how you look. As I wrote in “Work Your Body Series – Overcoming Weight Concerns”:
Break the habit for loving and admiring other people’s body more than you love and admire your own. Your body needs your focus and your energy. It needs your love and nurturing. It needs your daily gratitude. And if you’re going to be celebrating body types, it had better be your own. Think about what you’re doing when you celebrate other body types while hating your own.
Stop thinking of bodies in terms of who’s the skinniest, who has the best shape, the nicest pair of breasts, the nicest derriere, the smallest waist, the most attractive breasts to waist to hips ratio, the flattest stomach, the sexiest legs (or the biggest muscles and most ripped abs in the case of the masculine physique). Concern yourself with your body, but concern yourself with the health of it. Concern yourself with taking care of your body as the vessel that is carrying you on your journey of life. If you prefer your body to have a certain look that is fine. No one is suggesting there’s any problem with wanting your body to look a certain way. But love your body for what it does everyday to keep you alive. Love your heart. Love your lungs. Love your kidneys. Love your liver. Love your brain. Love your pancreas. Love your intestines. Love your bowels. Love your blood vessels down to the tiny capillaries. Love everything that contributes to your ability to take another breath. And show your gratitude in the way you take care of your body because you want to keep it working well enough to carry you as far in your life’s journey as you can go. Focus on something greater as your reason for self care–on the journey and the need for a strong, healthy body in which to travel. When that is right, the rest will fall into place.
Peace, love and joy.