Have You Told Your Body 'Thank You' Today?
Hi all. Let’s have a talk. Like a really honest, sit-down, hair-in-a-scrunchie, kind of talk. I’ve been doing a bunch of thinking and I’ve been thinking extra about the idea of body positivity. And, while I think that changing the way that we view our body is immensely important, I also think that we need to put more focus on what our body can do.
It seems to me that women, regardless of year or place, have always been fascinated with how their body looks. In the 90s, it was the fixation on the super-skinny runway model. In the 2000s, it was Victoria’s Secret models. There’s always been a fixation on body image. Now, as we inch closer to 2020, I feel that we’ve made huge strides away from these “ideals” and have focused more on loving our bodies as they are. Yes, we all come in different shapes and sizes. Yes, we all need to find value and self-worth in ourselves. But, what I’ve realized is, ultimately, it still comes down to looks. Yes, your look is different and that’s ok. You don’t look like the “ideal” and that’s ok. But, see the problem? We’re still focused on what we LOOK LIKE. There is little to no representation about what our body can DO.
Think about this. If we were all blind, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Instead, it would be a discussion on the pleasant sound of your voice. Perhaps, the soft feel of your hair or skin. But, it wouldn’t be about what you look like. Because it wouldn’t matter. So, why do we make it matter?
On a long run recently, I was talking to a friend about some body image issues that we both have. I mentioned that “her worst day could be someone’s ideal” and she quickly rebuffed me. Why? Because the idea that her worst is someone’s idea of best leads into female comparison. And comparison, ultimately, is at the root of everything we’re trying so hard to fight. Our own self-worth needs to come from within, not in comparison with others. Building up my self-esteem at the expense of others, is not what I’m interested in. I thought about what she said for a couple miles.
We need to, instead, focus on what our body can do. Take a moment and think about what your body does daily, without your asking. Think of all of the things that we take for granted each day. Your body keeps you alive. Your body breathes for you; your heart beats for you. All unassisted, unaided by anything you do. Every day, your body wakes you up from sleep. You might oversleep your alarm, but you won’t drift off into an endless slumber because your body will wake you. When you get sick, your body fights off the virus and protects you. When you eat, your body digests your food, supplying your body with nutrients. Your body carries you throughout your days, never asking for anything in return.
And in that same train of thought, your body forgives you, just the same. My body forgives me for all the miles that I run on tired legs. My body forgives me for all the late nights and early mornings. My body forgives me when I eat a greasy, processed meal. Hell, my body forgave me for everything I did in college. (And honestly, I’d probably understand if it didn’t.) No matter what happens, your body is there to support you, completely, 100%. Your body doesn’t ask you to change.
So, let me ask you this? Why do we ask our body to change? When is the last time you’ve told your body thank you? Thank you for keeping me alive. Thank you for all the unending work that you tirelessly do, daily.
“Instead of focusing on how you look, or even how you feel about your appearance, take a moment and appreciate your body for what it is capable of.”
Here’s a piece of homework that I challenge you with:
I could think of many things that I’d rather be called than beautiful. Smart. Strong. Empowering.
I’ve written before about my love of gratitude journals. I encourage you all to write down one thing each day that you like about your body or that you are thankful for. But - and this is a big one - you are not allowed to use any adjectives to describe your appearance, i.e: beautiful, pretty, cute!
Instead, I want you to thank your body for something that it does. Thank you legs for carrying me through this workout.
And today, I like my hands, because they are capable. And these capable hands are able to write this blog post.
And being able to write, and use this platform for good, is something that I’ll be eternally thankful for.
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Photography by David Lemon Photography
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