A few years ago, I came across an article on HuffPost called “Your Body Is Not Your Masterpiece.” Someone shared it again on Facebook last week and it continues to resonate with me.
I have had an issue with body image forever.
Ok, maybe not forever. When I was three or four I think I was pretty confident.
Or at least I didn’t really think about it. 🙂
But since then… it has been a problem. Not as big a problem as it is for others. I haven’t developed an eating disorder or resorted to self-harm. (There but for the grace of God…) But I know people who have gotten to that point.
And all because we are taught from a very young age that all girls should be on diets, and our appearance is of utmost importance.
I recovered the above photo when I went on a quest to find a picture of myself when I was last at my most confident, self-loving self. I had to dig back a loooooonnnnngggg way. Sure, I found a lot of pictures where I think I looked pretty good. I had a bright smile and the right clothes and looked like I was having a good time. But if you look closely, you see that smile hides a certain level of anxiety; it doesn’t quite reach the eyes.
So here I am realizing that I haven’t really loved myself, my appearance, my body in oh, 40 years or so. How sad is that!?
Then the article I mentioned crosses my path again and it occurs to me that I am maybe meant to glean some piece of wisdom from it.
Our body is not our masterpiece, but the instrument to play it on. Our body is not a project, but a paintbrush. Your body is not the masterpiece – your life is.
How many women (and men) bash themselves verbally for the flaws they perceive when they look in the mirror? I am guilty of this. My inner mean girl is a total bitch when she is talking to me! I would never say the things I say to myself to others, friends or enemies. So why do I allow myself to say them to myself? Habit?
I was reading a book recently called The Four Day Win by Martha Beck. It is about wrapping your brain around the concept of self-acceptance and how that will aid in any efforts to get healthy. It is about altering our belief system about ourselves and what we are capable of. The very first chapter stated it so simply that I almost fell off the recumbant bike as I was reading.
“You and your body are on the same side.”
Read that one more time…
I have been looking at my body as the enemy. It is not model thin. It is not athletic. It has some lumps and bumps that I wish it didn’t. But none of that is my body’s fault.
Do I sometimes feed it cookies for dinner? Ah, yes. Who doesn’t?
Did I grow up in a house where school work was placed higher on the achievement scale than athletics? Yes, totally. (I grew up in an un-athletic household, but more about that another day.)
Yet somehow, despite this treatment, I expect a miracle from this body of mine. I look at heavily photoshopped magazine models and think bad thoughts about my poor body.
Well, today this changes. 🙂