One time a student asked me how to love your body. I laughed and said that I wished I knew.
Everyone got a kick out of it — except for the person who wanted an answer.
She needed the truth, a truth, a lifeline, something.
And I got scared and laughed it off.
The Truth, A Truth
Because the truth, a truth is that while I laughed when I said I didn’t know, it’s not really that funny. Other people can point the way on this road, but that’s all — which is both terrifying and exhilarating.
Because the truth, a truth is that only you know how to love your own body.
Even if some days this feels like it’s not true, or even possible.
Goodness knows I didn’t think it was for years and years. (And some days, I still don’t).
What I Wish I’d Said
Here’s what I wish I’d said to that brave woman: “I don’t always know, but here’s what works for me:
- Noticing when I’m feeling bad about my body as a red flag to check in, not confirmation that my body is unlovable.
- Conditions of Enoughness (with big thanks to Jennifer Louden)
- Getting on the mat.
- Talking with a trusted friend or support person.
- Changing what I’m doing: sometimes leaving a room or scenario is enough to switch up the energy.
- Sitting on the grass and connecting with the earth (and I am SO not a tree hugger).
- Reading an inspiring book.”
Here’s what else I wish I’d said: “Some days (weeks, months, etc.) loving your body really sucks. It doesn’t feel possible, much less good. You feel like a failure, and you wonder why you even bother. You spend half the day on the internet, deciding on your next diet that will solve all your problems.”
I’d say: “You think that your mother/doctor/neighbor was right: you should lose weight. You’re angry with people who tell you stupid things like ‘Love Your Body;’ everyone knows that is nonsense that only people who can’t lose weight say.”
I’d say: “Some days, loving your body isn’t possible. You’re right about that. Some days, it will be a miracle if you can regard your body with anything but disdain, if you just feel neutral about it.”
I’d say: “But what is possible is noticing. Noticing how you’re feeling, which of these thoughts are coming up. And that’s the first step to making a shift, whether or not it happens that day, week, month or year. Because without noticing, how do you know what internal script you even have, much less how to replace it?”
I’d say: “I’m with you.”
I’m with you.