This post is part of the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival.
Today, the NOW Foundation will host a Love Your Body Day blog carnival, featuring strong voices voices from all over who want to share some thoughts on loving your body.
In celebration of this awesome day, I'd like to talk about what loving your body means to me. I don't think loving your body is a static thing. What I mean is, your perception of yourself is constantly evolving and developing, and loving your body is part of that. For a long time, I was dangerously self-critical. I had to really focus on the parts of myself that I was proud of, and sometimes that's a lot easier said than done. But I knew in my heart that it had to happen, because who wants to go through life criticizing themselves all the time?
The way I came to appreciate my body was treating myself like a friend. I forced myself to look at myself like I would my best friend - seeing all her qualities as unique and beautiful. I started to forgive myself as I would a best friend - acknowledging something that hurt me, but letting it go and moving forward. And I talked to myself the way I would my best friend - I stopped the negative thoughts as soon as I felt them creeping in and I started to point out the things I did well.
This works. It takes effort. But it works.
Just the other day, I was hanging out with a group of women- all totally gorgeous by the way- who were pointing out parts of their bodies they hated. When my turn to criticize myself came up, it was hard not to chime in. I caught myself vocally hating part of my body, and then I remembered - be your own best friend.
And so, hoping to change the tide, I said that I want to be fit, but I refuse to agonize over it and I will not give up the things that make me happy- The love of cooking and celebrating around a table of food, wine, and friends...the comfort of eating ice cream in bed while watching a scary movie...ordering pizza with my nieces and nephews...baking Christmas cookies and tasting the batter...All of these things do not need to be banned from life. Instead, I make sure I treat my body well by eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of exercise, drinking water, going for walks, etc. If I respect my body the way it deserves to be respected, I will not need to give up the things in life that make me smile...and I can love my body while I'm at it....now that's having your cake, and eating it too!
I hope this post inspired you to continue down the path toward self-appreciation! Be well, and enjoy the day.