There’s a lot of body-love / love-your-body talk buzzing around the media right now (for instance right here on this website, every Tuesday), and it’s awesome. People are showing due love and respect for their bodies and acceptance of themselves. People are conquering all kinds of insecurities about their physical appearance, and it’s fucking wonderful, but for the ones still suffering from insecurities, these words might frustrate us or even hurt us. Love this body? …How? How are we supposed to feel when we experience this pressure to love a body we’ve spent our whole lives learning to hate?
#LoveYourBody, #BodyLove, #LoveYourself, etcetera. A person with insecurities about their looks might see these words and vaguely recognize that they’re supposed to be somehow empowering. That person might laugh at these words and shrug them off. Love my body? Gotta be kidding. Or that person might honestly consider the meaning of these words. They might try desperately to follow these instructions: Love your body. But that’s like telling somebody who’s drowning to breathe. And no matter how many times we might repeat the words, they’re never any truer. Love isn’t a voluntary function. It isn’t something we command so easily. It takes more than #LoveYourBody to really love your body.
So for those of us still learning to love ours, let’s break this love-your-body business down into digestible pieces. Baby steps. For one thing, you can’t leap all the way to loving your body without first stopping to accept it. If you’re struggling to accept your body, you’ve probably spent a considerable portion of your life comparing all your body parts and facial features to the “perfect” ones you see on tv screens and magazines. You’ve probably composed a mental list of all the right ways for these features to appear, and all the ways that yours are wrong.
Sometimes we forget those body parts and facial features aren’t decorative. Each one serves a vital function. Sometimes it helps me to remember this. When I feel critical of some part of my body, I remind myself what that part of my body does for me, or enables me to do. Loving your body doesn’t just have to be about loving the way your body looks. You might find it easier to love your body for what it does for you. So I’ve composed a handy list of all the awesome shit our body parts make possible, and reasons to appreciate them.
Here’s why you should love…
Your Head: The thoughts you think.
Your Skin: The things you feel. And the exceptional job it does containing all your yucky guts and innards.
Your Eyebrows and Eyelashes: All that shit they keep out of your eyes that you probably never noticed, because it wasn’t in your eyes.
Your Eyes — The things you see.
Your Nose — The scents you smell. The air you breathe.
Your Lips — The lips you kiss.
Your Mouth — The food you eat. The words you speak.
Your Neck — The tenacity with which it holds your head up.
Your Arms — The distances you reach. The things you carry.
Your Hands — The things that you create.
Your Fingertips — The things you touch.
Your Hips — The love you make.
Your Legs — The strength with which they carry you.
Your Feet — The places that they takes you.