I've always had a love/hate relationship with my body. I love having a body. It allows me to exist in a sensory world, and eat, sleep, walk and talk. If you're like me, the fact that I often compare my body to some nebulous (and sometimes tangible) ideal is where the hate comes in.
Yes, most of us girls, when pressed, would admit that if given the chance we'd make a few changes here and there. Thicker hair, thinner waist, smaller nose, shapelier legs...and on it goes.
Every female body is really quite a masterpiece, and I often forget this, while I'm gazing at a model or a movie star in a picture or video. My mistake is that I forget that a movie star or model body has a different purpose than mine. Theirs is to entertain, to portray an image, to sell lingerie. Of the 54 years I've lived, the chief purpose of my life have been to nurture children, to serve my husband and family. My hands, my feet, my eye and ears, even my chest with it's modest padding is well eqipped to do all of these things. My body has served me well so far. If, on the other hand I had pursued a life of spotlight entertaining (I have dabbled, I must confess) then forcing my body into a certain 'look' would be important. This is not to negate caring for my body, and keeping it in good shape, and I'm not suggesting we mothers all default into a 'barefoot and pregnant' sort of stupor. By the way, the 'haggard grandma' look is just as bad a default. But, the comparison game is tricky, It'll sneak up on you at all times of the night or day.
Take a minute to take stock of the wonderful things your body does for you each day:
Carries you to your loved ones, and allows you to caress them, and feel their caresses.
Gives you energy to prepare nourishing food for them, and to perform jobs that earn money to help take care of your and their needs.
Lets you read, educate yourself and watch the world around you, including those you love.
Allows you to touch your family in meaningful ways.
Gives you the ability to go places and spend time with people.
Offers a sensory soundtrack to your life.
Gives you the privilege of speaking, singing and communicating with your world.
Without bodies, even imperfect ones, we'd be wandering spirits without the capacity to give and receive love.
The funny thing is, when you ask most men what they'd change about their wives bodies, they say nothing at all. Men like women's bodies, period. While looking at a model may make you feel envious, remember that envy is just a feeling, and it does absolutely nothing to nurture your own sense of self. It is a shaming, cheating liar that doesn't tell all the truth. Most models and movie stars have plenty of envy of their own.
So give your unique body a few positive words, and a loving pat or two. It has served you well. Be thankful for the skin you're in. It's the only one you've got.
(Well, guys, if you must read, then please pass this on to your significant other female)