Our bodies are complex and beautiful. Truly it’s amazing that my body has the capability of growing a child. It’s a miracle, really. Yet while most would agree that it’s beautiful thing, when we look in the mirror, “beautiful” is usually the last word we’d use to describe what we see. Or maybe I’ll just speak for myself.
The emotions I feel seem to go from one extreme to the next, and I feel this spectrum almost every day. Whew! Having a baby is both a woman’s privilege and curse. I’ve never felt more like a woman or less feminine. I am elated and depressed, tired and blessed, in love and guilty, proud and humble. But one thing I consistently feel is unattractive. I look in the mirror and I see a woman who looks 5 years older in 1 year.
These feelings change when I watch my son while he eats. I am in awe that my body not only grew him, but also that he continues to grow with the sustenance my breasts give him. Those who know me well know that I have issues with my breasts. And that’s putting it lightly.
I’ve done a lot of personal work to make sure I am healthy as well as my marriage. However, I’ve felt tremendous guilt when I encourage my clients to love their bodies when I know that I struggle to do the same.
But what if I changed my perspective?
I realized today that I don’t need to love my body. After all, what’s to love about pimples and under eye circles? What I need is to make peace with it. My body is amazing because of what it can do and what it does. My body is not perfect, but it’s perfectly lovely the way it nurtures our son.
I think we tend to focus too much on what we see in the mirror and not what we can smell, touch, taste, and hear because of our bodies. What our bodies do. I used the example of childbirth, but that’s just one of the many miracles our bodies allow us.
I encourage you to love your body if you can…and if you can’t, at least make your peace with it. Instead of focusing on the parts you hate, try to focus on your body as a whole. Instead of focusing on what you see, maybe you can focus on what your body allows you to do. (For instance, one of my favorite parts of Christmas is the way it smells. My nose may be a little large, but it provides me the ability to smell pine, cinnamon, and delicious goodies baking. I can embrace that and be grateful…and find peace in my gratitude).
So while today is just a start, I feel more at peace with my body than I have in a long time. I pray the same thing for you. What parts of your body would you like to start making peace with today?