The secret to loving yourself when you don’t love your body


Let me share with you two recent responses I got to the question:

‘If a fairy godmother was to descend from the sky right at this moment and offer to wave her wand for you … what would you ask her to do?’

Response one: I would no longer be critical of and dissatisfied with the way I look (and she could make 20 pounds disappear too!).

Response two: I feel guilty when I don’t work out or eat healthy and although I look slim and toned, I’m not happy. I want to be happy again, enjoy my family and not think about food all the time.

Do you see what we’ve got here?

  • Someone who feels they’re overweight … and would like that weight to disappear so they can stop being so dissatisfied with how they look.
  • Someone who feels they’re slim and toned … and would like to stop obsessing about food all the time so they can be happy.

And the thing is – these are not isolated cases. This is the norm. It is completely normal for those of us in the Western world (men and women) to spend a lot of time ‘not loving our bodies’ and/or ‘obsessing about what we could/should be doing to get better bodies.’ And what does this lack of love for our bodies result in?

A lack of ‘happiness’ and … a lack of love and respect for ourselves.

This of course leads to many column inches being devoted to ‘loving your body no matter what’. And for years that message has irked me a bit because the people writing those words are, generally speaking, not living that message.

So I’d like to change the conversation a bit. I’d like to explore an idea my friend Bron raised when she wrote about ‘body neutrality’.

Instead of trying to find your way to loving your body, how about this:

Make the decision to not hate your body.

Yes, it really is that simple.

Remember – I’m not asking you to love your body, I’m just asking you to not hate it.

And when you stop hating your body, here’s what happens: you make room in your mind for noticing all the wondrous things it can do.

I mean seriously, I’m sitting here typing and it’s pretty extraordinary to think what a remarkable feat of biological engineering my body is to allow this to happen. Thoughts are forming in my mind … and my fingers are able to both keep pace with the thoughts pouring out of my brain and dance their way across a keyboard and transfer those thoughts onto my computer. How cool is that?

I’m busting for the loo right now (TMI? Sorry!) and I have muscles in my pelvis that are keeping my pants dry while my brain and hands combine to get these thoughts out of my head.

In an hour or so my legs are going to take me down the corridor to my daughter’s bedroom. The muscles in my back are going to allow me to bend over and gather her little body into my arms. The space between my ear and my shoulder is just the right size and shape for her to nestle her sleepy head into as I walk back up the corridor to the living room.

Guys, can you see how outrageous it is that we take this stuff completely for granted every single day?

Can you see how crazy it is to spend time and energy hating something that serves us so very well?

Can you see how powerful a very simple change in the conversations we have with ourselves, about ourselves, can be?

As Bron said in her post: Your body is not you. And you are not your body.

Isn’t it nice to know that we don’t need to be in love with our bodies to be in love with ourselves?

Do you think you can find your way to simply ‘not hating’ your body?