The very first time my firstborn was placed in my arms; it didn’t induce that famous flood of instantaneous love that so many parents speak of. What I felt, instead, was an overwhelming sense of responsibility. It dawned on me that she was virtually helpless and it was my responsibility to keep her alive. The feeling was palpable, it filled the entire room. I made a silent to commitment to ensure that she not only survives but that she thrives. I took on this duty earnestly. As I focused on the actions required to keep her alive, healthy and happy a solid love for her developed. Before I knew it I was madly in love with her.
Loving your body makes sense. It is the right thing to do. However, like the concept of self-love it baffles people. We know we should do it, but we have no friggin clue how to.
Recently it dawned on me that for the better part of my life I confused loving my body with approving of my body. There’ve been times when my body looked the way I wanted it to, according to whatever standard I had at the time, and thus I approved of it. During the times when I didn’t like the shape of my body or the condition of my skin, I disapproved of my body. I’d get annoyed with it and even go as far as no longer looking at myself in the mirror until my body stopped misbehaving.
I have felt strong irritation with my body when it went through periods of illness, like it was a misbehaving employee or supplier who was not living up to their end of the bargain. Yet, I never really asked myself what my end of the deal was.
Until recently I never really loved my body. The gift of adrenal fatigue has been learning how to treat my body with care, consideration and respect. Just as it happened with my daughter, once I embraced the responsibility of ensuring that my body not only survives but thrives, a fierce love for it was a natural result.
We tend to expect self-love to be a decision, an intellectual process. You listen to a talk, read a book or come across a quote on social media that sells you on the value of self-love, and so you decide to love yourself. Beyond a few days or weeks nothing significant changes. This is because it’s not something you can think your way into.
Take a moment to reflect on the people who love you. Those that you are 100% confident of their love for you. I bet you didn’t identify them based solely, if at all, on the fact that they’ve told you that they love you. Your faith in their love is based primarily on their actions. How they treat you, not just what they say to or about you.
That is precisely how you come to love your body, you treat it right and the loves comes. You don’t wait to love it, in order to honour it.
Here’s to loving the body you are in!