Is learning to ‘love your body’ really the goal? Because if it is, I think it’s an impossible goal for many of us. I think the whole ‘body love’ thing backfires because most women aren’t blind and we’re none of us stupid. Mind you, I do feel stupid when I listen to ‘body love’ messages that suggest I do things like give a little wink and a smile to myself in the mirror, or chant positive mantras at myself like “happiness isn’t size-specific” and “don’t let your mind bully your body.” I just don’t feel like that’s a necessary part of my day.
I think ‘body love’ makes us focus too much on our bodies. Which surely defeats the purpose?
It’s not that I’m not grateful for my body, because I am. My body does good things all day, every day and I appreciate and respect all the shit it has to put up with. I thank it daily for delivering me three darling children. I thank it for liking the same kind of clothes that I like. I thank it for walking up to school to do the drop off and for taping away at the keys to earn me a living. I thank it for taking me on bush walks and swimming me in the sea. I especially thank it for loving my husband.
But I don’t love it. I’m just not interested in ‘loving myself, cellulite and all’ and I don’t much care whether you feel that way about yourself or not. I’m not interested that you’ve put on a few kilos or that you’ve been overweight your whole life or that you’re proud to look good at 40 or that you wish you looked like her because she has a fabulous body. I’m sorry if all that matters to you, but I’m just not that into it.
I’m not aiming to love my body, I’m just aiming to not think about it much at all. If I feed it well and treat it right may it happily provide shelter and transport for all the good things going on. May it provide a hanger for some rather fabulous clothing. May it provide arms for hugging and laps for sitting and cheeks for kissing and hands for holding.
Bodies should not provide an outlet for our insecurities nor an opportunity for us to judge others. They shouldn’t provide a way to beat ourselves up or hate ourselves or shy away from living. Nor a way for us to feel in control or superior or more disciplined, important or happier than anyone else. If anyone else wants to judge someone else for the way their body looks, that’s their prerogative and it really has nothing to do with bodies anyway. That’s a mind thing.
So, I don’t love my body but I don’t hate it either. And what’s more I don’t need to love it. I just want to let it be. I want to be body neutral so that fat, thin, wrinkly, smooth, tanned, white, sore, happy, whatever, my body is just my body doing what bodies do. Nothing more and nothing less.
I just need to be able to look at myself in the mirror and feel good about myself for all the things that make me me. I’m not a body, I have a body. And I use that body to efficiently move around my beautiful, perfect brain.
How do you feel about your body? Is your body your self? Is body neutrality a good goal?