One of the most miraculous things about our body is how it grows, without being told how to do so, from a clump of cells into a fully formed adult. Have you ever thought about how truly mysterious this is? Once you were born, an infant growing freely on its own, you didn't put food into your body and use your brain to think, 'Okay now body, break down this food, separate the nutrients, send them to the places they are most needed, build my bones, in just the right size, build my muscles, but make sure to keep it all in balance, and then take the waste and efficiently separate it and then expel it. Got it body?"
You've never once directed your body in how it would transition from infant to adult. Things inside your body, like DNA and mitochondria and so on, worked around the clock, independent of your mind, to do this.
There is innate intelligence in your body, which is different than the intelligence of your mind. But it exists. If it didn't, your heart would stop beating when you sleep. Your cells would cease to replicate on their own. Your growth would have gone haywire, your arms eight feet long, your eyes in the back of your head, and so on. And your body would've gone, "Well nobody taught me how to read the DNA!" Which is strange, isn't it? Your body wasn't taught how it all worked. It just knew.
If your body didn't have this inner knowledge, essentially, your entire day would be focused on keeping yourself alive, rather than enjoying your existence. Which makes me want to say, "Thank you body."
So often we feel our bodies our ruining our lives by not looking or behaving how we want, and yet a body IS life. And there are times when a body really does give us reason to feel depressed. Some bodies are paralyzed, or don't grow limbs, to which we might think, "Damn this stupid body." Recurring instances of severe acne made me question my own body's intelligence and worth for awhile, which I wrote about here. But even when something isn't as we think it should be, the amount of things going right and happening every second are mind boggling.
There is a complete integration between mind, body and spirit. When you think, "I hate you body," those thoughts go into you, become a part of you, and they are you. When you embody and breathe self-hate, that's all you'll see. You'll see what you hate about yourself, think about it, and flow it back through you. It's a cycle, but there is a point it began: with a thought. So if there is a point it begins, there's a point at which you can break the cycle.
The key to feeling body love isn't changing your body. It's changing your thoughts. As I said, there's no separation. You cannot feel you love yourself and think constantly about how you hate your body. I know that can be hard a cycle to break out of - we get trapped in thinking if we change something in our bodies, we'll love ourselves. And it can be frustrating that we feel we won't love ourselves until this or that changes, and because we don't think loving thoughts, we never allow in the thoughts that will lead us to feel self-love, and if we don't feel it we don't think and on and on.
So how do you break free? You choose to. Make a choice, right now, to become aware of your thoughts, and see yourself as the creator of them. You may have developed your negative self-talk because of something someone said, or something you saw that made you feel incomplete. But those things came from outside you, they weren't yours until a thought in your own mind said, "Yes, I agree... I am what they say." Choosing not to take on other people's bullshit, and choosing not to believe their stories about you, is probably the most liberating thing you can do. It takes practice, but you can do it.
Photo by moZZia
Your body needs love and support, it needs to be treated the same way you would treat a cherished friend. And in return, your emotional and mental needs a body in order to even exist in this world. Let them work together, in support, as they were meant to. Turning one against the other makes everything so much harder than it has to be.
People are going to say hurtful things, you can't control the issues they have swirling around in their own minds. All you can control is how you feel, and if somebody says something that makes you feel bad, reject it. Do not accept it as some truth about you. You know the truth. You're awesome, and you were born awesome. In fact, before you were even born you were mysterious and miraculous (refer back to that little video above if you like).
All thoughts originate from within. Focus your thoughts on what you believe is going right (and lots of stuff is - the very fact that you can read this means you are completing a myriad of complex inner tasks right now). If there are changes vital to your health and happiness, they will flow to you when you're ready to receive them. But you may realize no change is needed at all - the only thing you needed was a change of perspective. And remember, your body is smart. It will respond, in its own intelligent way, to your positive feelings.
So remind it that you appreciate it for functioning 24 hours a day, even when you sleep. Tell it how fascinating it is, from the smallest cell to the complex way it all works together. Talk to your body like you would a friend. Because that's what it is. It's not your enemy. It's the partner to your soul.
I wrote a post below about setting a timer on my phone to remind me to think positive. You can also do this for your body, set a timer to go off once a day that says something simple like, "Think of something positive about your body." For other posts on feeling good, try the tags Self Love and Body Love.
Bikers at World Naked Bike Ride event / photo courtesy Todd Huffman