Thursday, November 10, 2011

Loving your body

Yesterday I met with some friends which was really serendipitous, it was a total chance meeting. I had not seen them since 2008 and over two thousand miles away. I shared a really wonderful conversation about bodies with one of them. The focus was having a healthy view of our bodies in a society that although touts being "health conscious" about bodies generally promotes a toxic inner attitude about them.

She shared insights that were noteworthy. One of the first things we talked about was how bodies are a reflection of our lives. For example, when we are four years old our bodies are small. As we hit young adult age our bodies change into more adult bodies. While the years pass our bodies continue to change we may loose hair, hair color, our skin may wrinkle. These are all natural things that are a reflection to some extent of ourselves. This is not all, our scars tell stories and our any other markings our bodies tell a story.

There are more specific and dynamic stories of our lives reflected on our bodies. A more specific example could be finals week. During finals week, I normally would have a sleep deprived existence filled with studying for tests, finishing final projects, and packing and cleaning. These different priorities reflect on my body, you can visually see that I haven't had as much sleep. These manifestations may be bloodshot eyes, bags under my eyes, or maybe even getting a cold. The bottom line is our body reflects our priorities too. We do not have time for everything. This is not an excuse for not taking care of our bodies, but it is a healthy thing to recognize and consider while viewing our own bodies and others.

You know your life and you understand your priorities. It is important to consider bodies in the context of your life and priorities. There are times when our bodies or bodies of others are maybe not in their ideal form but, are very beautiful when considering priorities. I think the ultimate example is pregnancy, there is a real beauty in this context. A woman may not view her body at this time as something beautiful. However if you consider the context, there is no question it definitely is.

Although considering our bodies in context is important, it is important in as much as it helps maintain perspective and consequently love for our bodies and respect for others. Truly loving your body also mean taking care of it.

The foundation of loving your body first is incredibly important. If you do not have this foundation no amount of exercise, dieting, or style will change an unhealthy view of your body. Although, these things can definitely be good and healthy choices.

Third, be careful of comparisons. They are often more harmful than good. This viral video that most of you have probably already seen illustrates the importance of this point. You may find that you are comparing yourself (real) to a fabrication.