Thursday, June 27, 2013

Learn to love your body

Yesterday I blogged about the necessity of listening to our bodies. Here's another thing we women can learn as we age: We can learn to love our bodies, no matter what shape or condition they're in.

Recently I saw a cartoon showing a slender woman looking in the mirror. The image staring back at her was that of a very large woman with bulges and extra weight. The next frame showed a very large, overweight man looking in the mirror; and what he saw was a well-sculpted, muscular young body. Now this is a bit sexist, perhaps, but there is some truth to it, too. We women never think our bodies are good enough. Men seem to have fewer issues with theirs.

As author Patricia Lynn Reilly says in Imagine a Woman in Love with Herself: Embracing Your Wisdom and Wholeness, "Most women scrutinize every detail of their bodies under an unmerciful magnifying glass. They inspect their bodies, searching for flaws: too big, too small; too much, too little; too round, too flat; too tall, too short. Over time, we develop a chronic resentment toward our bodies because they are always falling short of perfection as defined by the culture, our families, a current lover and ourselves. They are never quite good enough no matter what we do to them."

What if instead we honored our bodies "as the sacred temple of the spirit of life," as Reilly puts it? What if we are grateful for all the things our bodies have done for us through the years? Think of all your hands have done. Your legs and arms. Your neck. Your hips and chest. Every part has performed in amazing ways through the years. Let's be grateful for each part. And let's give some tender care to our bodies and maybe even learn to love them!

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