This blog post is an excerpt from my free Ebook "Shaping a New Body Narrative" which goes along with my recently released 14-day online meditation program: Body Connect.
Body love is one of the great human challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. Are you in?
It’s not complicated or inherently difficult to cultivate a positive relationship with the body, but because there are not many structures, role models, or tools available for body love in today’s world, it’s very easy to fall into patterns of thinking and living that put us at odds with ourselves.
One of the first steps to clearing the way for body love is acknowledging that how you relate to your body is not up to anybody else. What your body should look like or feel like is not up to anybody else. Others’ opinions of your body are not worth more than your relationship with yourself. Society’s ideas about the body are optional. You can subscribe to them, or you can reject them, drawing from other times and cultures and/or forming your own.
Many of the messages and ideas that surround us pit the mind and the body against each other. The mind’s beliefs about how the body should look or feel can lead to a sense of hostility toward the body, and discomfort, anxiety, sadness, or pain in the body can seem like grievances to the mind. This leads to a sense of having a fractured self. It doesn’t have to be like that. The powers of the mind can be applied to support and care for the body, and the actions of the body can support clarity and peace of mind.
The narratives we have today are more likely to point you toward body anxiety than body love. Sadly enough, in today's world, loving and caring for your body is somewhat radical. It is not nurtured in physical education, it is not discussed in doctor’s offices, it is not reflected in the vast majority of advertising, and it is not highly valued in government or commercial contexts. My vision is for us to change this—to work together to make body love not radical and rare, but commonplace and common sense.
I won’t tell you what to do or how to love your body. I think you already have great, creative ideas for that. I’ll simply lay out a few questions you can ask yourself that can support the process of cultivating body love.
You don’t have to have answers on the tip of your tongue. Simply asking begins a process of transformation.
Interested in how meditation can support body awareness? Check out the 14-day online meditation program "Body Connect."