For the majority of my life, my relationship with my body has been pretty unhealthy and a long way from respectful. I still get caught in the trap of looking at myself in the mirror, wishing I had smoother skin, a flatter tummy and nicer hair. I look at other women in the street or on social media and I tell myself that I’m not as attractive, toned or beautiful as them. I feed these toxic thoughts into my subconscious whilst still expecting this body to serve me unconditionally, and never falter.
For so long, I took for granted that my body would never fail me. It was mine to take for granted, neglect and abuse at my leisure. Poor diet, drinking too much and generally pushing it beyond its limits were commonplace. It took my body almost shutting down on me 18 months ago for me to stop and take notice of so many of the things I’d been taking for granted.
My body went from high functioning, somehow running on crappy fuel and little rest to grinding to a halt. This vehicle of mine that I relied on every day, was suddenly non-compliant. I didn’t know what I would get each morning, or even how I would get through each night. The vehicle I knew and depended on had been stripped from me.
As many of you would have read in my other blog Why I am grateful for my autoimmune flare up, this was the beginning of my changed approach to how I viewed my body. I was forced to slow down, learn to rest, tune in and then act on what my body needed.
I learnt gratitude for my body through this process. I learnt that being able to walk around the block with my kids is a privilege and I never appreciated it (until I couldn’t do it). I learnt through having my hair fall out in clumps, that having a full mane of hair is a gift. I learnt that being able to sleep peacefully and without pain is not something to be taken lightly.
With this newfound gratitude and awe, I started to view my body differently. I was able to feel amazement and wonder that it carried our three beautiful children and nourished them for the first part of their lives. I love this body that allows me to move, dance, run and play with them. I can express myself through this beautiful vehicle.
I recently stepped way outside my comfort zone and signed up for a boudoir photo shoot. The premise behind the shoot for me is about loving the skin I’m in and celebrating every part of myself. It was an incredible experience to see myself at my most vulnerable, leaning into this idea of acceptance and loving what I see.
I think we can all benefit from a little introspection about the relationship we have with our bodies. There is so much to be grateful for, but I understand how we can easily get caught in the societal and media stories about what our bodies should be.
What gratitude do you have for your body?
I’d love to hear from you.
Live, Love and Laugh,