You and Your Body; Can You Be Friends?
Are you friends with your body? Do you love it? Do you hate it? Do you show it affection? Are you obsessed with it?
Society tells us that we should look a certain way, that we need to fit into a particular mould, that our worth comes when we fit that mould. It’s no wonder then that many of us have a complicated relationship with our bodies. My own relationship has been a long and hard one. After being given the nickname ‘sparrowlegs’ at school, there have been many points in my life where I disliked my body, despite what it did for me. Purely based on what it looked like. Only now in my 40’s do I feel more at peace with the skin that I’m in.
The question is, do we need to be friends with our body? My answer is ‘hell yes!!’ We live and breathe in our bodies for our whole lives, our relationship with our body is the longest (and in my eyes the most important) that we will ever have.
If you are ready to be friends with your body then here are some top tips for you….
-Stop comparing yourself to others. Your body is unique to YOU. There is no right or wrong body to be in so learn to just BE in yours. In the words of a very wise man – Oscar Wilde – ‘Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.’
-Think about the way that you talk to yourself. Buddha once said ‘Rule your mind or it will rule you’. Our thoughts hold so much power over how we perceive things – including how we feel and what we think about our bodies i.e our body image. Always think ‘would I say this to a friend?’ before you speak unkindly to yourself.
-Move your body and make sure you enjoy it! One of the things that we can do for our body is to keep it moving BUT it doesn’t have to be boring and it doesn’t just mean going to the gym. Try taking a walk, having a kitchen disco and even doing the housework counts!
– Nourish your body but try not to restrict what you eat. The more you look after your body, the better you will feel about it. However, bear in mind that there is no such thing as good or bad food, aim for balance.
– Remind yourself often how amazing your body is – your body is an instrument and not an ornament. It allows you to walk from A to B. It allows you to hug your loved ones (when we aren’t in a national lockdown of course, but let’s not talk about that!) It allows you to breathe the air around you.
Lastly, two compelling (I hope) reasons to love (and if that’s a step too far) then to at least like, the body that you are in. Firstly, because life is too short to dislike the vessel that you live in. Secondly, it keeps you alive.
Try and be friends with your body, it deserves that. And remember, you are worthy, you are beautiful and you are MORE than enough.
Anupa Roper is a children’s author and body image educator. She hopes to support the future generations to be happy in their own skin and accept others in theirs. As a former primary school teacher and someone who struggled with her own body image for over two decades, she is now on a mission to empower the young to have a positive body image. Despite her own struggles with self esteem and low confidence, adversity and her passion for the subject has led to her mission.