I recently was having a conversation about the way we perceive and treat our bodies. For many of us, perhaps especially as women, our concept of self seems to change over time along with our changing bodies. While many women struggle with this from a very early age, some of us who have never really been overly self-conscious before will suddenly start to feel like we are running out of time to get ourselves “into shape”. After we have children our bodies change, sometimes drastically, and there is some forgiveness there and yet there is still this need to get back “into shape.”
It seems as though the best attitude we can have in this process is really to get healthy, rather than to look better. Because the reality is that we will probably never be completely satisfied with the way we look as long as we are focusing so much on trying to look better. It seems as though our focus really ought to be on trying to feel better in our own bodies rather than comparing them to other people’s bodies or the bodies that we no longer have. The truth is that when we feel good we look good, and there are many women who prove this every day. There are plenty of women out there who are not skinny-as-a-rail and yet are considered GORGEOUS as well as there are many women who are insanely thin but are very unattractive because you can see on their face that they are unhappy inside. (This is OF COURSE a generalization and not all skinny women are unhappy while not all plus-size women are thrilled with themselves! But its something to be aware of when we judge ourselves or others based on appearance.)
I think that Marilyn Monroe is a great example for this though, she was insanely confident and it showed in her smiles and her body language. She was always present in her body and happy with herself even though she wasn’t the skinniest thing on two legs. She was soft and feminine and she was okay with that. Look at this picture and tell me that she’s not gorgeous! And then tell me this, if it were a picture of you, how concerned would you be about that fold in the belly?
I mentioned to my friend, who had moved around a lot ever since she was a child, that maybe her body could be her “home.” Maybe if we treated our bodies like the palace in which we want to play all day long and rest peacefully in at night, then we would make better choices for ourselves and feel better about the inner-space we were creating. I like this idea a lot and so does she, along with a few other people that she has shared it with, which is great.
It’s definitely a concept I want to return to, to think about how bathing and grooming can be like cleaning our house, making beds, putting everything back in order. I guess that makes cardiovascular exercises into DIY home renovations and surgery is like restorative reconstruction projects. So then Yoga, Meditation, and Energy Healing is like rearranging the furniture to fit in with Feng Shui-type principles. And choosing/preparing/eating food mindfully is like making home cooked meals that nourish the whole family. When we dance or skip or have a real good belly laugh, its like a party inside us, and when we cry its like we’re inspecting the house and acknowledging the parts of it that need more care and attention.