When you feel far from being even mildly enchanted with your physical form, it seems impossible to feel grateful for it, and that's understandable. We can't so much as step on a subway platform without being hit by the mental blowtorch of unrealistic, constructed, societal beauty — let alone interacting and then adopting the fears and worries and irrational beliefs of everyone who is also scarred and shaped by it. When what you see doesn't make you feel beautiful, and you know that feeling beautiful makes you feel happy, it seems impossible that anything could change or fix that.
Yet, the kind of "beauty" and "happiness" we think we're seeking is actually indicative of a far more sinister sense of lack. I guess that's über cliché, but we don't actually want to look beautiful — we want to feel loved, and we don't necessarily want to be loved by others, all of that is just a supplement of wanting to be seen and loved by ourselves (but we just don't know how to do that yet). There's nothing wrong with struggling with any of this. All of these things are bits and pieces of becoming, they're the ins-and-outs of growing up and finding yourself and choosing yourself. There's nothing wrong with any of it (except for, perhaps, the relentless promotion of ideal beauty, but that's a topic for a later date).
You do not have to be a body positive activist to begin to start appreciating your body in the simple ways. You don't have to be totally sold on the idea that you'll ever love your body to begin to make peace with it. There are a million reasons to be grateful to your body, even if you don't feel like you love it just yet. Here are a few:
It's The First Thing The World Gave You To Protect
And like it protects you, even sometimes through feelings you'd rather not experience, you should be grateful that all those little clusters of stars and generations of love created exactly who you are.
It's Your Home
It is the first and last place you will ever live. It is the thing you go to bed with every night and wake up to every morning. You have to care for it, clean it, and decorate it as you like. It is as much your home as any other is.
It Lets You Do The Things You Love The Most
You have hands with which you can write, and eyes with which you can see, and arms with which you can hug. It is what facilitates you being able to do your absolute most favorite things.
If nothing else gives you hope, watch the way your body recovers from illness after illness, bruise after bruise, situation after situation. Self-healing is our most natural way of being — it's just stepping out of the way of it that's usually an issue.
It's The Only One Of Its Kind
Whether you love that fact or not, there's not one exactly, perfectly like it in the whole universe (uh, that we know of). But carry on with me, for the sake of body love and hope...
It Loves You Even When You Don't Love It
It will still tell you that you're hungry even when you don't want to eat. It will still make you cry even when you're too proud to show it. It will still tell you you're in love even when you want to deny it. It will love you more than you love it, no matter what.
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