When I first started working with women in the body image space, I was really hesitant to say things like, love your body and fall in love with your body. I wasn't even sure if I should name my Facebook group Body Love Club.
This is because loving our bodies 100% of the time seems pretty daunting and unattainable, even for someone who’s spent a lot of time and energy on improving her body image. When I was in the thick of my own body-shaming, the thought of loving every physical feature seemed totally ridiculous (and scary).
To be clear: I’m not saying it’s impossible to love every part of yourself, but I think it’s safe to assume most of us - at some point - have felt less-than-crazy about a particular body part, and when the bar is set to love our bodies all the time, it feels pretty unattainable.
But there’s an important distinction here:
Accepting our bodies as they are is a form of loving our bodies.
Falling in love with your body doesn’t mean you literally love your body all day every day. It means it’s possible to treat your body with love and kindness and respect, even when you’re not crazy about a particular body part or even your thoughts or actions.
Think about someone you love. Maybe it’s your partner, friend, parent, sibling or other family member. You love that person, but there are probably days when he or she really irritates you, or you two get in a fight and say things you don’t really mean. Or maybe you feel like you’re disconnected at times.
The love for that person is still there, but the relationship isn’t about being so full of love and joy every waking moment. That’s just not realistic. Similarly, falling in love with our bodies isn’t about being in love with our hair or stomach or butt all the time. That’s also reeaaaally unrealistic. We all have our moments!
There’s no ‘perfection’ when it comes to improving body image. Rather, practicing body love is about treating our bodies with kindness and respect as often as we can, and simply doing our best.
How does that feel to you?