A little over a week ago I had a terrible 24 hours when I fell back into old, negative thinking patterns, ones that I thought I had risen above several years ago. You’re stomach sticks out too much, you’re fatter than you used to be, no one will like you because of your body, your shape isn’t right, your legs are chunky, your bottom is too big, your clothes don’t fit as well as they used to, you are disgusting. I told myself all of these things and more, they ran like a cycle over and over in my mind and I felt absolutely awful. I haven’t always had the best relationship with my body and I was plagued by low self-esteem in my earlier teen years. It is all too easy to be critical and mean and nasty and to not appreciate your body, trust me, I know.
Thankfully, I had the clarity after many hours of this kind of thinking and mental body-bashing to say some positive affirmations. I affirmed my body and cleared my mind of negative thoughts and perceptions. At the crux of my positive affirmations is “I accept and love my body unconditionally right now.” This is a powerful affirmation as it reminds me to love my body exactly how it is now. This doesn’t mean I don’t treat my body well or try to make it the healthiest version it can be, but I love it regardless of its size, shape, degree of bloating, colour or any other measure of beauty.
When you take a moment to consider your body, it becomes apparent just how incredible, amazing and complex a thing it is. Every single day your body undertakes thousand of unimaginable molecular processes just to keep you alive. The human body is so complex that despite years of research we are still yet to fully understand its intricacies. Sometimes you just need (and so do I) a little reminder the many reasons that your body is utterly and undoubtedly amazing!
1. Your body breathes
Every single second of every day your body is keeping you alive by taking in oxygen from the atmosphere and somewhat miraculously dissolving it into the blood and transporting it around to every single cell in your body. It does all of this without instruction and without conscious thought, it just does and will continue to do until the day you die. Pretty amazing, hey? The breath is used in meditation, tai chi, yoga and other spiritual practices because it is truly something special and amazing, plus it is always present so it is a good focus point for bringing your attention to the present moment. Your body’s ability to breathe is something to be mindful of, and slow deep breaths are a great way to bring you into the present and calm you down in any times of anxiety. Just. Breathe.
2. Your body moves
Whether you practice yoga, run, walk, swim, cycle, play a team sport, workout or even just get up out of bed every morning, the ability to move is solely thanks to the extensive system of muscles, ligaments and tendons in your body. Without your body you would literally just be an immobile thinking being. Movement and the joy of movement is a beautiful thing, and for those of you who have ever been restricted by pain of any kind you will know how much a lack of movement impacts upon your life. It doesn’t matter what size or shape your body is, it moves you everyday and allows you to adventure and explore and do magical things. Even just the simple movement of your mouth and voice box to form words is a gift from your body. And because your body can move, it SHOULD move, each and every day. Move in a way that makes you feel wonderful, energetic and free – no matter what that movement may be.
3. Your body digests food
Each and every mouthful of food that you ever eat is broken down to the most basic units of life by your body (more specifically, your digestive system). This is not an easy task, it takes time, energy and a careful followed sequence of steps to take that gorgeous green salad and break it down in the fats, carbohydrates and proteins that make up the human body. Your body, like breathing, does this without a conscious thought. It simply digests, as if doing so is the simplest thing in the world. Without your body’s ability to digest, you would never be able to absorb or make use of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that you consume, which would undoubtedly leave you in a much poorer state of health.
4. Your body stores energy reserves
Next time you grab the ‘fat’ around your hips, stomach or thighs and berate your body for holding onto such a “disgusting” substance, consider the fact that those love-handles could be your life source one day. Our body’s, being the incredibly well-designed and perfect machines that they are, store excess calories consumed as fat, so that one day when you do not have any food in your stomach or you need a source of energy it can come from these fat reserves. Fat is quite literally a protection mechanism from famines and times when food is lacking. In the modern world such famines rarely occur, but those fat stores are still handy when you are exercising to ensure you don’t start burning up precious muscle tissue. Fat has such negative connotations, we loathe fat as a society, but without fat you will quite simply fall over and die. Of course excess fat is never a good thing, but those little stores are essential for life, as are good fats in your diet.
5. Your body heals
Are you astounded that every time you cut or graze yourself that your body simply heals that wound? Is it not incredible that when billions of bacteria try to invade your body, your body fights back with epic force and returns you to good health? Does the ability of the human body, when provided with incredible nutrition, to fight cancer not amaze you? It amazes me, and it should amaze you too. If your body had not healing mechanisms or the abilities to fight off infections I doubt any human would survive more than a few weeks on Earth. Despite all of the risks and dangers and threats in the world, your body will continue to heal itself (as long as your nutrition is right). In doing so it keeps your body in the best state of health it possibly can and allows you to enjoy life to the fullest each and every day. You have your body to thank for the healing it undertakes, once again without your input or thought.
6. Your body is beautiful (no really, it is!)
Think about when you look at your friends and family. Do you mentally berate them for their flaws or notice all their little imperfections? Of course not! Instead you see all their best features, the natural beauty that radiates from within them and all the beautiful parts of their body. Well guess what, they see the same when they look at you! Every single body is different, but every body is equally beautiful. You may not conform to society’s beauty expectations, but you know what, who cares! You are beautiful and your body is beautiful, so next time you look in the mirror smile and let yourself see the beauty that is your body. Take a mental note of the things you like. This can be hard at first, but over time you will find your best features are the ones that shine back at you in your reflection.
7. Your body is strong
You might not be able to do one push-up, but your body is strong. It fights infection, it keeps you upright, it withstands the stresses, toxins and other harmful things that the modern world throws at it every day. Your body is strong in so many ways that it is often difficult for us to comprehend. All of those 600 or so muscles work to keep your body functioning, to make your body healthy and strong. Even in times of weakness, sickness and struggle, your body gives every thing it has, it fights like no one else will ever fight for you, just to keep you alive. You better be pretty grateful for that!
8. Your body is your home
Your body is the only home you will ever have, the only place you will live in for your whole life. So treat is accordingly. Keep your body tidy, do regular spring cleans, fill it with beautiful things, let in some natural light and maintain it in tip top shape. If you take care of your home, you will have a nice place to live for many, many years to come and everyday life will be much easier and more enjoyable in your beautiful, amazing home.
9. Your body is intuitive
Your body is smarter than you will ever, ever be (sorry, it’s true). Your body is so in tune with the Universe that if you listen to it carefully it will tell you everything you need to know. Your body has incredible mechanisms for letting you know when you are not nourishing it, it gives you hints. If you ignore those hints then it will hit you over the head with the truth, until finally you can’t ignore it. Disease and illness is your body’s way of telling you take a step back, nourish and give it a chance to heal. Disease is a blessing in disguise, because it lets you know exactly what you need to do. Listen to your body. Trust your intuition. Let your body guide you in life.
10. Your body is totally unique
You are the only person on the planet and in fact in the whole Universe who has ever and who will ever be inside your body. Your body is yours to keep and yours to cherish and no one else will ever get the chance to experience life inside your body. Isn’t that amazing? Your body, just like you, is completely and utterly unique and special. And things that are as rare as your body should be celebrated, cherished and admired each and every day, because their existence is simply awe-inspiring.
Love your body, it is truly awesome!
I challenge you to write down three things you love about your body/three reasons why it is awesome. Go!
Keep healthy, happy and body loving,