Spurned, rebuffed, shunned, snubbed, rejected and ignored.
We have collectively learned to hold our bodies in contempt, and many of us are destroying ourselves with self-criticism. We so want to be someone or something that we are not, that we cannot see the wonder of who and what we are.
The opinions, criticisms and insults against our bodies (and others’!) flow freely through our minds in a daily, hourly, sometimes non-stop barrage of negative thoughts, most of them untrue.
And the only way we can turn this around, if we really want to, is by engaging in a committed barrage of new thoughts about our bodies, even if they are not initially thoughts of love or even acceptance. A practice of looking at ourselves the way we really are, repeatedly and objectively, can in time turn the tides to silence the oh-too-easy analysis of our endless faults.
We don’t evaluate others as harshly as we do ourselves. If you have had the opportunity to care for a baby, a kitten or a puppy you have probably spent hours marvelling at how adorable they are and what amazing things they can do as they learn to use their bodies. Imagine if we saw our own bodies in that light, even at 30, 50 or 70 years old? Those who have lost the use of a limb or have undergone treatments for serious illnesses are more likely to be grateful for the things their bodies can do than someone who is healthy. We need to re-learn curiosity and appreciation of the many little things a body can do, and we can.
Drawing is an incredible tool for learning to see differently. You don’t have to have talent or technical ability to use this tool, it can be as simple as tracing a photograph or free handing a stick-like figure. It’s the process of looking, slowly, at something you see every day from a new angle in order to really see it. It’s quite the opposite of a quick form-check in the mirror where you usually find something to “fix”. Our bodies don’t need to be fixed, they are screaming to simply be honored.
See here for a quick intro to drawing/tracing the body.
If you want help exploring this process, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org