Imagine if your body was a person. Let’s separate her from you and give her a name for a minute. A nice name, because she is a nice person. I’ll call her Jamie.
How do you talk about your friend Jamie? How do you think about her? When you see her, what do you think in your mind? Is it kind? Is it critical? Is it mean? Do you ignore Jamie? Do you pay as a little attention to her as possible? What is your relationship with Jamie like?
Jamie is just minding her own business. She has a job to do. You give her fuel and she has to do something with it. If you give her too much, she decides to store it. If you give her too little, she figures it out. Sometimes you give her fuel that is poor. She finds ways to use it anyway. Sometimes you give her fuel that is good. She knows what to do with that too.
When you push too hard, she tells you to rest. When you are sick, she knows exactly what to do to slow you down. When you are injured, SHE HEALS YOU. When you exercise and work your muscles, Jamie knows how to fix them and make them stronger. Jamie is constantly working hard for you. It’s a thankless job.
Jamie does all this work, and we might see her and say:
You’re fat. You’re ugly.
You have cellulite, and it’s gross.
You’re too big.
Look at those rolls and dimpled legs. Ew.
Why can’t you be different?
What’s wrong with you?
Because of you I can’t have what I want.
If you were thin I could be happy.
Ugh. You’re the worst.
How can anyone find you attractive?
Poor Jamie. Jamie is innocent. Jamie doesn’t hate you. She’s not against you. She does the best she can with what you dish out to her. She just keeps going despite the way your treat her.
It’s time to improve your relationship with Jamie. It’s time to start treating her better. Stop abusing her and start showing her love.
Smile at her when you see her. Wink and tell her she’s cute. Tell her when she looks good. Love her exactly as she is. Just like your other friends. You love them exactly as they are. They don’t need to change to be worthy of love and either does Jamie.
Thank her for her hard work and all that’s she’s put up with from you in the past. Ask her to forgive you because you were confused. You thought if you were hard on her, she would be better but it only made you both feel terrible and hopeless.
Start loving on her. Better your relationship with her. Treat her better. Give her food that is easier to handle. Don’t make her sick. Ask her what she wants and needs. Talk to her like you would an old friend.
Try seeing your body as someone—a person— you love, then inch your way toward realizing Jamie is really you. You are one and the same.
Wink at you. Love you. Take care of you. See yourself in the mirror and say, “Hey, cutie! I see you! Thanks for carrying me around today and being there for me. You’re amazing.”
And if you want to change your body, you totally can. Because it turns out you don’t have to hate it to want to work on it. You can change it just because you want to. You can be curious about what’s possible for you and operate from there. You can want to experiment. You can love you and still want to change your body. Love and/or curiosity is far more useful to work from than hate.
You thought being hard on you and critical of your body would change it, and then you could love it. But you were wrong about that. You got it backward.
Love you/your body first, then the change will come. Abusing yourself there is unnecessary and counterproductive. Love is the way, I promise.