(Image from: korinakaycarlson.blogspot.com)
Our culture gives us so many ideas of how we're supposed to be: look a certain way, act a certain way, make a certain amount of money. Of course our bodies bear the brunt of that as well, and we can drive ourselves crazy constantly analyzing whether or not they are fitting the mold the way they 'should' be. I've worked with many clients who are genuinely in pain around that question, always feeling like they don't measure up.
I reached a crossroads in my own life not long ago of feeling like I'd had it with the constantly critical voices in my head, badgering me and telling me what I needed to be like or look like. I realized I was never going to get to loving my body except by choosing to be loving right now. There was no amount of change that was ever going to free me from the negative feelings except deciding to no longer let them in, to be accountable and compassionate to my body and love it right now.
In a sense, that moment was about choosing love for its own sake--not because it makes sense, or because the world (or your body) has proven something to you, given you your dream, but because love itself is a better state of being to be in than hate, loathing and fear. And love, compassion, self-care, kindness beget more of the same. Choosing love meant my life got to change right now. And it was up to me, not anything outside of me. Learning to love my body meant that I could make choices that were healthy out of love and not out of judgment or fear.
I realize now, years later, that this work about the body has really been work about life, too. We are about to enter a season--that sparkling holiday time--when many people choose to be giving, loving, and compassionate just because. I walked into an office I do corporate work with recently and saw a pile of toys practically up to the ceiling for their holiday toy drive. My husband spent last Friday evening with a local charity packing up boxes and boxes of food to be given out over the holidays.
The question that always seems to linger after the holidays is 'why don't we do this all the time?' What would it take to be that kind, that generous, that compassionate even when it's not 'the most wonderful time of the year'? Do we need a reason?
Marci Shimoff wrote a great book called Happy For No Reason and followed it up with another book called Love For No Reason, in which she argues for the benefits of choosing love. Love feels better. Love increases our energy and vitality rather than decreasing it. Love gives to the world rather than deciding it's not enough.
I ask you this holiday season to consider how you might choose love in your body relationship not based on weight or fitness goals but just because it feels better to be in love. Then see if you can make that your New Year's resolution, and not just a number on a scale. What would it be like if you chose to live this year in love and compassion for all your body does? How would your body feel if you finally--without needing a reason or season--chose love? And isn't that what we've all been waiting for, to know that we're loved just as we are right now?