3 Mantras For Loving Your Body
Updated: Jan 15, 2021
This post was originally written for and published on https://www.thekindredvoice.com/. The Kindred Voice is a magazine, website, and social media presence that provides a safe space for women to normalize their experiences without judgement.
The longest relationship you’ll ever have is with your body. It’s yours from conception. For better or worse, in sickness and in health, you’re committed to each other till death do you part.
You probably recognize these common wedding vows, but you’ve probably never considered making them with your own body; to love your form unconditionally through life’s ups and down.
But what if you did? What if you treated your body like the most important relationship in your life? What if you viewed it as a partnership that requires understanding, nurturing, and forgiveness?
Much like a marriage, your relationship with your body requires thought and effort. Especially since, unlike a marriage, you didn’t choose your body and there is no option for separation if the love fades.
You’ll have to work at growing together. You’ll have to accept that sometimes your body has a mind of its own. You’ll have to let go of the illusion that you control your body.
I’ve come to understand this more and more in the last few years as my body and I faced pregnancy, preterm labor, postpartum, and breast cancer together. These experiences seem so basic written as words, but they created deep, tender wounds that took months, going on years, to heal.
Although my body is literally a part of me, I lost a sense of connectedness to it during these experiences. It was making choices without my permission; reacting in ways I didn’t approve of; and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t change certain outcomes. But I also couldn’t move forward without it.
Fighting against my own body only created an unstable and resentful situation which held me back from any progress. So rather than coexisting in an unproductive relationship of criticism, doubt, and animosity, I decided to make those ceremonial vows to my body just as if it were another person.
And much like my human relationships, I focused on ways to strengthen this bond especially during the lows of life when unity is truly tested. In order to make it through these rough patches, I developed three mantras to keep in mind for when I struggle with my body. I hope by sharing them, you can apply these messages to your own mind-body relationship.
Here are 3 mantras for loving your body:
1.) WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER
There’s no denying that you’re forever united, and sometimes this can be frustrating. Maybe your body gets sick the week you planned a big event. Or that natural child birth plan goes out the window because your body isn’t cooperating. But your body will also rise to the occasion for you too; it will survive the college years of drinking, the lack of exercise at your desk-job, and the roller-coaster of weight gain and loss. Your relationship is a give and take. Your acceptance of this is pivotal for a lasting partnership.
2.) I WILL DO MY BEST TO SUPPORT YOU
As in any relationship, it takes two to tango. Will you be perfect? No. Will your body be perfect? No. But to reach your potential, you have to take responsibility for your part of the deal. Your actions matter to your body, and although it can’t talk back, it will tell you, even if subtly, that there’s an issue. Make sure you’re listening. It’s also not fair to blame your body if you’re not putting in your best effort. This doesn’t mean perfection, but it does require honesty and self-awareness.
3.) I FORGIVE YOU
Your body will disappoint you. It will break your trust. It may even betray you. At times you will hate it. You’ll wish you could have someone else’s body. When you experience situations like trauma, pain, and uncertainty with your body, these feelings are only natural. What’s important is to forgive. This may take time and even professional help, but it’s worth it to avoid long-lasting anger and resentment.
Your body may not be another person, but it will be with you for a lifetime. It will carry you forward even when your mind says you can’t take another step; it will function even when you don’t like what you see in the mirror; it will be your true partner in life. Maybe your body won’t be everything you want or need, but it’s all you have. Be thankful for it. Honor it. Make a vow to love your body. It will do its best to love you back.