My body is a container
I’ve been working a lot on my body image lately. It sort of comes with overcoming an eating disorder. Sure I did little exercises as a teenager to better my self image –positive notes to myself posted on my mirror, quotes about inner beauty on my walls… But I never had to actively change my whole perspective on self love and body image. As far as body image was concerned, I think I was a pretty normal teenager. I had insecurities but in the end I still deep down felt I was beautiful. I had a strong foundation in what I believed beauty to be –kindness, courage, heart… Qualities from within.
I don’t know when I forgot what beauty was. Or how my deep rooted beliefs about beauty were torn up. But somewhere down the line I stopped feeling beautiful. I thought my body dictated beauty. Once I believed that I began to believe weight and size determined my value as a person. I was constantly worried about what others would think about my weight.
I have by no means overcome all these issues. But I’ve made progress. It’s a lot of hard work. It’s not enough to just listen to an inspiring message about how beauty comes from within. That kind of thing worked when I was a teen, but not now.
I do a lot of exercises to help re-model my perspective on beauty and my body. It involves a lot of refocusing my thoughts from physical attributes to the attributes that matter –my character, my values, my talents. And focusing on what my body can do for me, instead of what it looks like.
One of my favorite exercises I’ve done thus far is a little art project I call “my body is a container.”
I drew an outline of my body. Doesn’t have to be accurate or anything. Then I drew pictures inside the outline that represent things that I can enjoy, do, and accomplish with my body. Things that make me who I am. Basically, it can be anything. Hobbies, things I find beautiful, things I like to do, things I’m good at…
The idea is to show yourself that your body is a container. It’s a vessel for all the things you do and enjoy on a daily basis. It’s a tool used for doing good and achieving goals. It’s a tool for enjoying the beauty in the world that surrounds you.
I put my heart into this project. I’m not a great artist, but I wanted to make something I could look at often and remember that my value is about what my body can help me do, not about my body all on its own.
Our bodies are glorious gifts created to work hard, to take in the world around us, to hold inside all the things that make us valuable –our emotions, our thoughts, our desires, our love… Everything we truly are.
My body is a container. And I’m just beginning to learn that.