I am currently reading Paulo Coelhos pilgrimage and something stood out for me; there is an exercise during his pilgrimage he had to perform. Every time he was cruel to himself i.e. had a negative thought about himself he was to inflict pain on his body. What this did was condition him to physically feel the pain he was causing himself every time he had a bad thought about himself and therefore the negative thoughts diminished.
My body is something I haven’t always gotten along with, I was conscious about how big my calves were, how broad my shoulders appeared, the stretchmarks on my bum and thighs… and it went on. But I think self-acceptance comes along with maturity, when you realise this is your body, it is the only one you will have and you start seeing the beauty in it. You start appreciating the size of your lips, or the curve of your back or how cute your chubby feet are.
The older I get, the more I try and distance myself from being influenced by the worlds expectations of my body, and I create my own. Earlier this week, I did something I would have otherwise never done, I was a model for a photographer friend of mine (Liz)*. When she first asked me to model my first reaction was, “I can try but I’m sorry I am not skinny enough”. Firstly why did I feel the need to apologize for the way I look… I chose to look this way, if I wanted to be thinner I would have joined a damn gym but I hadn’t. The next week before the shoot I spent time in front of the mirror practicing poses (super embarrassing that I am admitting this), and just had A LOT of time to look at my body and appreciate all the good in it.
Being photographed is a strange thing, it makes you aware of every part of your body, and in a way forced me to let go of some insecurities I had… and the minute I did that I felt great. My calves were no longer oversized, but they were strong and steady, my shoulders majestic and my stretch marks… well to be honest I didn’t even think of those. Your body becomes a work of art, skilfully crafted by God and all of a sudden I wanted to express the love I felt inside and It showed by how I started moving… Liz became so delighted.
We need to learn to stop being cruel to our bodies. They carry us daily, they bear memories, scars, victories. Besides our hearts, we should also guard our bodies and once in a while remind ourselves that we are art.