Years ago I hated what I saw in the mirror. I would criticize all aspects of my body. For a time, I avoided mirrors, so I wouldn’t have to deal with something I didn’t like.
I remember one of the bathrooms I shared in college had a mirror at the end of the shower, and so daily I was confronted with my naked self. And daily I’d have visions of cutting off the roundness of my belly so it would be flat. Once it was flat, then I would like myself.
The reality at the time was that my belly was flat. It was probably flatter than it is today! I didn’t see it though, and so I did everything in my power to change what I thought was unattractive and unacceptable. Endless crunches and sit-ups. Restricting my calories. And purging after a binge. Those actions kept my belly flat, but I still couldn’t see it. Regardless of what I did, I didn’t like the way my body looked, or the person associated with it. She was also unattractive and unacceptable.
The other night I was checking out my bum in the mirror. It was curvy, with a slight saddlebag effect setting in. Those saddlebags would’ve been the bain of my existence years ago. I would’ve run more miles, done extra sets of squats and lunges. I would’ve worked my body so hard, until I was connected with my body through pain. Only then could I respect my body. There was no love.
This time it was different. The glimpse of my bum, the curves of my belly and the rest of my body, the frizz of my hair… instead of repulsing me, I was drawn to what I saw. I looked closer. Not with criticism, but with acceptance.
And I realized this…
…I like the body that I have.
…Not only that, I like the person that I am.
…I actually believe her body is amazing.
…I also believe she is amazing.
I experienced a moment that I can only describe as love.
Before now, I’ve found it hard to say ‘I love you’ to me. The concept of self-love always seemed a bit abstract and slightly vain.
The fact that I liked what I saw in the mirror is not about vanity. It is about love. It’s about getting to a place where I can say that I love myself, for me, for who I am as a person. [Tweet “Loving and liking my body is a result of loving me. It’s not a pre-requisite.”]
I love me for my commitment to myself. That I don’t give up when things get tough. I love me for having grace for myself and others. I love me for not being perfect. I love me for the work I’ve done and still have to do.
And so, I love the body that I live in.