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Love Your Body Day

October 10, 2011
by

Next Wednesday, October 19th, is Love Your Body Day.

Think about it. We need a day to promote loving our bodies.

Which in turn means that most of us spend most of our time, hating our bodies.

Which in most cases is a result of other people not loving our bodies.

Let’s take this step by step.

As babies we have no self-consciousness. We spend our gestation period in symbiotic bliss: floating around safe, secure, no responsibilities and not separating our bodies from our mommy’s bodies. In fact, we probably have no awareness that we even have a body.

Suddenly, we are thrust into the world, umbilical cord cut, and — Voilà! — if we are not born with any physical disabilities, we have autonomously functioning hearts, lungs and brains.

As we get older, we begin to master the art of integrating our bodily functions. Through the work of play, and instinctual trial and error, we practice our eye-hand coordination, gross and fine motor skills, and the ability to translate brain impulses into action. Eventually, we acquire a palette of ways to communicate.

How remarkable we are during those formative years! We are still not self-conscious. We are simply learning what we need to know in order to operate in this great, wide, wonderful world; a world that, each time we awake from our slumber, is miraculously still there for us to learn more about.

Think about it: for a period of time, all of us are integrated beings with our minds and bodies a single entity. The mind isn’t saying, “I hate my hands for not picking up that shiny thing,” or “I hate my nose for sneezing.”

Then there is a “fall from grace,” an awakening, a jolt that splits us in two. Someone comments that something is wrong with our body, or mentions that someone else’s body is wrong, and we are catapulted into a cognitive split. Now there are two entities instead of one; our mind and our body.

Our body is no longer our self. It is a “that” or an “it.” It has become the enemy. In this corner: my critical, judgmental mind versus my wonderful, functioning, but somehow wrong body. Once we step into that world, turning back is extraordinarily difficult. Once in that world, we learn an entire language devoted to perpetuating that split.

“I hate my body, I hate my stomach, I hate my arms, I hate her because she looks better than I do, I hate myself, I hate me me me.”

We adopt a repertoire of what we believe are positive coping mechanisms because on some level we know it is unnatural to hate ourselves so vehemently. It is against our nature on a primal level. We start to eat differently, exercise differently, and perceive ourselves differently because we crave self-love and wholeness, but by now we believe the only way to regain that sense of wholeness is to be thin.

So how do we regain our natural state of grace? How do we heal the fracture that has us spending our days at war with ourselves? How do we fall back in love, and reunite our mind and body?

Perhaps it starts with consciously delegating a day devoted to that task; a day where we hush up our mind’s negative litany. A day where we put limits on other people who speak disparagingly about our bodies and their own bodies. Maybe we start with one day where we remember what is right about our bodies and our lives, and languish in how good it feels to be at peace from within.

In Dr. Deah’s Hollywood, every day is Love Your Body Day, but, even better, every day is Love MY Body Day… that covers how I feel about my body AND how everyone else feels about my body. Words are great like that! ;-)

But hey, let’s take it one step further… it’s my Hollywood after all!  How about every day we love and respect ourselves and each other without a person’s BODY having anything to do with it? Take the body out of the equation completely and you just have LOVE.

Wow, that’s radical. A world where people can love me for what I do and what I think, and not what I look like?

Hmmm, while we are waiting for that idea to take off, let’s start with October 19th and celebrate Love Your Body Day. It couldn’t hurt.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. October 10, 2011 10:59 am

    What an awesome post! Thanks for pointing out that the very existence of Love Your Body Day is a testament to the dysfunctional nature of our culture.

    And this quote: “Which in most cases is a result of other people not loving our bodies.” I was just thinking about something similar this weekend: I’ve never really hated my own body, but I’ve always been acutely aware that other people may be disgusted by my body in particular contexts, which makes me more self-conscious than I otherwise am. An example is when we went to Holiday World and I felt funny taking my shirt off. Really, I have no problem with it, but knowing that others might judge me or snicker or talk about me made it more difficult.

    So much of how we feel about ourselves is based on how we believe others feel about us. How much happier we would all be if we could just not give a fuck.

    Thanks Deah!

    Peace,
    Shannon

    • October 10, 2011 1:02 pm

      N.G.A.F. Day!!! Woo Hoo!!! Starting today in a neighborhood where you live and continuing daily until forever! I love it Shannon!

  2. October 10, 2011 12:57 pm

    Excellent writing here. I am totally celebrating love my body day, and also celebrating my loved one’s awesome bodies.

    • October 10, 2011 1:03 pm

      Right there with you Ashley! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. October 11, 2011 12:00 pm

    I really do struggle with this dysfunctional thinking. I became despondent when I started developing hips and could no longer wear size 9 boys’ jeans when I hit puberty. I was terrified of becoming “fat.” I started sticking my finger down my throat at age 13, when I hit 116 pounds. I was horrified at weighing over 100 pounds. I thought myself grossly fat because I now wore a size 1 women’s pants.
    Ever since I hit puberty, I have hated my body. And it is not easy to get over thinking this way.

    • October 11, 2011 12:20 pm

      And why wouldn’t you have difficulty NOT thinking that way? EVERY where you turn, you are being force fed the message of self-hate if you are NOT a size 1. Imagine if every time you turned on a T.V. or opened a magazine, or watched a movie, you saw people. Not fat people, not thin people, not dead people…(o.k. I just had to say that because of the movie line)…but you saw a wide variety of people, of all sizes, sexy, smart, stupid, funny, rich, poor, annoying, successful people of all sizes, then do you really think we would all be striving to live up to a standard of thinness that wasn’t being idolized everywhere we look? They sell us dissatisfaction with our bodies and then try to sell us the solution…which is to attain a goal that for most of us is unattainable. It isn’t easy, but deciding on your own personal goal of comfort, health and beauty without external demands, is really quite liberating. I really appreciate what your wrote, and thank you for reading my blog!
      Warmly, Dr. Deah

  4. October 11, 2011 2:05 pm

    Thank you for reminding me to think about this.

    I think that in order to heal the split you identify and write about so well, Dr. Deah, it’s necessary for me to think about that split in my own life and herstory, and acknowledge those split thoughts and feelings. For me, I think it began with hearing criticism about my mother’s body size, from her and from others. From hearing criticism about body size in general, and knowing she and my father were trying to lose weight. Then came my doctor’s criticism of my body size. I was stunned, especially given I thought I was thin and therefore “ok” (and in fact, by anyone but his perspective, I was.) He told me I had gained 10 lbs., but no height since the previous annual checkup, and that if I “didn’t stop gaining weight this way,” I would be “a blimp by the time (I) was 30.” I felt devastated, in pain, embarrassed. He then prescribed eating 1000 kcals/day, and I began the war against my appetite. So there was me, the internal me, and the outside (bad/unattractive/embarrassing) me that I no longer felt good about. I guess that is where the split really began in earnest. Just sitting here writing and thinking about it brings me back to “being” in my body the way I was and felt that day, after the doctor’s comments, feelings and a way of being in my body so painful to revisit, I’m realizing I haven’t in perhaps decades.

    I think it is very important in general that in the size acceptance movement that we be in the pain and not try to “celebrate” our bodies by denying how we really feel. I seem to see more of what seems to be denying or glossing over the pain, discomfort, and alienation, in an attempt to try to feel good about ourselves, but it doesn’t work that way. The only way out is through. Much to think about and feel now, here. Thanks, Deah. I have been instigating Love Your Body Day events for a few years now, but this is helping me get clearer that it can really be encouraging denial of how one feels about one’s body. “Love Your Body Day” has always felt a bit off to me. I think this requires sitting with the feelings of body hatred and working through them without veering into “body fixing” projects, if one is to arrive at a place of feeling good in one’s body as it is right now.

    It would be helpful if Love Your Body Day activists, myself included, would come up with a list of suggestions for becoming more aware of how one really feels about one’s body, and where the split began, as you discuss here. Going to think about this one. Thanks, Deah.

  5. October 20, 2011 11:00 am

    Alice I couldn’t agree with you more, And I’ll think about your suggestion. In my other love your body day post, http://www.leftoverstogo.com/2011/10/17/words-of-love/
    but I briefly mention what seems so obvious but so elusive…which is without our bodies…we’d be…well…dead! Do we need any other reason to love our bodies? How insanely self-destructive is a society that actually peddles the notion that we should hate our selves when it us ourselves that make up the society? If I didn’t know it was true, I’d say it was some combination of a David Lynch and Fellini movie! Anyway, I really appreciate your comment. Deah

    • November 2, 2011 5:17 am

      Hi Dr. Deah, thanks for your reply. So true that without our bodies we’d be dead! What a bizarre splitting all this body criticism causes, as if there can ever really be such a thing as an “internal” self vs. an “external” self. It is simply a product of the mind, to cope with such things as body criticism.

      Also, since writing the above post, I’ve been sitting more with how I really feel about my size, which is not a lot of fun. Quite painful, in fact. But it also feels honest and healing. I would like to see more open conversation about how size acceptance activists really feel about our bodies. Thanks again, Deah.

Trackbacks

  1. How I learned to love ME and my body!
  2. Yesterday Was Love Your Body Day…Do You?

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