To the Girl Who Doesn’t Like Her Body
I got a text from a 12 year old girl who is one of the most compassionate, generous, considerate people I have ever met.
She has gorgeous brown eyes, the loveliest curls a girl could ever ask for, and the physical strength of a true warrior. She plays a mean game of soccer, devotes her free time to nurturing abandoned cats, and babysits her little nephew with joy in her heart.
She’s an excellent student, and has the kind of manners that you don’t often run into these days (in kids or adults).
This girl is a treat to meet.
And she’s breaking my heart, because she wants to be skinny.
She weighs more than most others her age, and she is not comfortable with that. She doesn’t know what’s wrong with her, and is desperate to change it.
Here’s what I want that 12 year old girl to know, and anyone else who is unhappy with their body:
Lots of skinny girls don’t like their bodies either. Skinny isn’t the answer. A different anything isn’t the answer. You’ll just find something else to not like about yourself (or your life) if you change your weight without changing how you feel about yourself.
Weighing less doesn’t necessarily mean you will be healthier or have a better social life.
What you really want is to feel good about yourself and your body; to love and be loved.
The best way to like your body is to practice now, in the body you’ve got today. Practice liking your body. (It’s not as hard as you think it is. And seriously, if you can trim the nails of an angry squirming cat, you can do anything, girlfriend.)
Loving your body will transform it and you.
The way to practice body love is to simply start treating yourself – in thought and action – the way you would treat someone you love. That includes saying nice things to it and doing nice things for it. You wouldn’t abuse or criticize or withhold love from your favorite person – give your body that same respect.
When you say you just want to be healthy, the best way to do that is to listen to what your body wants. She will tell you what and how much to eat, when to eat it, when and how to move, when to rest, etc. Learn to listen to her. She is the best authority on your health and well-being.
That’s it. That’s what I would want this girl and any other person who doesn’t like their body to know.
Your body deserves your love and kindness. When you learn to treat your body well, it will do the same for you. Maybe that means weighing less, and maybe not. But it won’t matter when you’ve got what you really wanted all along – which is to like yourself.
Many of you reading already know this. Do you practice it in the way you want to? It’s advice I suspect we could all benefit from taking more to heart, myself included.
Here’s to learning to love who we are, as is, right now. That sounds like a good time to me. 🙂
For anyone who wants a deeper dive on this subject, I wrote an ebook for it. It’s written from personal experience with self-loathing and the transformation that happens when we self-love instead.
Body love is worth getting good at.
I know some who are reading now are familiar with the pain and angst of not liking their physical selves – we’d love to hear your words of wisdom, too.