So that Marcia Hutchinson quote sounds a bit harsh, no? And yet it’s an amazingly effective concept to keep in mind if you find yourself devolving into body-bashing: All those accusations you’re flinging at your thighs, wrinkles, bony joints, cellulite, and age spots? Would you ever consider saying those things to someone you love? Or even say them aloud when you’re AROUND someone you love? You’ll be amazed by how quickly your negative self-talk is put into perspective when you compare it to the thoughts you would consider expressing to others.
But let’s also examine the”friend” portion of this idea: If you’re thinking nasty thoughts about your own body, you may be separating your body from your mental and emotional self. Creating a rift that makes you feel as if your “true” self isn’t a physical one at all, and your body is fighting against that essential self. And even if you’re not deepening that particular rift, you are treating your own physical form as something other than your friend. If you conceptualize your body as some kind of cumbersome object that you’re saddled with, it becomes much harder to care for it, live with it, love it. Your body should be talked to, treated as, and conceptualized as a friend.
Naturally, those of you facing down illness will have a much, MUCH harder time cultivating friendly relationships with your bodies. There are ways, but they are challenging. Regardless, there’s no arguing with the fact that expending loads of energy actively hating, berating, or separating from your body can become harmful and counterproductive.
You and your body? You’re in this together. And working as a united front is likely to lead to more good things than bad.
Much of the language we use to address our bodies is fraught with struggle: Fight the bulge, beat acne, conquer frizzy hair. But our bodies are not enemies or foreign entities to be beaten back or subdued. They’re important participants in our inner lives and integral elements of our whole selves. And unless we treat them as our friends, how can we expect them to look and feel their best? How can we expect ourselves to look and feel our best?
Next time you’re furrowing your brow into the mirror, swearing silently at some physical attribute, pause and consider: Are you treating your body as a friend?