When you look into the mirror, where are your eyes immediately drawn? Do you see yourself as a whole person or do you focus on only pieces of yourself? What is it that you love about your body? Are there parts that you hate? Certainly, it’s quite normal to have parts of our bodies that we are unhappy with or wish we could change. As women especially, we are bombarded with messages that we need flat abs, lean legs and our quest in life should be for the perfect body. I am here to save you a lot of time and energy: living a life of trying to change your body is a waste of life.
I think that somewhere along the line, we forget that our body is a home. In fact, it is the only one we have to live in so the time to make peace with it is now. Right now. Do it now.
It took me a long time to make peace with my own body. I was consumed by the notion that my body was not perfect and that I had to change it, no matter what it took. Each time I looked into the mirror, my eyes immediately went to my stomach. I hated it. It was straight and without any curves. There was no hourglass figure on this body. My curves were straight.
All I cared about when I worked out or exercised was making my waist slim and sleek. I really wish I could have all of those hours of nonsense back. I was exhausting myself for something that was never going change. This is how I was made. This is how I was meant to be, but still I tried endlessly, to no avail, to achieve that perfection I thought I needed.
It’s funny that I spent so much time trying to change what was so naturally me. Even as a young child, I had skinny little arms and legs and we joked that I had a “bowly” which was what we called my belly. At some point though, this cute feature became the one thing that I loathed. I despised the fact that my torso was so boyish. I hated buying pants because while my legs could fit into a certain pair of jeans, I was unable to button them up. It became something I obsessed over and decided that only way to solve this problem was to change my body completely.
So I wasted time and energy, weeks, months and years on this journey to change my body. Over time I changed it, not entirely, but I whittled it down a bit. And you know what? I wasn’t any different. I wasn’t any happier. In fact, I was actually more miserable. This great achievement that I thought I so badly needed did not get me any closer to peace of mind. The more I pushed towards perfection, the more I demanded of myself. This became a cycle that seemed never ending. My mirror and I became enemies.
One day, I looked into the mirror and instead of looking directly to what I hated so much, I looked into my eyes. I studied them a bit. They looked so tired and weary. If they could’ve spoken, they would’ve said, Enough of this, Lorie. Enough. It was time for a change. The change this time was not my body, but my perception. These years of trying to gain this “perfect body” had gotten me absolutely nowhere. Nowhere. I wanted to live. I wanted to be free. I wanted my life back.
Nothing happened over night, that is for sure. Letting go of the need for perfection was not so easy. It was a practice, a journey. My yoga practice is certainly something that has been a huge help along the way. It changed my perception of my body from what it looked like to what it can do. Having a husband who has loved me for exactly who I am even when I have been unable to do so has also been a solid rock for me. Limiting time in front of the mirror also helped along the way. When we purchased our house, there were no full length mirrors in it. We have yet to put one in and to be honest, I am not sure I miss it.
Needless to say, it has been a journey. There are days that I look into the mirror and my mind goes back to the negativity. While I used to listen to it, I no longer do. I have replaced such thoughts with things like, You are perfect exactly as you are or I am exactly as I need to be. I used to think that all of those affirmations people talked about were just hogwash, but they can snap you out of negativity and you really can change the way you think.
There was a brief time where I experienced such love for my body that was unlike ever before. During this time I was pregnant. From the moment I saw the positive pregnancy test, everything changed. I truly saw my body as a home, but this time it was a home for two. While my stomach had always been the part of my body that I looked at with disgust, it was now the part that I looked at with deep love and affection. I had never experienced anything like it. As I mentioned, this time was brief as our baby made it to heaven much before we will get there. But sweet Josie changed me. She brought me the missing piece that I never had. She brought me love for the way I was naturally made. My body was perfect for her to live in. These straight curves, they are absolutely perfect.