Do you appreciate your body?
The human body is truly a wonderful, beautiful, and amazing thing. Just think about all the great things it does for you daily: breathing, walking, digesting food, doing everything it can to keep you from getting sick, and so much more.
When you appreciate your body, you acknowledge all the vital things your body does for you every day that keeps you alive and healthy.
So why, then, is our body the one area where many of us struggle to appreciate ourselves?
Many people, myself included, can be hyper-critical of how they look and their bodies' size, shape, and appearance. Throughout my life, some of the deepest pain and self-loathing I’ve felt has had to do with feeling flawed or simply not good enough physically.
We live in a culture that has an obsession with appearance.
While there is nothing wrong with us wanting to take care of ourselves and even wanting to look good, I think that many of us go overboard with this.
We tend to compare ourselves to others, making us feel like we’re in constant competition.
Remember: life is not a competition. We are all growing and learning in our own ways. What if we stopped competing with other people and focused more on ourselves?
We forget that our ability to appreciate our bodies isn’t actually about how much we weigh, how tall we are, the size of particular body parts, how our skin looks, how much hair we have (a big one for me over the past two decades), or anything else. Instead, it all has to do with how we feel about our bodies and our appearance.
Here’s Why It’s Important to Appreciate Your Body and Love Yourself
We can appreciate our body at any time and for any reason. There are so many things about our bodies that are great, work well, and look good. But, unfortunately, we often forget to focus on the good stuff about our bodies, instead choosing to pay attention to the areas where we think we “need work.”
Everyone has their flaws, and everyone has insecurities. Therefore, let’s stop comparing ourselves to other people.
Here are just a few reasons to love your body.
Your body is unique to you, and only you
Your body needs nutrients and energy to survive
All bodies change with time
You’re beautiful just the way you are
Your body does so many amazing things for you every single day
Your body keeps you alive
Your body has gotten you through the most challenging times of your life
Your body lets you do all the activities you love to do
The world of form (which is where our bodies reside) constantly changes and evolves. While we would not expect to have the body size and appearance that we did when we were toddlers, we should not expect to look the same at 40 as we did at 20 or at 65 as we did when we were 45. It is almost as if we’re trying to apologize for being human, aging, or being physical beings.
How to Start Appreciating Your Body
One of the best things we can do for ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually is to appreciate ourselves and our bodies. Be grateful for your body and everything it does for you.
This is something I’ve struggled with and found challenging for much of my life. As they say, “We teach best what we most need to learn.” While our culture talks about body image and appearance issues quite a bit, I don’t think we go very deep in our inquiry or discussion about it.
We primarily focus on the surface – food, weight, skincare, haircare, clothes, plastic surgery, etc. None of that stuff matters if we don’t ultimately feel good about ourselves and our bodies.
As with most things in life, appreciation, when genuine, comes first and can lead to the outcome, result, and feeling we desire. Instead of holding our breath until we lose those 10 or 20 pounds or get whatever we think we need to get to feel better about our bodies and appearance, let’s start appreciating ourselves. What if we started right here, right now, and appreciated our bodies exactly as they are? What if we loved them unconditionally?
Here are some tips on how to start loving your body.
Stop attaching yourself to meeting conventional beauty norms
Get to know yourself and your body
Shower your body with love and gratitude
Make it a habit to do something nice for yourself and your body every day
Remember that happiness comes from the inside
Repeat to yourself that your body deserves love
Stop comparing yourself to others
Stop judging other people's bodies as well as yours
Spend less time on social media, especially when you find yourself comparing
Being able to appreciate ourselves physically, while challenging for many of us, can and will create such a sense of freedom, peace, and love in your life – for yourself and with others. I’m working on it - want to join me? Share your thoughts, ideas, insights, actions, and more on my blog below.
Feel free to leave any questions or comments below or directly on my blog.
I have written five books about the importance of trust, authenticity, appreciation, and more. I deliver keynotes and seminars (both in-person and virtually) to empower people, leaders, and teams to grow, connect, and perform their best. As an expert in teamwork, leadership, and emotional intelligence, I teach techniques that allow people and organizations to be more authentic and effective. Find out more about how I can help you and your team achieve your goals today. You can also listen to my podcast here.
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This article was published on May 3, 2008, and has been updated for 2021.