I have spent the last couple of weeks stopping people and with pen and notebook in hand asking them to tell me what they love about their body.
I have met several stunned faces.
Here are comments that came with those stunned faces.
Can I get back to you next year?
Oh, this is hard.
Yikes. I don’t know. My hair?
Brenda, why do you always ask me these hard questions? (Followed by a chuckle.)
I’m so hard on myself. I don’t spend time thinking about what I love about my body. Does it have to be love?
One person was so enlivened after answering this question for me that she brought it to the dinner party she was having that night and asked everyone there what they loved about their bodies. She told me, “It was illuminating!”
Why is it hard to express love for our bodies and ourselves?
Something inspired me one day about love, about self-love. Are smart, intelligent, fabulous women still finding it hard to appreciate themselves? You see, the wonderful thing about being me is that I’ve worked with all sizes, shapes, and ages of women. They are all beautiful!
I was hoping to discover that these beautiful, loving, caring, women felt the same way about themselves. Apparently, there’s still struggle in this area.
When I went around asking people what they loved about their bodies, I gave them no instruction. In my mind it could mean a quality they love about themselves, a part of their body that they love or something their body can do that makes them feel good.
Of course, I want to hear your answers but I also want to challenge you to ask this question of others. I think we could start a revolution by asking this question out loud and talking to each other. I believe that self-love could only grow and grow if we just talked about it.
Asking this question in small groups
In most cases there were clusters of people that I asked at the same time. One group consisted of three friends of mine having coffee together. One group of three was in a hair salon when I was getting my hair cut. One group was at Uber Optics. And in a few cases I was asking one person at a time.
The thing about asking this question in a group (I highly recommend doing it this way) is that when there’s more than one voice, it can encourage individuals to start sharing and keep sharing. In only one case did someone answer positively and immediately with great enthusiasm. Most people stuttered and stammered before gaining momentum and spreading their net of self-love a tiny bit wider. When you’re asking others, you want to just listen to them. Don’t say things like, “But I love your knees!” Or, “But what about your chest? Don’t you love that?” You’d be amazed at people’s answers so don’t answer for them, okay?
In one case I got things going when I showed them my two index fingers side-by-side. I said, “I love how crooked my two fingers are on my right hand. It’s the hand I use for writing and I like that the index finger heads toward my middle finger instead of standing straight up. I don’t at all mind that the knuckle on my middle finger is much wider on the right hand than the left hand. Writing has brought me great joy and wonderful experiences and I love that those two fingers, the fingers that hold my blue Pilot G-2 07 pen, look a bit worn. Bravo fingers!”
Ready to hear some answers? Here we go!
Some people expressed love for the things their bodies do for them
I do like my eyes because of what I see, the gifts they give me. I like the color and the shape of them. It’s so connected to me—the metaphor of sight and insight. When I almost lost my sight it was awful. I tell them I love them. I appreciate them so much.
I love what aging does to the mind.
I love my heart. Working with patients in the hospital as I have for thirty-five years, my heart sees beauty in most. I do feel that I have a capacity to find value and beauty in most human beings. I value that about myself.
I like my laugh.
There’s pride in doing the best I can. In general, I think it’s important to have pride.
I do a lot of things for my inner self like therapy, Buddhist practice, being fully engaged in relationships, having compassion, being there for each other, trying to understand. These things stretch me. There’s always plenty of opportunities to practice.
I love the memory my body has. If I haven’t done Pilates for a while, when I start again my body really remembers the cues and the exercise itself. I’m proud of muscle memory.
I love how my body walks, runs, jumps and plays.
I love the strength in my body. I have a muscular body. I like being strong. It’s very important to me. I’d hate to not be a strong person.
Some people identified features they love
I’ve always really appreciated my skin.
I like my feet. They’re a good size. I can fit into Cinderella slippers.
I happen to like my wrists. They’ve always been interesting to me. I enjoy wearing bracelets on them.
I appreciate my hands. They’ve changed in looks but my appreciation for them hasn’t changed.
I like my cheekbones.
Growing up I didn’t have great body image. But now my body type is one of the hottest body types of this time. I naturally have a full butt and thighs and a teeny tiny waist. I can wear a real woman’s dress and look great.
I like my shoulders. I’ve always had good posture. I play classical piano.
I love my eyes because they change colors depending on what colors I wear.
I don’t mind my wobbly parts. I don’t feel like I have to be a size 2 to be beautiful.
I love my eyebrows. I don’t have to do anything with them.
I love my hair. It does it’s own thing which is nobody else’s thing.
When something fits my body really well, I feel wonderful.
Apparently I have a nice butt because people say that.
Now, my friends, it’s your turn. Tell me what you love about your body. Don’t hold back!