The Birth of Athena

lift the weight. fight the power. eat the candy.

I Do Not Love My Body

There is a movement growing strength and popularity. This movement is propagated by individuals, the media, women’s magazines, famous people, etc. What is it that all of these people are hoping that you do? What is this movement about?This movement is about loving your body. All of these people, they are urging you to love your body.

I don’t love my body. And I don’t intend to work toward loving my body.

Now, I am not saying that you shouldn’t love your body. I am not saying that this movement is inherently wrong. But it is not right for me. For me, this decision, to not love my body, is simple and stems from what I feel is best for my body.

I don’t love my body, and I do not intend to ever truly love my body.

What is love? Love, a noun, is defined as:

  1.  a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
  2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent,child,or friend

What they are talking about when these movements want you to love your body, is this “tender, passionate” and “personal” affection.

I feel affection toward many things – my boyfriend, family, friends, animals, small children – and I occasionally feel affection toward my body. When I am cuddled in a warm blanket with my honey or after a great workout – I am glad for my feelings my body emits.

However, affection can fade and be easily replaced with other emotions. When a small child I feel affection for starts crying incoherently and he or she cannot be reasoned with, my affection turns to impatience. When my family’s dog ruins a favorite piece of clothing, my affection turns to anger. When someone I care about makes poor decisions, my affections turns to disappointment and sadness. And when my body refuses to do what a body should; when my body is not able to complete one of the most basic bodily, life-sustaining tasks, the digestion of food, my affection toward body quickly turns to frustration and panic. “Is this the flare up that sends me to the hospital?”

It is hard and possibly impossible to love your body when it consistently fails you; when it is always threatening pain and anguish. Love and affection can be stretched too thin over and over until they are nonexistent. And yes, you can fall out of love. People do every day. Breakups occur. Friendships end. Love can fade.

No, I do not love my body.

However, that does not mean I treat my body poorly. That does not mean that I have an overall negative view of my body. Instead of love, I have a deeper feeling toward my body. This feeling is what I believe sustains relationships when affection disappears or is fleeting; This feeling sustains relationships between lovers, friends, family, coworkers, managers and supervisees, even when times get tough.

I don’t love my body. But, I do respect it.

Respect:

  1. esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for her judgment.
  2. deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy;acknowledgment: respect for a suspect’s right to counsel; to show respect for the flag; respect for the elderly.
  3. the condition of being esteemed or honored: to be held in respect.

I believe respect is the best way to feel about my body.

I see the worth and excellence of my body. Even though is may occasionally malfunction, it is an intricate machine. I am made of millions of cells that all work together to make me who I am. The fact that these cells have come together to make me who I am is something worthy of respect. The mere chance that I am alive means, to me, that my body is in a privileged position. I am alive and it is amazing.

Additionally, I have seen what my body is capable of. I am a force of nature, literally. My mind is quick, my body is strong, and my heart is bold. My body deserves to be honored and I will honor it.

I will feed it, when it is hungry.

I will nurse it, when it is sick.

I will rest it, when it is weary.

I will work it, when it is healthy.

It is my body and I do not love it.

But because it is my body, I respect it.

(I originally posted this article on October 21, 2012.)

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