Respect For My Body

Photo by Lena Goncharova on

I’ve been fighting with someone close to me. I’ve been annoyed when they interrupt my day with their constant needs. I’ve thought unkind things about the way they look. Their communication is often subtle and easy to miss. My attitude towards them is adversarial and impatient, and has been for as long as I can remember. I’ve adopted this attitude with the help of society, but I’m done with it. No more fighting with her: my body.

Self-Objectifying Is Harmful

Society encourages me to call my body and the parts of my body things, to objectify it. “The stomach,” “the hand,” “the head” and “the back” are objects that are parts of the body (another object).* It feels like the body’s only function is to service the mind. My mind likes to think of itself as superior to the annoying body. My mind has no patience for my body and its relentless need for feeding, cleaning and exercising. When I think of my body as an “it”, then disrespecting it is easy. 

Disrespecting My Body Leads To Pain

I disrespect my body when I am impatient with her needs. I get annoyed with “it” for needing to stop for water when I’m on a hike. She will whisper with a dry mouth and then scream with a headache that lasts all day. When I cram “it” with a quick snack to give “it” just enough energy to continue with what my mind wants to do, stress builds in her. My body reacts to the negligence: she tightens her muscles and indigestion is sure to follow. This is just one small example of how disrespecting my body has lead to regular uncomfortable results for me.**

Being Kind To My Body

When I change my attitude and think of my body as my closest family member, wonderful things start to happen. I want her to be comfortable and healthy. I’m kind to her. I don’t ignore her when she whispers about a sore shoulder. I stop and stretch her aching muscles. I don’t resent the time it takes to eat lunch. I eat with joy knowing that I’m feeding her. I’m more relaxed as I care for her and no indigestion follows.

Attitude Change Takes No Extra Time

It takes me the same amount of time that it took me to feed, clean and exercise her as before, but now my attitude has changed. I don’t resent the time that it takes. That makes all the difference to the stress that I feel and the choices I make.

Using A Pronoun Makes My Body Mine

Calling my body “my” and “her,” helps me be more mindful of how I take care of her and what I choose for my body. I speak kindly to her and appreciate her and all that she is able to do. I have gratitude for my body: not anger or frustration at how she looks, and what she has difficulty doing, but appreciation for her positive attributes. After all, she is my closest family and her well-being should be my first priority.


**Self-objectification contributes to many health issues including eating disorders, body shaming, anxiety and depression.


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