Body Image, Self Love, Self Respect and Tenderness


Developing a healthy respect for your body is part of eating disorder recovery.  The words are rather directive and cold, don't you think?  But the meaning is anything but.  I got a big reminder of this yesterday when I looked at the close up of the x rays of my lungs using the most up to date technology with a pulmonary specialist.

My lungs are beautiful. The network of healthy blood vessels moving through the organ like the most graceful tendrils of a delicate plant or the meticulous beauty of ice crystals forming on the window pane of my childhood winter home in Connecticut brought up such awe and tenderness in me that I was almost moved to tears.

The doctor, who dedicates his professional life to pulmonary issues, was just as moved and fascinated.  I said, "How beautiful and delicate."  He said, "We're all Ferraris. Yes, it's magnificent."  We were hunched over his desk, heads together, eyes staring at the monitor looking at the glow of my lungs.  We could have been in church.

Later I thought about you.  I thought about body image - real body image - the image of our Ferrari bodies in action, doing amazing work based on the tiny and intricate cells working in cooperation to keep us alive through countless complex functions.

This amazing Ferrari we each have needs care and appreciation. It's fantastic that we have these bodies.  It's fantastic that they function the way they do. It's incredible that they are so beautiful and in harmony with themselves.  It's a monumental achievement that so many cells and organs cooperate with each other to allow us to breathe and move and see, eat and digest and eliminate toxins.  It's amazing that these Farraris create their own system for removing threats and dangerous invaders.  And most amazing of all is that they can suffer wounds and heal.

I discovered yesterday afternoon that I love my lungs. I am filled with feelings of tenderness and respect for their beauty, for how they function in my body and relate to my other organs, how they create my ability to breathe and live to write this post to you right now.

You have the same lungs within you. And what about the rest of the internal workings of this incredible organic, self healing vehicle that holds our minds and souls? It's all rather magnificent.

Perhaps a deep appreciation of what we are actually made of and how we are a coordinated effort of cooperating living cells can bring you to a greater experience of self love and self respect for your body.  You may discover that it's impossible to harm a being that you hold in your heart with tenderness.

P.S. I never for a moment thought about how large or small my lungs are or how much they weigh or what effect their size and shape have on my appearance.  I just cherish them and am grateful that they are in me as they are.

What would it take for you to learn to love, respect and cherish your body as it is?


Healthy Internal Organs

Body Image Health

Body Image: Loving Your Body Inside and Out

Building a Healthy Body Image

Perfect Illusions: Eating Disorders and the Family





0 # I shouldn't be shocked that you picked tKymL 2011-01-04 21:14
I shouldn't be shocked that you picked this topic to write about today as I don't believe in coincidences. For the past 5 months I've been doing Nia (dance) for the sole purpose of connecting and appreciating my body. Sunday I struggled as my left side felt awkward and I felt disconnected. To stop any negative self-talk, I took a bubble bath but this time I did a “mindful bath” using my Nia skills. I started with my toes and worked my way up my body. I held each part of myself, thought about all it does for me, thanked it, and pampered it. I didn't allow any negative thoughts or judgements about how it looked. By the time I was at the top of my head I was in tears because of all the feelings of gratitude. My body has healed from the damage I've done to it and it keeps giving back to me; I have to keep it healthy!! You're correct, it's very hard to hurt something as wonderful as your body! The more I can appreciate my physical body, the more compassion I feel towards myself as a whole. Thank you so much for this blog!!!!
0 # Thank you for your comments. Your ppinkjoanna 2011-01-05 00:10
And thank you for your comments. Your participation makes this eating disorder recovery blog a richer experience for everyone - including me!

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