I told my friend that she was crazy and that no woman of any size or any shape could come up with TEN things. Then she told me her list of TEN things and that apparently, some women indeed can come up with TEN things. Much resistance has come with this as I've thought about it. I can think of TEN things I don't like about my body as it is right now, but TEN things that I do?
For someone who has struggled with self-contempt and self-loathing most of her life, I've realized why this is such a challenge for me. Coming to a point where I love who I am as a person - my traits, my laugh, my interests and likes, and all of the things that make me who I am - that has felt like a big enough hurdle to get over. And I know that I still struggle there. But I have found that I no longer have hatred for myself at the core of who I am and who I was created to be.
It's much easier to hate my shell and the body that I am in instead. That is not kind either and no one should sit and hate on their bodies even if they are need of improvement - myself included. To appreciate myself physically is hard when there is so much that is flawed from an eating disorder that has been with me for the majority of my life.
Of course my husband was easily able to point out more than TEN things he loved about my body. In doing this, I learned he had a thing for my calves and I found that somewhat amusing. He thinks they are muscular and sexy and I don't think I would have ever labeled them as such.
I braved a mirror and took a long look at my body. I looked at the places where my eating disorder has done it's damage, at the places that seem to be untouched, and at the places that look in progress as I continue to live in healthier ways. And to my own amazement, I found ten things that I actually love about my body right now.
And here they are in no particular order:
(And no worries. This is all totally G-rated).
1) I LOVE my nose. Always have. I think it's shaped pretty and I would never want it to change.
2) I LOVE my feet. Other than the 9 months that I was pregnant, my feet have never betrayed me. They stay slim and pretty and they look nice in all kinds of shoes. I have a toe ring on the second toe of each foot and my nails are almost always painted red.
3) I LOVE my smile. My teeth are straight, I have great lips - my smile makes other people smile. I look friendly and personable and my smile reminds me of my mom.
4) I LOVE the mole under my left eye. When I was a very little girl I remember being in the bathroom with my mom getting ready to go somewhere. She told me that the mole under my left eye was a "beauty mark." She compared it to Cindy Crawford. And even though I was maybe six or seven years old at the time, that never left me. I remember feeling as if I had been marked with beauty and because of the beautiful way she described it to me, the mole under my left eye has always made me smile. It's my beauty mark!
5) I LOVE my eyes. They change colors. They remind me of people in my family who's eyes that I share. I get complimented on my eyes a lot, but I love them because they sparkle and glow. And when I cry they become fiercely green.
6) I LOVE the new tattoo on my neck. Maybe it's not an actual body part, but it's ON my body so I've decided this counts. I love what it means to me, I love its reminder and I love that it's a part of my physical appearance now.
7) I LOVE my hips. They've seemed to remain just the right size.
8) I LOVE my wrists. They feel small and dainty and when I put a bracelet on them, they look even prettier.
9) I LOVE my hair. Even though I'm starting to pop up with a few gray hairs here and there, it's shiny and brown and healthy. I've come to love my natural color and how it almost always does what I want it to.
10) I LOVE the muscles in my biceps. Since I've started exercising more regularly, I have some awesome muscles in my upper arms that look toned. It makes me feel buff and healthy or something.
I keep taking continued steps to not only believing my true identity in Christ, but loving who that person is. And not just on the inside, but the outside as well. It feels good to recognize progress and change where there once only existed hatred and shame.
I have a long way to go. I would love to one day be able to love other things about my body. But I also recognize that finding TEN things that I currently love feels like a big deal and is worth celebrating.
Can you name what things you love about your body - as it is, right now, today? Please share!