This morning I watched a youtube video which discussed body confidence and referred to self love. I am a huge advocate of both. The health benefits both physically and mentally of embracing and looking after your body are essential to health and happiness. However, what I was hugely disappointed by was the statement that your body is meant to be ‘imperfect’ or comments such as ‘your arms are meant to hug’.
I am irritated by these comments because not only do they validate the idea that our bodies are imperfect and that’s how they are meant to be but also because it is simply untrue. My body is perfect not because how it looks aesthetically but because of its ability to meet my physical needs. My eyebrows and eyelashes are not perfect because they are waxed or extended but because they keep dirt and sweat out of my eyes. My arms and legs have not evolved so that I can hug my husband (although that is a bonus) they are long and strong so I can use them as tools – my legs are strong and lean and allow me to get from A to B and my arms so that I can use them as tools be it in cooking, lifting, holding, or breaking my fall. My body is perfect because it has evolved over millions of years to be useful.
With the pressures of our society, maintaining this is difficult. My body is not required to work as hard as my ancestors – I can take the bus, pull my suitcase on wheels, I buy my food from the supermarket without need to scavenge for it. My body often feels underused. Of course, this is the case for many bodies and probably why so many people are gaining such substantial amounts of weight – not only are our foods calorie laden and nutrient lacking, we also have no need to use our bodies physically. It is therefore paramount to use my body to ensure that it remains strong and useful to me. In pregnancy, I have seen the importance of having a strong and nourished body, with so many changes to my size and the aches and pains as a result not to mention the changes in my hormones I can appreciate the need for a strong body to cope with and thrive on these changes. Not least, a fit and healthy body which will help me care for my baby once it arrives.
My body is perfect because it keeps the dirt from eyes, because I can run for 26 miles, because it tells me when I’m tired or hungry and because not only can my body carry a child I can feed and nourish my baby from it.
A body is not perfect because of how it looks, a body is perfect because it is strong, resilient and nourished. Be kind to your body: use it and nourish it.