A Letter To My Body
One of my favorite books is You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero – highly recommend reading if you’re on a journey of personal growth – she’s a coach as well and talks a lot about mindset – but she authored a follow up book called You Are A Badass At Making Money, where she talks about how to manifest money. There’s a point in the book where she addresses how most people have a negative connotation of money, and she tells you to write a love letter to money based on how you view it. What was interesting was the fact that most people’s letters would be something along the lines of, “Money I love you, but I get mad at you whenever you’re not there. I don’t appreciate you when I have you, I expect you to just appear and I get mad when you don’t. I’m afraid you’ll leave and never come back when I need you.” And so so forth.
So I thought about this exercise when I starting thinking about coaching on body image – and I thought the same exercise could be applied if you were to sit down and write a letter to your body. What do you think you would write? I’m going to invite you to sit down and write out what you would tell your body. Openly and honestly – it will be a huge eye-opener to what you actually expect of your body and how you could have so many negative thoughts around your body image.
I actually did this myself, and I’ll read a bit from my realistic love letter to my body – if you want to read the entire letter, it’s up on my blog – but here goes:
Overall, I’m really thankful for you. I actually thank God for your health every day and pray that you’ll continue a healthy life. People on the outside think we’re in love – in fact, I’m very confident about openly loving you, even when you don’t look your best. I guess you could call that confident.
I know I expect a lot from you – I put you through multiple workouts every single day, and actually rely on you a lot for my job. I really need you to perform, and yes, I know I could do a better job at recovery and treating you to stretching and yoga…but really, I think you look better when you have abs, so I like to focus on that. You like those too, right? So no, I’m not going to expect less of you but I am going to need you to figure out some way to recover without me being involved in that because I’m not really willing to dedicate time to that. You being tired or sore is really just not okay with me.
Actually, while we’re discussing it, your clothes have been a little tight lately…it seems like you’ve let yourself go a bit? Yes, I know, I made the decision to go on some vacations and drink wine more than I should have, but I really do expect you to stay on top of it and not change, even though I don’t make the best decisions. And I love taking pictures with you, but you know – other people’s bodies look good all the time…so sometimes I want to photoshop you in pictures. I hope you’re not offended – it just…you don’t look good sometimes. And I expect you to do a little better – I expect you to be flawless at any given moment. Sometimes you look really bad when you take pictures at certain angles – do you think you could learn to pose better? I mean, sure I love you, and want to show you off, but sometimes I like to hide you in pictures instead. You get that right? No offense…it’s just that you’re not perfect.
Some people look at you and want you – they would love to have you. They actually think I’m crazy for not being absolutely over the moon about you, but they only see the parts I let them see of you. I know the truth. I know what poses make you look good, I know positions not to sit in so your little belly or love handles spill over. In fact, I’m really good at dressing you so you look better than you really are – you appreciate that right?
Sometimes, people compliment you and I get really weird and embarrassed – it’s not that anything is wrong with you per se…it’s just, that I really think you could do better. And what if you don’t stay this way? What if people realize that you pose well in pictures sometimes but that you look different in real life? Then what will people say? I mean…you’re a fitness instructor for Pete’s sake!
I mean, I thought when we agreed to be a fitness instructor that you would be kinda more on top of staying fit. But instead you crave tacos and allow yourself to eat pizza and after you look all bloated and gross, and honestly you don’t even feel good after, and I’m not really sure why you keep doing that to yourself. Yes, yes, I know it was my decision – but I entirely and fully expect you not to react poorly to the food I give you and just carry on at the same weight. I know – the expectation is high, but it seems like other people can do it, so I’m a little confused why you can’t too.
I’m telling you this out of kindness – you know that right? I want people to take you seriously! People won’t take you seriously if you’re not completely toned and claim to be a fitness instructor. You don’t want that, right? I’m just protecting you. You want people to like you! Admire you! Not judge you! I know your feelings get hurt when people judge you – even though you claim that they don’t – so in order to protect you from that, just work on being perfect.
And I know – I change my mind a lot too – my standards constantly change, but you can keep up right? If it’s important to you, you would. So yes, overall – I truly am so thankful for you. So grateful. But I’m going to need you to change pretty much everything about you – and quickly – yes, I know – you’ve gained some weight over the past year, but – and I don’t think this is unrealistic – if you could just get rid of that ASAP – I would just love you so much more. I’m thinking 1-2 weeks. You can do that, right?
I just want to love you better. How can I do that? Sometimes, I’ll look at you in the mirror and get grossed out by your bloated stomach, or tired bags under your eyes, or your blemishes. I think I’ll be able to love you better if you just made sure to get rid of all of those things I don’t like. That would mean so much to me.
Whew – Ok, I’m glad we had this talk. I feel better. Again – thanks so much for working out 2-3 times a day for me, getting very little recovery, not getting bent out of shape when I don’t give you enough sleep or take care of you – but to be clear, the expectation is to look better – and even when you think you’re looking better or have fixed one thing – there will always be something else to fix. I hate to admit that I’ll never really be happy with you, but I believe that you will try your best!
I don't like that this is the letter I chose to write to my body. I'm working on it -- it gave me a lot of insight where I need to give myself more grace. I highly recommend you try this exercise -- tune in tomorrow for another love letter -- the one I WANT to write to my body. Seeing the difference made me love my body even more -- I'm so excited for you to do the same.