Loving My Bunions (And the rest of my body, too)

Posted by on Mar 6, 2014

 

I found out the other day that I have bunions.

 

“What?” I said to the doctor. “Bunions?”

 

A bunion I learned, is a is a bump at the base of the big toe caused by movement of the big toe joint. (You can read more here if you’re interested)

 

Bunions don’t go away. And they can cause a lot of pain and problems.

 

 I don’t want bunions!  I thought.

 

A wave of anger and sadness came up like a heavy fog on a previously brilliant day. The excitement about  my 12-mile year  and one day returning to the Camino  felt suddenly demolished. Images of blue and yellow Dr. Scholls packages and walking with a cane before I turned 35 trolled my mind.

 

It may sound a bit silly and extreme, I know.

 

But how many of us do this every day?

 

Whether it is our bunions, our belly, our butt, our bust or fill-in-your-own thing here – how often do we deem something about ourselves “not right”?

 

And then we dial down our love for that thing/part of ourself because we don’t want it to be that way.

 

And then we live our lives and wonder why we don’t feel at peace with ourself, at home in our body.

 

We wonder why we don’t feel love.

 

Our Bodies

 Image credit: Julie Johnson

 

Body Image

 

Eating psychologist Marc David defines body image as this: body image is how you imagine your body. A positive body image, he says, is accepting and rejoicing in the body as it is. A problematic body image is when our ideal of how our body should be leaves us in pain and suffering.

 

I spent years with a negative body image. I know the pain and suffering that comes from not loving one’s body.

 

Like many teenagers I spent way too much time comparing myself to others, to the images in magazines, to someone else’s idea of perfection. It was hard to love these parts of myself that never measured up.

 

The price of not accepting what is was that my esteem suffered.  My creativity weakened. My voice softened. And perhaps the worst was that without realizing it,  I had conflated my lovability with my looks. It made no difference how I was perceived on the outside, if inside I was miserable.

I Now Know…

 

I now know that when we focus on everything we don’t like about our body, the true tragedy is not what we think it is. It’s not missing out on a relationship, or not being comfortable wearing a bikini at the beach.

 

The true tragedy of not accepting ourself as we are is that we block ourself from the experience of our own love.

 

True love is all encompassing.

 

And, choosing to love ourself is not a one-time decision, but a day an and day out choice.

 

We choose love when we use loving and kind words to speak to ourself about our body.

 

We choose love when we refuse to criticize ourself in front of others.

 

We choose love when we move in ways that we love and feel good.

 

We choose love when we opt to enjoy what we are eating and not feel guilty about it – no matter what it is.

 

Love is a choice we can make a thousand times each day.

 

We can be any size or shape and hate our body. And, we can be any size or shape and truly love our body.

 

The choice is ours.

 

 

if only they knew

 Image credit unknown (If you know please drop me a line.!)

 

*                     *                       *

Eventually I stopped reading those magazines.

 

Although I had no idea then, looking back on it now I believe stepping away from these magazines was my first  step toward a conscious relationship with my body.

 

For sure I stumbled and fumbled along the way as I learned to embody my body. I still do at times.  

 

But when life happens – like these bunions – I realize that what I actually have is not bunions but a new opportunity to love myself fully – just as I am – all over again.

 

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Need some ideas of how to bolster your body image? Check out this great post by fellow Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Minh-Hai Alex in Seattle.

 

2 Comments

  1. Great post … Thank you!

  2. I like your post very much. You words are so true!

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