Do you live with your house or in your house?
A house is a structure that allows us to be warm, comfortable, safe. A house can become our home; and as the oft-used saying states, “Home is where the heart is.” Ideally, home is where we feel loved, accepted, and at peace.
But if home is where the HEART is, then what if you think about your body as your home? Your body IS home to your dreams, your soul, to what makes you YOU. But do you feel at home in your body? Do you feel comfortable with how it looks and feels? Do you listen to its messages about hunger and sleep? Do you honor its signals and hear its wisdom? So many of us live with our bodies and not in our bodies. We are disconnected from our bodies and see them as somehow failing us . . . not thin enough, curved enough, “cut” enough, pretty enough, athletic enough . . . not enough. We do what we can to force our bodies to fit some externally determined (and often unrealistic) standard, and when that doesn’t work, many of us wish we could exchange this so-not-ideal-body at Target like an unwanted Christmas present. All the while, we fail to realize that these bodies, these imperfect legs and arms and stomach, are the most amazing gifts we will ever be given . . . and the most amazing homes we will ever own.
What would it be like to view your body as your home and to live in it? To take care of it, appreciate it, respect it, and ultimately, feel at peace with your body? As someone who used to abuse my body daily and take pride in my ability to completely disregard my body’s needs, I can attest to the challenging journey it has been to begin to honor my body as my home. But I can also speak to the incredible freedom that comes from walking this path. I don’t have a roadmap for everyone . . . but for me, realizing that my body is damn smart has been life-changing . . .
Like when my stomach grumbles, it’s not an annoyance to be ignored and it doesn’t mean I’m “strong” because I can somehow do so;
Or when I’m sick or tired or run down and choose rest over the gym . . . this isn’t being lazy;
And when I feel significant stress because of work or my family and need time for me . . . that’s not selfishness or indulgence.
Hearing the whispers of your body and choosing to listen . . . that’s life-changing. Then try coupling that with a recognition of the many ways in which your body works for you every day. Instead of looking in the mirror and criticizing your ______________ (fill in the blank), think about what that body part allows you to do . . . .
Hate your arms? They’re what you use to hug a friend and bring comfort to a child.
Your thighs? Without them, you couldn’t climb stairs or hike or run or dance.
Your wrinkles? Guess what? You’ve lived and loved and lost and laughed. Those little lines tell the story of you.
So instead of focusing on how your body looks, be grateful for the purpose it serves. We won’t always have these bodies but while we do, why not live in them? Truly live IN them. And see them for what they are . . . our “Home Sweet Home.”
Dr. Laura Eickman, founder of REbeL