By Andrea Wachter, LMFT
I spent far too many years hating my body. Sadly, and statistically, there is a good chance that you have too. It’s nobody’s fault, really. Many of us were handed the same bad body image baton that our caregivers were handed, leading us to compete in the never-ending race of trying to eat a certain way, exercise a certain way, and look a certain way in order to feel lovable.
Fortunately, there is a movement toward health, healing and hope. A movement that teaches us that all bodies have natural shapes and sizes and that we discover ours by treating ourselves with respect and love. Then we get to decide if we want to spend our lives berating and hating our bodies, or work on acceptance, appreciation and love.
Whether you inherited a bad body image from our image obsessed culture, or from someone else who learned it from our image obsessed culture, it is possible to heal. With awareness, desire and practice you can learn to make peace with the body you live in.
All day long, our bodies work diligently and miraculously for us, yet most people walk around judging, ignoring, criticizing, and oftentimes despising their amazing bodies.
I used to be an extreme body hater. After decades of working on cultivating self-kindness and self-care, I am now extremely devoted to loving and appreciating the body I live in and having the good fortune of being able to help others do the same.
While I’m sure my body must be infinitely more content with the treatment it receives from me now (both externally and internally), I felt like I owed it an apology. After all, if I had abused someone else for decades and decided to make peace, I would surely extend my sincerest apologies to them.
So, today I share with you my body apology. I hope this will inspire you to join me in a Body Apology of your own.
— I am sorry for ignoring your hunger signals for so many years.
— I am sorry for making you drink disgusting diet shakes and eat tasteless diet foods.
— I am sorry for stuffing you with excess food and then shaming you when you were only responding to the starvation and self-hate that was inflicted on you.
— I am sorry for comparing you to other people I knew nothing about and thinking you were supposed to look like them.
— I am sorry I thought of you as an object to gain approval and attention, rather than the amazing miracle that you are.
— I am sorry for hating every freckle, lump and bump on your skin.
— I am sorry for stuffing you into clothes that felt too tight and hating you when things no longer fit.
— I am sorry for making you wear shoes that felt way too cramped and uncomfortable.
— I am sorry for criticizing you every time I saw your reflection in a mirror or window.
— I am sorry for thinking you could not leave the house without wearing make-up.
— I am sorry for depriving you of rest when you were tired.
— I am sorry for pumping you with caffeine instead of listening to your natural rhythms and letting you rest more.
— I am sorry you had to ingest dangerous substances because I wanted to fit in and try to look cool.
— I am sorry I made you exercise in ways you didn’t even like.
— I am sorry I put you in situations you really did not want to be in.
— I am sorry I ignored your wise intuition and said “yes” when you clearly felt “no.”
— I am sorry I stayed silent when you nudged me to speak up, because I feared the disapproval and rejection of others.
— I am sorry I put countless cigarettes into your lungs because I didn’t yet know how to handle stress or pauses in the day.
— I am sorry I spent so much time criticizing you that I forgot to say thank you and acknowledge your amazing senses, systems, limbs and organs.
— I am sorry I thought my value as a human being was entirely dependent on you.
— Oh, and I am sorry about those leg warmers and shoulder pads in the 80’s!