re-picturing RESPECT

Although I can talk until I’m blue in the face about loving my body, one of the most frustrating experiences for me as an artist, researcher, and photographer is running into women who strongly dislike or hate their bodies or particular body parts. I want to shake my head at these women. And tell them how wrong they are…that they should love their bodies. Perhaps if I convince them, I can also convince myself. I love my body in a lot of ways, but there are still some aspects that I have yet to completely embrace.  And lately I’ve wondered whether love is the end game when it comes to our bodies.

Is it possible to love your body completely and fully all of the time?

I don’t think so. Progress and not perfection.

I’m wondering if a first stop along the way to the loving destination is to respect our bodies.

Generally speaking, respect is conceptualized as esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person. Applied to the body, it would involve seeing the body as worthy, even if it is not completely lovable. In fact, you could respect different aspects of your body without even necessarily liking (much less loving them).

Case in point. Have we ever talked about my feet? If so, you will definitely remember. I am not a big fan. My feet our wide and my toes are stubby, short, and crooked.  A friend of mine once told me that he would never walk around without shoes on if he had my feet. And last week, my physical therapist added further insult to my running injury.

Well sort of.

He told me that I had the biggest fat pad on my heel that he’d ever seen. Great. Another thing to hate about my foot. What is a fat pad, you ask? It is a one-inch structure on the heel that is designed to absorb shock and cushion the heel bone.  Although I’m not crazed about being a fatty when it comes to my feet, that fatty heel is one of the things that keeps me from injurying my foot during running. Do I love my fatty heel? No. Do I respect it and am I grateful for it? Well, yeah.

Do you think there is a difference between loving and respecting your body? In what ways do you love your body and in what ways do you respect your body?

  1. What a lovely post! This struck a chord for me today and I am so thankful it did. Loving your body (especially certain parts) can be a very, very difficult thing to do, especially for those who have had a lifelong struggle with their bodies. And love can be tricky. Love can mean feeding yourself chocolate ice cream to heal an emotional wound, or laying on the couch instead of getting out for a run. Respect, on the other hand, seems like a very important, and (for me, at least) a much more achievable place to start. Respecting your body means giving it the things it needs – good food, exercise, sleep, and sometimes love (and sometimes chocolate ice cream). Respecting your body also means you don’t talk sh*t about it. And isn’t that really half the battle in striving towards real love and acceptance of our bodies? To stop talking mad sh*t and treat them with some respect?

  2. Hmm fat pad, new word to me 😉 I respect the stretch marks on my sides that means I carried a child inside of me. Do I love them? No. I’ve gained a little weight lately and am struggling so thank you for sharing this xoxo

  3. I actually prefer to think of my body in terms of respecting it. Loving it always seemed kind of nebulous and not-very concrete, and I could never really embrace it as a concept. But respecting it – that’s something that’s a lot easier to conceptualize.

    Also, as a fellow runner, I need to say that having a fat heel pad is awesome and you SHOULD be happy to have it!

  1. February 3rd, 2012
    Trackback from : Lovely Links: 2/4/12
  2. February 5th, 2012