Thursday, February 24, 2011

Let's love our bodies.

Isn't it strange that I used to want to have a body so badly? Before I was born (and I can't remember it, of course) I was so excited at the prospect of having a body that I cheered and clapped for joy. I wanted the chance to go to earth and have my test there, to show Heavenly Father that I loved him and would obey him. I understood that I really needed a body to do that. I doubt that I cared very much what kind of body it was; I just wanted to receive that great gift.

It's funny how easy it is to buy into pop culture. I can read my scriptures one day and have absolute faith in the Plan of Salvation, and the next day I am frustrated and angry and totally hating my body. Sometimes I have wished that I didn't even have one because I felt like my body was a prison (like when I was the hugest girl in my BYU ward, bigger than all the fully pregnant girls and yet not able to get pregnant myself). When I buy into pop culture standards of body image, I am disregarding my body's place in the Plan. My body has a very important place, of course. Sometimes I forget what an amazing gift it really is.

Think about it! We have been given these miraculous bodies as gifts from our father. How must it make him feel when we complain about them? When we compare ourselves to others, we are effectively saying, "Heavenly Father, this body you gave me isn't good enough! I hate it and I'm not grateful for the gift. Why couldn't you have given me something else?"

It sounds pretty bad when I put it like that, doesn't it? Unfortunately, that is the way that so many of us feel about our bodies. If we can get away from those feelings and remember the joy we felt back when we first found out that we were finally going to get our bodies, we can begin to feel gratitude.

We can thank the Lord for giving us bodies and we can think of our bodies as precious and worth-taking-care-of. We can forget about cultural standards of physical beauty and focus instead on nourishing ourselves and showing gratitude to our God. That is so much better than allowing ourselves to get wrapped up in shame and superficial attempts to force our bodies to look a certain way.

So, really, let's love our bodies.