Look at you. You’re incredible. Seriously!
I know you’re reading this right now so your beautiful eyes are sending messages to your brain about what they’ve seen. You didn’t have to ask or nag, they just did it.
We sometimes take it for granted that our wonderful bodies just ‘do stuff’ all the time. Our heart will just beat, our lungs will just breathe and our cells will just do all the brilliant things that cells do.
But they’re just some of the zillion things that make your body absolutely fantastic. I’m asking you… no wait… I’m begging you to realise just how perfect and brilliant your body is – for what it does every single day and not what it looks like in skinny jeans!
For some context, there’s hardly a thing about my body that fits beauty standards and western stereotypes. But I love my disabled, bionic body and I’m so incredibly proud of it.
Not in a narcissistic or egotistical way but I’m proud of the way it fought against the infection that left me in a coma for three weeks and in hospital for over a year.
Proud of the way it didn’t give up, even when medical professionals told my family they may have to turn off my life support.
Proud of the way it adapted to a very different life, minus abilities, body parts and in a wheelchair.
If you and I were to meet in real life, you’d see what I mean about not fitting conventional and narrow standards of often unattainable beauty. I have heaps of scars and missing pieces (my left leg, right toes and 9 fingertips were amputated), a permanent brain injury has left me over 25% blind and I now use a wheelchair every day. There’s lots more and you can read about some of it here).
Seriously, screw convention.
Sure I’m not waiting by the phone for a casting call from Victoria’s Secret and Paparazzi will never mistake me for Jennifer Hawkins but that doesn’t mean my body isn’t amazing – and so is yours!
Take my hands for example. They look different, strange, weird even but I love them and am so proud of them because of what they’ve done.
These funny looking hands have written two books and hundreds of thousands more words, including this blog post! My husband loves them too and was undeterred by the fact that he wasn’t slipping an engagement ring on a slender, well-manicured finger.
So here’s a challenge for you. Think of something that you don’t like about your appearance then reframe it. Consider what makes the perceived negative a positive. Think of a reason to be grateful for what that part of your body does, rather than what it looks like.
To help get you started, here are six examples.
1. Your stomach – That meal you ate before? Right now there’s a heap of complex biochemical reactions happening in your stomach. It knows the difference between vitamin K and vitamin D3 (and what to do with them) without having to do a Google search. Amazing.
2. Your feet (no, not crows feet!) – Because of your great feet (yes, the same ones you’ve called ugly and disgusting) you have really been places. Maybe it was around the world or maybe it was just around the corner but it was your beautiful feet got you there. Amazing.
3. Pregnancy stretch marks – Maybe your fantastic body created and sustained life? As Jessica Rudd said in her Mamamia piece a few years ago, her beautiful pregnant body “just knew what to do”. Stretch marks are a sign that your wonderful body CREATED LIFE! Seriously amazing.
4. Your lips – It’s those lips, attached to your winning smile that your partner first noticed about you. Don’t have a partner? No problems. I’m sure you’ll have a friend who loves those lips for all of the wise words that pass through them. Amazing.
5. Your nose – It’s only because of your nose that you can stop and smell the roses, literally. Appreciating the sensory bliss of your favourite scent or even your favourite meal, you have your nose to thank for that. Amazing.
6. Your arms – The last time you wrapped your arms in a comforting hug around someone, do you think their first thought was “tuckshop arms!”. No. They’re the same arms that carry groceries, clean the toilet and hang up the laundry, without complaining once. Gotta love ‘em!
Can you think of more? I’d really like to know about the things that you think make your body fantastic. Remember, screw convention – let’s all be proud of our bodies, regardless of how well they do or don’t fit into a narrow stereotype.
I think you’re amazing and I hope you think so too.
Lisa Cox is an awarded media professional, author, speaker and Board Director. She is based in Brisbane with her husband and loves being an Aunty. You can stalk her on Instagram… @lisacox.co