Body Image and Self-Acceptance

For how many years have I wanted my body to be different?

As I sit here in the middle of my sixth-and-a-half decade, I look back and remember …

  • Refusing to tuck my blouses in during my high school years, for fear of exposing my large (I was certain) rear end
  • Always wearing sweaters in college, even when it was too warm for them, to cover my belly
  • Tucking my fingers in when talking to people, for fear of them seeing the white dots on my nails.

And on and on the painful memories go. This pattern of self-rejection isn’t completely gone, but, for today, my prayer is to accept my body as it is.

For, when I accept my body as it is, when I relax into that place of radical compassion for myself, I make the boldest, the bravest, the most feminist, the most spiritual choice I possibly can: I choose myself as I am.

As that self-acceptance comes into me, the heaviness of the shame (“Oh, look at my sagging chin….”) and the guilt (“Did I really eat all of those?”) begins to lift. That is the real weight I carry—the self-judgment, the shame, the guilt. They burden me with their bulk; they exhaust me with their immensity.

As I land in the moment with acceptance, I am freed up to take right action, not because I “should,” not because something outside myself tells me to. I am able to take actions that bring me into alignment with the wisdom of my body.

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Aruni Nan Futuronsky is a Kripalu Yoga teacher, life coach, and Legacy Faculty member for Kripalu R&R and Kripalu programs.

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