Love, Always

What if you never hated your body, again? (This story could be your wake-up call.)

Recently, I visited the home of a woman I’d never met before — the relative of one of my clients.

I was visiting to collect some information that would hopefully assist with a tricky legal case that I was working on. (In addition to working as a coach and psychologist, I am also a licensed attorney [currently voluntarily inactive].)

I’d been told that the woman I was visiting had a few health problems.

But I wasn’t prepared for what I saw when I walked into her home.

I rang the doorbell. Her caregiver opened the door. He politely escorted me to the living room.

“Please wait here,” he said. “I’ll be back in a moment.”

When he returned, he was pushing a wheelchair. My client’s relative was seated in the chair.

“Hi,” she said, with a big, warm smile — a beautiful reminder that I live in the Aloha State. “Welcome. Thank you for driving all this way to see me.”

She looked relaxed and comfortable, dressed in a pretty t-shirt and a pair of shorts (it was very hot — 80 degrees). Then, my eye caught something I did not expect.

She was missing most of her right leg.

The stump was completely visible — she wasn’t trying to hide it.

“Diabetes,” she said, perceptively noticing… that I noticed.

“I’m sorry,” I replied.

“Don’t be,” she chuckled. “I’m blessed to have a second leg that does the job of two!”

“So, how can I help you?” she asked, clearly wanting to focus on assisting me, rather than garnering sympathy about her leg.

We spoke, and she provided the information that I needed.

But her real gift to me was her ease, her confidence, her humor, and the obvious acceptance that she has for her body. No shame. Just love and appreciation.

While many people “mask” sadness and anger with false cheerfulness, I could sense that this woman’s happiness was genuine.

I left her home feeling deeply moved — thinking about my own relationship with my body, through the years, and thinking about my friends and clients, and the lack of appreciation, even hatred, that so many of us direct towards our physical bodies.

“Ugh, my thighs are so big, they’re gross.”

“My boobs are so small, they’re weird and pathetic!”

“My skin is so oily, it’s disgusting!”

“Sex with the lights off, please. I don’t want you to see me…”

We may not always say these types of things out loud. But we think these thoughts.

It is time to stop treating our bodies like they are disfigured, broken or wrong.

It is time to start treating our bodies with appreciation and respect.

If Stephen Hawking — a man with limited physical capacity — can write books that change our understanding of the universe, we can do meaningful work and live in a state of wonder and curiosity, too.

If my client’s relative — confined to a wheelchair — can greet a guest in her home with warmth and humor, cracking jokes instead of seeking sympathy, we can be gracious and comfortable in our bodies, too.

The next time you feel a wave of negativity sweeping through your mind — directed at your body, or any other part of yourself — stop.

Remember the story I’ve just shared.

Remember what a miracle it is, simply to be alive.

Remember that your body is a gift that you were given at birth.

Love it. Respect it. Enjoy it, all the days of your life.

. . .

PS. Say something kind to your body, right now, as if you are speaking to a cherished friend. Try: “You are amazing and I love you.”