Forcing Myself to Accept My Body Didn’t Work. Here’s What DID.

image of bald male with dark black beard and eyebrows, facing camera with trees and bushes blurred in background for article about accepting my body

In the past, when therapists brought up the idea of re-framing my thoughts and loving my body I always had to fight the urge to say something incredibly sarcastic like, “and did you know that I walked on water too this morning?”

So I generally settled for conveying my feelings on the subject with a well practiced raising of my right eyebrow. And because that road had been a dead end several times over, the subject got dropped pretty quickly.

And yet…a year and a half into recovery I thought I might be ready to consider the idea of accepting my body.

When I thought about the stages I had been through in relation to my body, I had hurt it with an eating disorder, hated it in treatment and tolerated it in the name of recovery.  In rare moments of peace I felt neutral about my body, and with time I had accepted that this was my set point.

Acceptance is a buzz word. Don’t get me wrong – it is a better buzz to be on than hate.  But to me it feels passive and I’m definitely a fiery kind of chick.

To first get out of the eating disorder cage I had to get a little wild.  So I went for something a little different to acceptance.

I went for embracing.

Embracing has passion, it has power, and it has sass.  I like that combination of adjectives to describe me.  It makes my spirt go, “yeah!”.

Four years into recovery I don’t look in the mirror and say, “I look great”, because a mirror will never tell me how smart or funny I am or how many people love me.  To quote a therapist I once had,

The only thing a mirror is good for is to tell you if your fly is unzipped or if you have food on your face.

A friend can tell me all of those things.  They are the best kind of mirrors and much more fun to hang out with.

Embracing my body isn’t about how I look

It is about how I feel.  When I close my eyes and think of those words: “Power. Passion. Sass.”  I begin to feel it. It is about something much more than my body. It is something about my soul and something about my spirit.

And my soul wants to say “yes.  It wants to say “yes” to life, to waking up in the morning and feeling inspired.

My spirit wants to say “yes” to living with purpose.  It wants to scream so loud with pure pleasure it deafens any voice that dares tarnish the idea I am anything less than awesome.

So, I’m embracing. Not for how much I weigh or how I look, but for the feeling inside that speaks of gentle truth and fiery passion.  I’m rocking the world. Mine and others.

See you out there!

Image: nikarthur

Join the Conversation


  1. says: Helen

    Hey Kristie
    Today I quoted the mirror story to a very good friend I’d mine who was feeling yucky about herself
    So pleased you shared that with me at OB
    Love n hugs

  2. Hey Kristie
    Long time no see, glad you are doing well! Your headline caught my eye, and I am sure I can give that a go…I am looking at options on how to love my body too (not because of how it looks but because of how it feels. Tired, so tired! And pain 🙁 )
    But I am aware that this will help, acceptance feels like giving up to me. Where Embrace is an action I can take, I love your take on it. Thanks for sharing 🙂 xxx

  3. says: Xanthe Brennan

    I have also been reading this of late, which is quite helpful to me.
    Compassion – When you feel compassion for the part of you that’s suffering you switch from being the one in agony to loving the one in agony. When you become the one who loves, you have aligned yourself with the truth and with your real self. When you do it for the body, the soul lights up. Love.

  4. says: Kristie

    Thanks Helen, so pleased the mirror story is being shared – it’s a great one!
    Xanthe – I love your piece on compassion, thank you for sharing : )

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