My Vessel, My Temple

To find a person 100 percent comfortable in their own skin is about as hard as striking gold in a mine full of dusty rocks; yes, it happens, but so rarely that the occurrence surprises everyone, even making those around jealous of the success of the newly rich miner. 

We all struggle with self doubt. We doubt the things we can do. We doubt our skills and strengths. We doubt our our brilliance and beauty. 

Most of us are unhappy with some physical aspect of our bodies: We’re too fat. Too skinny. Too tall. Too short. We don’t have enough definition. We’re too bulky. Our hair is too frizzy. Our lips are too wide, or not wide enough. Our eyebrows aren’t defined enough. Our feet are too big. We have man hands. Our hair is greying too early. We’re not curvy enough. Our boobs are too big, but our butts are too small. 

We focus constantly on our outward appearance and how others perceive us. Introduced by the culture of extremely thin models, boasting a physique that the majority of us will never, and could never achieve, and further emphasized by our dependency on social media, and constant comparison to the perceived lives of those around us, our minds are warped into thinking that we are anything but beautiful. 

While I love the self love movements of the recent years, often I think that women are told to all-the-sudden drop any self-doubts and insecurities and just love themselves no matter what, which is so much harder than it sounds. You can’t change your relationship with anyone overnight, and certainly not with yourself. There has to be a balance between going weekend warrior style, working out harder than you ever have once or twice, feeling completely dead, than pronouncing self love while you binge on four cheeseburger and a bucket of fries.

Balance is the key, we’ve all heard it. Sometimes you need to treat yourself. We only have one life and if we focus solely on counting our macros and staying in our allotted daily calorie count, we won’t enjoy this short time we have on earth. There has to be an in between ground between the intense restriction and actions out of hate, and the over the top binges that leave us feeling empty, guilty, and overall just bad. 

I love my body for what it can do, not what it looks like. My body is my vessel. My body is my temple. 

What if our self image was completely disconnected to our bodies. What if we didn’t look in the mirror in the morning reminded of that extra slice of pizza or the missed run. What if instead of stepping on the scale and letting a number control how we feel about ourselves, we focused on what our bodies can do and how they make us feel. 

I am prey to negative body image. As an athlete and former dancer, and as a young girl whose grown up with the constant competition through social media, I’ve always been hyper aware of what my body looks like. My weight has fluctuated significantly throughout my life, in ways that can seem unhealthy on both ends of the spectrum. I can’t say I don’t constantly look in the mirror. I can’t say that some days I don’t feel too big or too heavy, and vow to eat less the next day. There are also days I worry I don’t eat enough and eat more than I comfortably want to just because I think others think I should. When I get caught up in my head, I think about how silly the whole premise is. What I look like defines literally nothing. No one will love me any more or any less if I lose or gain a few pounds. What really matters is who I am. 

I love my body for what it can do, not what it looks like. My body is my vessel. My body is my temple. 

We overemphasize appearance so much, yet disproportionately consider health. At the end of the day, the actions we take fight or invite disease. The foods we eat, the movement we do, and the thoughts we tell ourself affect our happiness and greatly determine our mental and physical health. 

What if self love could be defined as the actions we take that help us live our longest, happiest, most fulfilled lives. Lives that allow us to live a little greater, jump a little higher, and reach all of the goals we strive for. 

I want to eat right and move my body because that’s what makes me feel good. When I move it improves my mood. It helps me sleep. It helps me make connections with so many different people. The more I move the more I crave nourishment for my body. When I fuel my body with the right foods, I feel incredible. When I pour processed and fried foods into my body, my mood drops, my fatigue increases, and I feel achy and sluggish. I choose to eat real foods because I feel incredible. I am not forcing myself to eat kale because I hate it and want to be skinny. I’m eating it because the perfect sauteed kale makes my taste buds soar, and it makes my body feel oh so good. I’m not running 6 miles to punish myself. I’m running because there’s nothing like feeling the adrenaline rush after. There’s nothing like accomplishing something you never thought you would, and going past it. There’s nothing like the sore muscles, and the intense clarity gained from being alone with yourself. The moving meditation.

I love my body for everything it does. I want to treat it right so I can be strong. So I can be flexible. So I can hike mountains, sail ships, explore the world, and not let anything hold me back. So I can set goals in any aspect of my life and know I have the drive and mental ability to achieve them. So I also have the skills to cope and reassess when I don’t.

I love my body for what it can do, not what it looks like. My body is my vessel. My body is my temple.

Our souls are truly who we are. Our physical bodies connect us on the surface level. We are attracted to looks, which drive our first impressions, but ultimately you connect with people based on who they really are on the inside. Our bodies serve as a vessel to get us through life, housing our souls which encompass who we are. Our bodies are so much stronger than we think they are. Our minds are as strong as we condition them to be. Our physical bodies don’t make us a harder worker, a nice person, or a compassionate human being. Our bodies serve as the vessel to allow us to do the things we want to do, and a way to exist in the world. 

Why do we attach so much judgement and hate to what these vessels look like? Why do we allow them to predetermine our friends, partners, and our perceived social status?

I want to make my body physically strong so I can do the things that set my soul on fire and make my heart sing. Breaking yourself down and tearing yourself apart over your physical body prevents you from living your fullest life. I want to take care of my vessel to stay healthy in mind and body. Whatever healthy means is what I want my body to look like. I want to stop focusing on exactly what that is for myself and others, and I want other people to stop comparing and judging what that is for me and themselves. 

I love my body for what it can do, not what it looks like. My body is my vessel. My body is my temple.

I wrote this back in May and just stumbled across it again. Every single word rings so true and I identify with each word just as much as I did the day I wrote it. I hope you can find love for your vessel, your temple.

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