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On New Year’s Day, I woke up with a 103.2 fever and chills.
This could not be happening.
This was supposed to be the day of new beginnings, a fresh start, a new year.
Instead, it took all the little energy I had to get off the sofa and to the bathroom, much less pick up a pen and journal dreams and desires.

As I laid there, shivering and aching, looking like I was about to transition to the other side, I caught myself doing the same thing that I did for years when I struggled with my weight: being mean to my body.

Why are you such a mess?
I don’t have time for this.
Get your act together.

And, no different than when I struggled with weight, I wanted to leave my body.

I wanted nothing to do with her.

It was too painful to be there.

I wanted to check out.

Then, something glorious happened.

My gorgeous English Golden, Winston, who is one of the great loves of my life, had recently injured his leg from playing too hard.

As I laid there wanting to leave my physical body, I looked at him limping to his water bowl.

I thought, “Poor boy, he’s doing the best he can.”

My heart ached for him.

I didn’t see his limp as a weakness but a cry for love and attention.

For him, I only had unconditional love.

I burst into tears.

My body was the doing the best she could too.

She always has been.

All my life, she’s been right there pumping blood through my veins, helping me get to one place to another and working hard while I sleep to keep me alive.

Even with all the insults and abandonment, she’s never abandoned me. Not once.

She’s always been doing the best she can.

With this realization, I instantly stopped the berating and started showering my body with some much needed TLC: ordering up chicken soup, resting with no guilt, catching up on reruns of Sex and the City, and staying with my body every step of the way.

This is a sign of elegance — letting go of the beliefs that weigh you down. In fact, elegant women know how to listen to their bodies.

Life’s too short to fight with our body

We only have a finite amount of time on this planet. Really think about this.

Do you want to waste your precious energy fighting with your own body?

I know you don’t, but this has become a habit for many women.

We can find it easy to love our bodies when it’s behaving and looking the way we think it should.

However, a number on a scale, a dress that doesn’t fit exactly right, a diagnosis or a new wrinkle can catapult us into self-loathing.

I know, because this was my pattern for years.

This is not love. This is a poor substitute that is based on expectations and conditions.

It’s like saying to your child, “I’ll only love you if you do what I say.”

That’s called love with conditions, which challenges the question: is that really love?

Unconditional love has no conditions except to love.

It’s that love you have for your child or pet.

It’s choosing to love them no matter what.

They can poop on the floor, get arrested, talk back or flunk a class, and you still love them.

Why? Because it feels good to love.

What if we extended ourselves that same kind of love?

Loving yourself when . . .

. . . you’ve put on five or fifty pounds.
. . . you’re sick.
. . . you start to notice those beautiful laugh lines around your eyes.
. . . you’re too tired to tackle your to-do list.

How would you treat yourself differently?

Perhaps you’d . . .

. . . listen to what your body needs.
. . . nourish yourself with the best foods possible.
. . . be gentle and kind with the reflection in the mirror.
. . . exercise even when your mind is throwing a temper tantrum.
. . . extend yourself grace when you’re sick.

We’ve been taught to believe that to change something, we must fight against it.

Whip your body into shape.
Berate yourself enough to get your act together.
Punish yourself to the point that you’ll finally give in.

Let me ask you: how’s that been working for you?

Take it from a woman who knows: it doesn’t work long term.

On the other hand, when you have unconditional love and respect for yourself, do you know what happens?

You lose weight.
You become healthier.
You’re more confident and happy.
You make more money.

In other words, all that you want requires that you learn how to cultivate an unconditional love for yourself, starting with how you talk about and treat your own body.

You’ll never create what you desire by beating yourself up. Never!

Of course, this journey to self-love is easier said than done. It’s a commitment and practice.
I’ve had to use some backdoor approaches in the past, but it all boils down to this:

Life’s too short to place conditions on love, especially the love of our own glorious bodies.

Because after all,

She’s always doing the best she can.

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