Society puts an unfortunate amount of limitations and expectations on our bodies. There are extremely limited standards of beauty in our world: we have to conform to being thin or muscular, our skin color is used to evaluate how acceptable we are perceived as being, and we must be able-bodied in order to be seen as having potential. All of these are illusions and falsehoods and part of the collective ego, none of which serve us or help to expand the loving empathy we must develop for one another.
There is nothing wrong with recognizing the differences in other people. In fact, being blind to them often perpetuates this is toxic societal structure. Yet, it is a necessity that, even when we notice these differences and struggle to relate to them, we must still accept all other people for who they are and recognize that their bodies are innately wonderful and perfect. To begin this acceptance, we must first start with our own body.
Just like how fostering self-love increases the love that we feel for all others, learning to accept our own body will help us to value the differing bodies of others. When we recognize that our bodies are a vessel for the bright and radiant spirit that we are, we will recognize that everyone—behind the screen of their physical form—has the same illuminated self and infinite potential. If we cannot recognize this potential in ourselves and cannot accept the body we are within, how will we accept the bodies of others?
This blog is entering with the perspective of our bodies as a innately perfect, regardless of gender identity, sex, race, ability, and any and all other differences that our bodies are marvelously endowed with. Your body, just as you are in this moment right now, is accepted and loved by the Universe. Learning to manifest this self-compassion towards your own body will be the first step in transforming your connection to your own humanity and to all others on this planet. We all have parts of our bodies that we struggle to like, whether that is due to an illness or disability, dysphoria, how society has shamed our bodies, or other unfortunately scorned components of ourselves. This meditation will help us to heal these toxic impositions.
Accept Your Body Meditation:
- When beginning any meditation, find a calm and still place that you can pursue this practice. It is up to you if you decide to be clothed, semi-dressed, or nude—choose whatever you feel will best connect you to your body. It is also possible to practice this while bathing; the location and setting are completely up to you. Take some deep breaths, close your eyes, and center yourself as best as possible for beginning this meditation.
- Place one or both of your hands over your heart, if this motion is possible for you. (If you do not have mobility in your arms or you cannot hold this position, simply focus on your heart center and on the love contained there.) Say to yourself—aloud or in your head—“I am worthy, I am beautiful, I am loved, I am love.” When saying this, really mean your words, even if you don't fully feel the impact of the concept. Give yourself permission to believe it for this single moment. If you wish, you may take some time to repeat these affirmations as much as you need. Inhale deeply to accept a lot of loving energy, exhale to recite these affirmations.
- Begin to focus on an area of your body that you deem problematic. This can be as specific as a single blemish, an injury or source of pain, or your whole physique. Where you choose to bring your attention to is completely up to you—this is an individual practice, just you and your body. Take some time to breathe and bring a deeper awareness to this place of your body, perhaps visualizing your breath or a healing light traveling into it. You may choose to use this meditation to deepen this part of the practice here.
You may also wish to move one or both of your hands to the area you're focusing on, imagining that your hands are carrying loving energy with them. You can repeat this motion from your heart to the area of your body as much as you wish. If this is not possible, focus your attention on your heart and then the area you have designated this healing for, mentally traveling between the two locations.
- Now, with your full attention on this area of your body, repeat the above affirmations while addressing your body: “You, my body, are worthy. You are beautiful. You are loved. You are a vessel for me, and I am love.” You may choose to add “Body, you are a manifestation of love-incarnated.”
- Here, you have the ability to continue repeating affirmations, to return to the visualization of sending energy from your heart to your body, or to ask your body in this moment what it needs. If you choose to pursue the latter, simply ask the question “body, what do you need right now?” Then, sit in silence and wait for any intuition or impressions to arise. Don't resist what comes up, even if you feel that it may be inconvenient to pursue. Later, you can evaluate if any of the needs that arose are something that you wish to bring into your life as conscious action. What arises may be as subtle as this area of your body requesting a gentle touch, to something as complex as a dietary change for better nutrition. After asking for the needs of your body, whether you received any information or not, thank your body for all that it has done for you and for being with you in this moment of awareness.
- When you feel like you have taken the time you need to meditating with this area of your body, you may begin to close this meditation. Take another deep inhale, once again affirming that you are love, then exhale and release any stress and tension still with you. If possible, wiggle your fingers and toes, rock your head from side to side, and flutter your eyes open, all while being aware of the ability that your body gave you to even pursue this meditation. If this meditation itself brought up dysphoria or other uncomfortable feelings, do not resist sitting with the emotions and letting them be, as this is a part of your process towards beginning to accept your body for how is in this moment. If you need to, take some time for self-care, this list here may provide you with several options.
All of our bodies are means for personal expression, engaging ourselves with this world, and simply living. Despite all the pressures imposed on us from an egoic society, our bodies are worthy of love and acceptance, and fostering this will improve our overall quality of life. Your body is worthy, exactly as it was created and how it has morphed into the being that you are today.