I have been thinking about this idea for a while. I never got around to it. It kept slipping from my mind because I really do avoid thinking about body image. It’s a sore spot. Recently, in therapy, it came up and I didn’t realize how much of a sore spot it was. Since that session, I can’t seem to get it out of my head. I’ve tried it all… nothing seems to work. Body image is now plaguing me! It now has to be dealt with, and there is no running from it.
In trying to figure out how to get relief and start healing. I decided to acknowledge what I’ve done to my body. I decided to look back and come to terms with it all. I decided to write an apology letter for all that I’ve done. I’m trying to learn how to appreciate my body for what it is, so logically, I should start by apologizing to it!
As I was writing and realizing all I’ve done, I re-read this letter and imagined if I were writing this letter to a friend. Our bodies are our friends, right? As I wrote, I realized how terrible this letter would sound if it were going to a close friend of mine. I would never treat any friend this way, but it was okay to do it to my body; myself?
With that said…. Below is the letter to my body.
Let’s clear the air and talk about the elephant in the room. There has been some tension between us. I think most of it is my own doing. I have to admit, I feel like a complete hypocrite. I find beauty in other women’s bodies, and try my best to encourage them to see the beauty in it, when all along I was ashamed of you. I’ve been so focused on your “imperfections” when I should have seen what you’ve done for me.
I am so sorry for the way I’ve treated you through the years. I’m sorry that I thought you were never good enough. I’m sorry for what I’ve said to you; yelled at you. That you’re too fat, not strong enough, too muscular, not thin enough, not flat enough, too soft.
It would be easy for me to point my finger at our Western culture and say that the messages sent by the media did it all. That would be a lie. Sure, they didn’t help, but some of the decisions I made were my own. I’m sorry that I allowed the photoshopped images to tell me that you weren’t good enough. I’m sorry that I never focused on what we could do together.
I’m sorry I don’t love you yet. I’m sorry I don’t appreciate you the way I should. I do have to be honest; you’ve done a lot for me. You’ve done so much for me, and I have not repaid you in any way. In fact, I have punished you for what you’ve given me.
I punished you for not listening to me, not reacting the way I expected, not giving me what I want. What I didn’t realize is that every decision you made was to save my life. When I wanted your number to get lower, and you wouldn’t budge, I was angry; furious; but it was for my own good. It was to save my life. I’m sorry that I didn’t (couldn’t) see it. I’m sorry that I revolted against you and just punished you further because I was sure you just didn’t get it. I do see it now.
I’m sorry for trying to “fix” you. For trying to take control and change who you really are. For depriving you of what you needed while feeding you the exercise I thought you should use. I neglected to give you the bare essentials that you needed, but you were still there for me. Even though I took from you, you still protected me.
I’m sorry for thinking you failed me in the past. When I was little. When I got injured. When I was trying to recover from surgery. I’m sorry I was angry with you for what you really didn’t do. I realize that you didn’t fail me… instead, I wasn’t listening to you. For the most part, you have done what was asked, and I only focused on your failures. You sent me critical messages that you were in a crisis, and I ignored you. I thought you were weak when things became dangerous. I was angry that you couldn’t keep up with my terrible regiments. I’m sorry. You were trying to save me.
I’m sorry for not trusting you. For thinking that I know better, and that you didn’t have the understanding of what was important. I’m sorry for letting you down when all you were trying to do is support me. Trust isn’t something that comes lightly, and I ignored what you tried to give me. I understand why you don’t trust me. After all of this, who would?
I’m listening now. You are a precious gift given from God. I only get one “vehicle” in this life, and it’s time to really appreciate who you are, and what you can do. You’ve carried me through 31 years of my life, and you’ve promised to continue doing so, without me asking. You just want me to take care of you.
I know our relationship is a work in progress. I’m really trying here. I will try. I will work. It’s not that I don’t want to love you, because I do. I really do. I will learn to appreciate you for what you can do; what you have done. It’s time. Time to stop criticizing you. Time to focus on your strength. Time to appreciate you. Time to embrace you. It might take a little work, but I’ll get there.
Hopefully soon I’ll be writing you again… but this time… a Thank You letter acknowledging how much I appreciate you and all you’ve done.
Until then… please know that I do really care.