Friday, August 12, 2011

Unconditional Love for Self or Others is Never Bad but Maybe Your Definition Sucks

At the lake on a VERY windy day!
There is a wider conversation going on here, of course, about loving the body, thanks to a very damaging Glamour article entitled, Loving My Body Almost Killed Me.

(To read more about the many ways that that article is misleading and quite horrible beyond the title, go here and here.)


That is how sick we are in this culture, that we can write a title like that, but what does one expect from a magazine whose existence is predicated on the thesis that you are not happy with any aspect of your life? But wait! "They" have the answers and it all has to do with being thin and finding the right man and wearing sexy jeans.

Hurray for answers!


We are very messed up about love in this culture, in general. We think it's okay, for example, that people who "love" us, treat us badly. We don't see anything wrong with the way some parents abuse their children and we tell the adult child, "they loved you as best they could." No, actually, they didn't.

Let's stop using the word love in such filthy ways, shall we?

If you need a  brush up course on what unconditional love actually looks like in action, read this book. Like, right now.

For this post, let's focus on the body stuff, 'kay?

Unconditionally loving your body, as the author of that piece does not seem to understand, has two parts -- like the sides of a ladder.

She was trying to climb a ladder that was missing one side and that is always dangerous and well, stupid.

She understood that one side of the ladder was made up of "Acceptance," but she was missing the other side, "Care."

This is the magical formula:

Unconditional Love for Your Body = Acceptance + CARE

You cannot just take care of the body, either, because if you are not accepting, then "care" becomes as twisted as our twisted versions of what masquerades for "love" in these parts.

"Care" becomes that woman on the elliptical who has that dead look in her eyes (you know you've seen her) and the only light in them comes from the calorie counter in her head.

"Care" becomes the dude who thinks if his shoulders only get an inch bigger, he can finally have the life he always dreamed of.

"Care" becomes hording, vomiting, binging, lying, obsessing, hurting.

But if we accept our bodies as in this love equation, then care becomes feeding nutritious foods with that occasional yummy treat.

Care becomes dancing til you sweat buckets and fall over in a tumble of giggles -- from good tired and not from exhaustion.

Care becomes taking risks that push you past your comfort zones but are still safe and kind.

Care and acceptance.

Acceptance and care.

If you don't have both, you don't know what love is.

And that is what will kill you.

Because love is always good. Love is always the cure.


Rachel @ SuburbanYogini said...

And when you have it, it's all you need.
My next podcast has a section on small businesses and love - how that, not money, is what keeps them going. It's so important that we chanel the right love into our lives :)

JL @ Stop Chasing Skinny said...

CARE. Yes. That's exactly it. I want to wake up every day accepting this body but waking up with a clear intention --how will I care for this body today?--is exactly the thing I needed to understand better. Thank you!

Karen D said...


Susan said...

Awesomeness Christine. :) Spot on. :)

Jaliya said...

Christine ... RIGHT ON. I love your sass! xoxo

A couple of nights ago, I experienced a wave of mercy towards myself ... and then I made the experience more conscious --> I intended my mind toward my heart and laid one hand on my cheek, the other on my forehead, and I focused everything I've got on the word and action, "Soften" ...

The deepest, most abiding changes, I think, come in those moments ... when the *mind* has been softened into a conduit of conscious kindness ...

Anonymous said...

LOVE YOU! so true! speaker of truth! from wounds to wisdom!! :)