The other day I listened to a young man tell me he didn’t want to shave because he didn’t like the shape of his chin. He thought growing some scruff on his face would hide what he thought was an imperfection.
I was dumbfounded. I had never given his chin a second thought. Who thinks about chins?? I keep thinking about his perfectly fine chin, wondering about my tummy that’s never as flat as I’d like it to be. I started wondering if other people stare at my tummy thinking it doesn’t look the way it should. I think about that All The Time. Every Day.
Could it be possible that other people aren’t looking at my stomach? I’m feeling perplexed by this thought. If there is a possibility that might be true, I have wasted a good part of my life worrying about something for naught.
Then I started thinking about my legs. They are really long. And really thin. I never think about my legs. They are nothing to me. They just take me places. I never think “look at my skinny legs” because I’m thinking, “don’t look at my fat tummy.” Now I’m wondering if anyone even ever cares what I look like. People probably are more concerned about whether or not I’m nice to them.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”
I’m going to try to stop thinking so much about what I think I look like.
Here is a really good article I found a few weeks ago. I’ve already read it several times. I needed to hear this:
Your Body Is Not Your Masterpiece
Glennon Doyle Melton Huffington Post, 08/05/2014
It is suggested to us a million times a day that our BODIES are PROJECTS. They aren’t. Our lives are. Our spirituality is. Our relationships are. Our work is.
Stop spending all day obsessing, cursing, perfecting your body like it’s all you’ve got to offer the world. Your body is not your art, it’s your paintbrush. Whether your paintbrush is a tall paintbrush or a thin paintbrush or a stocky paintbrush or a scratched up paintbrush is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is that YOU HAVE A PAINTBRUSH which can be used to transfer your insides onto the canvas of your life — where others can see it and be inspired and comforted by it.
Your body is not your offering. It’s just a really amazing instrument which you can use to create your offering each day. Don’t curse your paintbrush. Don’t sit in a corner wishing you had a different paintbrush. You’re wasting time. You’ve got the one you got. Be grateful, because without it you’d have nothing with which to paint your life’s work. Your life’s work is the love you give and receive — and your body is the instrument you use to accept and offer love on your soul’s behalf. It’s a system.
We are encouraged to obsess over our instrument’s SHAPE — but our body’s shape has no effect on it’s ability to accept and offer love for us. Just none. Maybe we continue to obsess because as long we keep wringing our hands about our paintbrush shape, we don’t have to get to work painting our lives. Stop fretting. The truth is that all paintbrush shapes work just fine -and anybody who tells you different is trying to sell you something. Don’t buy. Just paint.
No, wait. First, stop what you are doing and say THANK YOU to your body. Right now. Say THANK YOU to your eyes for taking in the beauty of sunsets and storms and children blowing out birthday candles and say THANK YOU to your hands for writing love letters and opening doors and stirring soup and waving to strangers and say THANK YOU to your legs for walking you from danger to safety and climbing so many mountains for you.
Then pick up your instrument and start painting this day beautiful and bold and wild and free and YOU.