28
Apr 2016

A letter to my body

There’s always a moment when we “wake up” to the state of our body and notice, “oh crap, I look like sh*t.” That instant is filled with so much pain, judgement and sadness. We feel so much regret for all of the cookies we ate or mornings we pressed snooze instead of going to Zumba. If you had just been more careful, you may have avoided this situation. How did you end up here again?

Then comes the overwhelm. The mental lists of the new way you’re going to eat, all of the workout classes you need to sign up for and the fantasies of how amazing life will be when you’re back to the way you used to be.

I used to have these moments of despair all the time. And I used to think that the way to avoid it was to pick a diet, stick to it and never gain weight ever again, but I kept finding myself back in this bottomless pit of sadness around my body.

A lot has changed for me around my relationship with my body over the past few years and having children has forced me to dig even deeper.

When Annabelle was six months old, after doing a workout class with lots of mirrors and skinny women, I had one of those “oh crap. I look like sh*t” moments. And I knew in an instant that I could go down the rabbit hole or I could tap into what is true about my body. I pulled out my phone, and in the notes section wrote my body a letter:

Dear Body,

Thank you for being there for me and my babies over the past 3 years. You have grown two humans, birthed two humans, breastfed two humans, held and snuggled them. You have willingly digested a lot of bread and ice cream. You have reached into the depths of your adrenals to find the energy to parent and build a business on very little sleep. You have played second fiddle to work, children and my soul. And you never complained. I will never ever turn around and be mad at you for looking the way you do as your state has been manifested by deep service to our life.

I will only say THANK YOU! Thank you thank you for your diligent, unwavering, deep loving care.

Now that Annabelle is six months and I am sleeping more, I realize that you need love. You need connection, movement, stretching and healthy food. You deserve to feel alive, at ease, strong, nourished and filled up. You are also my baby and I will care for you so. Thank you for waiting so patiently.

Starting now, you are now one of my priorities. Kids, body, marriage, soul work and work work can take a back seat to make room and I know that my next level will come from me building a new, strong relationship with you.

Love love love,

Sarah

I invite you to see the truth about your body and all she does for you. Write her a letter to tell her you really see her. Like a mother who has never heard “thank you” after years of selflessly raising children, you will feel your body melt in the joy of being appreciated.

Being a woman with a body is complicated, and we need each other to move through some of these sticky spots. If you know someone who may find this helpful, I hope you’ll send them this article. Why stay on the surface when we can get deep and real with each other?

In the comments I would love to read your letter to your body if you are willing to share. Know that your example of love will inspire so many women in this community.

I can’t wait to hear from you,

Sarah

We would love to hear from you, leave a comment.

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  • Hilary

    I can’t thank you enough for this post. It really, really resonated with me. I feel like I need to print it out and take it with me where ever I go to remind myself of the need for self-care!

  • Dear Sarah – your letter to your body brought tears to my eyes. Your words were ones I need to say to myself as well, thanking my body for the ways it’s been there for me, honoring it rather than chastising or insulting it. I think writing that kind of letter to my own body would be a very good thing. I’m going to need to think on what I want and need to say, but if I’m able, I will come back and share it with you.

    Thank you for starting me on this important step.

    • Thank you Sherry. Please do take the time to do it. It’s so healing and you’ll have so much love and respect for all of the things your body does for you that you aren’t always tuned in to.

  • Thank you, Sarah.
    They were the right words at the exact time that I needed them.
    Exact.
    This woman is writing the letter today.
    xo

    • Hi Heather. If you’re open to sharing it with us when you’re ready, we’d love for you to share. I’m so glad the post inspired you to take this action.

  • Sandy Whitehead

    Dear Body,
    First of all I want to say that I have been taking you for granted for a long time. Sarah just made me realize that I have been putting you last for years (60 to be exact). OK then, Now that I have acknowledged you I have to say you have done a great job. You have carried me through thick and thin even though I have neglected you. I have a greater desire to honor you and feed you properly. I have done a pretty good job of feeding you spiritually but have falled short on loving your physical body. I am pretty hard on you. Knit-picking every detail that does not match up with how I should look. For that I am sorry. I appreciate you and love you. You have done so much for me.
    Love,
    Sandy

  • Ashlee

    Dear body,
    I know I am hard on you. I know I look in the mirror quite often, roll my eyes in disgust and walk away.
    But it’s time to change, because you have done so much for me.
    You have grown two human beings (well, you’re currently in the process of finishing up the second one). You have birthed a beautiful baby boy, and I know you’ll do a great job with this next one. You have fed my son. You are who my children go to for warmth, comfort and protection.
    Parenting is hard, but you have mustered up the energy to get up in the middle of the night to breastfeed, to comfort. After those late nights, you manage to get up and work a full day to help pay those pesky bills. Even at six months pregnant, you amaze me because you can do all that and more.
    So from now on, I will try and show you more love. I won’t sit on the sidelines this summer and cover you up. I will join the fun with my son and enjoy these fleeting moments of his childhood. I will point out what I find beautiful in photos of me rather than pick at what I don’t like. I will be kinder when I notice those soft spots.
    Because even though you may not look like you did when I was in my 20s, you have given me more happiness than I could ever ask for. You have helped me create this life of mine that I am beyond blessed to live.
    So thank you, body. Thank you for everything.
    Love,
    Ashlee

  • Nataliya

    I didn’t write a letter to my body, per se, but I’ve had much more success in finding balance between diet rebellion and good nutrition since I decided to celebrate my body instead of lamenting all of its flaws.
    Slightly different approach, but the same idea. Good post, Sarah.

  • Dear Body,

    Thank you for always being there for me. For consuming the junky, chemical-laden, processed shit that I binged on when I was sad, mad, depressed, anxious, confused, control-less, or otherwise emotional.
    Thank you for standing tall even as your thighs grew closer together, your muffin top grew over your pants, and your skin showed signs of poor self-care.

    Thank you for consuming everything I forced you to and taking the punishment I inflicted on you after deciding to move to California eight years ago for an asshole who abandoned me once I got there. Thank you for being my punching bag of endless bingeing and chronic laziness when I believed that I couldn’t trust myself or my decisions after he broke my heart.

    Thank you for showing me I was living an insincere life in Denver four years after the California debacle. Eating, eating, eating to numb the pain of the truth that the life I was living wasn’t meant for me and that I needed to make the tough choice: break someone else’s heart, quit my job, move back in with my parents and press the “reset” button on my life.

    Thank you for saving my life three years ago by shutting down and causing unimaginable pain when a blood clot formed in my head after being on a dangerous birth control.

    I’ve put you through so much and you kept a smile on your face throughout it all. You hid my internal pain in the bulging waistbands and tight shirts. You rocked leggings when my jeans no longer fit. You patiently waited until I was ready to deal with these issues and find ways to trust myself and my decision-making abilities once again.

    You found ways to heal my heart and feel good again through life-changing moments of traveling to Guatemala to build a bottle school for kids, trusting my intuition to quit a unfulfilling job in pursuit of creating a self-guided and soulful business of my own, and be vulnerable enough to fall in love again and build a wonderful life with my soul mate.

    I’m eternally grateful for you. I commit to making loving decisions that come from a place of expansion and abundance instead of a place of fear and control. I’ll do my part to guide you to exist better. We’re all in this together; mind, body and soul.

    With love, compassion, and commitment,
    Your heart & soul

    • Your body has done so much for you and this letter is so touching and so beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us.

  • Great post Sarah. I recently wrote a letter for my body and for the mama’s body as a resource of my program Busy Mamas Shine:
    “Today I am open to accept a new image of myself
    I am working on accepting and loving every part of my body as it is.
    Today I am grateful for my body, for everything I am capable of doing and experiencing through it
    I am grateful for my heart beat that pumps energy to all my cells and for my lungs that clean the blood and provide fresh oxygen without me thinking or worrying about them
    I recognize that I am perfect as I am.
    I understand we all are different sizes and shapes and that is ok.
    Today, I free myself for wanting to fit into a small size or for desiring to look like the fake model on the magazine cover
    I am choosing to see myself as a perfect creation and to see everyone else’s true beauty.
    I am choosing to release all negative and unloving thoughts about my body and to accept myself as I am.
    I honour my skin, my curves, my post baby body and all the signs and reminders that I am a mama
    My body was able to provide a home for my baby while it was growing safe inside me and I see that as a miracle I was able to witness closely
    I am now ready to let go of my former body and embrace and accept the new one” © Paola Espinel at http://www.bewisebehealthy.com

    • Beautiful Paola. Thank you for sharing. I’m sure this has been so inspiring for the women in your program as well. xo

  • Leslie

    Dear Body,

    I am sorry. I am sorry that my love and appreciation for you is contingent on how well you’re performing. I am sorry I use the word “HATE” in reference to you so much… or at all. I have asked A LOT of you over the years and you have done your very best to deliver. I have deprived you of nourishment and punished you with binging and purging, alcohol, (and even the occasional drug) and obsessive exercise usually followed by extreme laziness. Then I get angry at you when you falter and give me pain. You don’t deserve that.

    You have run miles and miles for me and pedaled thousands more. You have carried me through illness and injury, even the self-inflicted ones… especially the self-inflicted ones. There are parts of you that ache every day and I get angry and frustrated with you but still you keep going. I feed you crappy food I know you don’t like and still you keep going.

    You carried my babies. You kept them safe and healthy even when I pushed you too hard. And when R was born and my brain was tormented with postpartum depression you ran. And you ran and you ran and let me push you so I could recover mentally and emotionally and be the best mom to my new baby that I knew how to be. And then you did it all over again, probably too soon, with T. Remember the time I was pregnant with T and carrying R and fell down the stairs? You instinctively twisted mid-fall to protect my boys from what could have easily been terrible injury or even death. You did that. I don’t think I ever thanked you for that.

    I never say anything kind or loving to you and still you show up for me every day. I call you names and turn away from you in disgust and you keep going, doing the best you can with how little I give you.

    I am so, so sorry. You don’t deserve this treatment. Please forgive me. And if you can’t, I understand. But please know that as of this very moment, I promise you that I am going to do better. I am going to listen to you and try very hard to give you what you need. I am going to say THANK YOU every day and let you know you are appreciated… and loved. Because I do… I love you, body. I love you. And I’m going to start treating you like it. Please don’t give up on me. I will do better.

    – Leslie

    • Leslie, thank you so much for sharing. How are you feeling now that you’ve written this letter?

      • Leslie

        I feel more aware… more present in my body and I’ve noticed that I feel more ready to honor her (me) in her (my) present state rather than waiting to lose xxx lbs before yyy.

        • I’m so happy to hear you are connecting to your body and yourself in this way. It’s amazing how our bodies shift when we start speaking to them with love.

  • Marilyn

    I started this letter right after I read your blog post. It was a much needed inspiration to focus on what my body has been vs all the years of what I’ve felt it hasn’t been. She so deserved a love letter. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Dear Body,

    I’m so grateful…

    You are my vessel of being, doing, and experiencing

    You are the eyes that behold beautiful sunsets and the devilish smile of my husband

    You are ears gifting me the melodious laughter and bird’s morning chorus

    You are the mouth tasting smooth, dark chocolate then speaks that sweetness to others

    You are the heart beating to its own drum and flutters with anticipation at the touch of my Lover

    You are arms embracing the shoulder of my friend and cradled my newborn nieces and nephews

    You are fingers turning the page to the novel, and massages the tension from my Love’s back

    You are the belly undulating in laughter and fills with butterflies at the charting of a new course

    You are hips swaying to the rhythm and the curve that reminds me I’m a woman

    You are thighs powering our determined stride and the lap for my pups to lay their head

    You are the feet that have supported me as I’ve stood my ground and walk in step with another when they needed a companion

    You support me, push me, love me. You are my barometer and friend.

    From head to toe, I am grateful.

    • This is beautiful, Marilyn. Thank you for sharing what you have written to your body- so glad you were inspired.

Sarah Jenks

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