How To Love Yourself

Eat Pray Love
Eat Pray Love

It starts like this: you look in the mirror at noon when the sun is brightest. You do this in a bathroom without stained glass windows. You do not filter out the light through blinds. You look at yourself hard in every glaring, flattering, unflattering, beautiful detail. You see the acne scars that won’t shed for another ten years from one week of face-picking. You see things that are airbrushed away by candle-light, by catch-up compliments, by Instagram filters. You see the things you forget.

You have forgotten. You forgot your laugh. It’s not about how it sounds, but how it makes you feel. You see, you only laugh when you are happy. You forgot your eyes. You only see the blurry, myopic vision of the world your genetics gave you. You forgot the colour that was not lost. You forgot your intact, mobile limbs. They give you life. They give you purpose. They give you a means to walk and hold and hug. They let you move.

Here’s that mole you’ve always hated. Love it. Love it because it is a part of you. Love it until it becomes pre-cancerous. Love it even if it destroys you. Love your bleeding, dry, scabby cuticles. Love the vertical ridges on your nails. Love the fine hairs on your knuckles that you’re so sure people look at when you pick something up. Love the scar on the back of your left hand. Love your short fingers. Stop seeing them as ‘short fingers’ and just as ‘fingers’ instead. Be grateful you have fingers. Be grateful you have all your fingers. Love your ear-lobes. Stop checking them for size. Stop checking yourself for size. Stop outlining your skin in numbers.

Stop counting the blisters on your toes. Stop hunching over on the scales to check if you have become any less of yourself. Stop thinking of your body in terms of long and short and fat and small and large and size. What you have is a body. What you have even more is a mind. How do you measure your thoughts? Is there a sizing chart for your infinite imagination? Count dreams instead, then, maybe. Count hopes and moments and even the number of breaths in a minute. Stop forgetting you have the great privilege of breathing.

And when all this is over, do it again. Remember yourself. Remember yourself when you are crying or smiling or when you have drool out the corner of your mouth. Remember yourself on the days you don’t feel quite as beautiful as the way you do look. You cannot tolerate yourself. You cannot just bear your body. You accept it in its entirety. You love it because it is yours. You love it because when we leave our consciousness, there is nothing to take with you, not even this body, so you’d better love it while it lasts. TC Mark

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