People have all kinds of relationships with their own bodies, for all kinds of reasons. But mostly people have at least had a thought, when put to some physical inconvience like breathing hard climbing stairs or trying to put on a pair of too-tight pants: "Stupid body, why are you like this?"
For other people, it's more than a passing thought. Some people live under a perpetual grind of body-negativity: Too fat. Too skinny. Too weak. Too thick. Too hairy. Too soft. Too little. Too much.
Or maybe those self-criticisms don't much sound like they're about the body at all: Too anxious. Too needy. Too sensitive. Too spacey. Too lazy. Too dumb.
And listen, it's okay sometimes to think, "What's wrong with me?" because sometimes, there is indeed something wrong that ought to be addressed.
But your body isn't wrong. Your body is doing its job, the best it can, in the environment it's in and with the resources it has.
This can be kind of a hard paradigm shift. We're so exposed to casual negative self-talk that it's sometimes hard even to recognize it for what it is.
And for folks managing chronic illness or pain or disability, I don't mean to come across as dismissing or trivializing that. I literally just mean: our bodies are doing the best they can. Some bodies face challenges that others don't have, but all bodies are doing their best, in the environment they're in, using the resources they have.
When I talk about bodies, I'm also talking about minds. If you refer to an anatomical diagram, you may notice (surprise!) that our brains are part of our bodies. Mental health is inextricably connected to physical health. The mind is a manifestation of the body, including not just the brain but the entire nervous system and endocrine system, which are intimately linked to the immune system and digestive system, and to energy metabolism and the musculoskeletal system.
The mind isn't separate from the body. Your mental processes are running on your meat hardware, fed by the neurochemicals generated by your guts out of the food you eat, shaped by the hormones regulated by the same endocrine system that has to upregulate and downregulate stress and appetite and libido and energy production.
Your body is doing its best. Making peace with this idea -- embracing this idea -- lets you begin to appreciate the job your body is doing: keeping you alive and getting you around, enabling you to have experiences and giving you an existence in the world that is totally unique to you.
So: what does your body do that's pretty remarkable? How does it enable you to live your life in ways that you appreciate?