The Beauty of Self-Acceptance

It was my birthday the other day, and I woke up not loving my body.

I’d gained a little weight recently, and I was getting confused and impatient with myself. I rolled out of bed and tried pulling on the largest pair of jeans I had, only to find out they no longer fit.

I was flooded self-criticism, shame, and discomfort. That itchy feeling when you want to crawl out of your skin. But I knew from experience that hating my body and wanting to leave it was only going to spiral into more unhealthy decisions. I tried my best to tell myself I loved my body, but it wasn’t working. No matter what I did, part of me still couldn’t accept the fact that I wasn’t fitting into my largest pair of jeans.

I went to yoga. Moving through the poses helped me connect to my body, remember my strength, and chill out. And only in relaxing could I open to what happened next. 

Laying on my mat in the final pose of savanasa, I felt light and free, like I was transcending my body and joining with something bigger. And it hit me—it wasn’t MY birthday, it was my body’s birthday. My temporary physical form that I’d left on my mat has lived on this planet for 31 years, and that’s really what this day is all about. 

With tears streaming into my ears, I returned to my body. I thanked it deeply for everything it does for me. I asked what it wanted on its birthday, and it responded, “Please get me some beautiful, comfortable clothes that fit!”

So that’s exactly what I did.  

I walked over to 5th Ave. The tears kept coming as I slipped into pretty new things in a dressing room—not out of shame, failure, or hating the way I looked, but from an overwhelming sense of fullness. My body was thanking me for accepting it exactly as it is, and I was filled with an incredible sensation of bliss.

The rest of my birthday was light and happy. I ate healthy foods and treated my body with reverence and love. Of course, when we accept our bodies exactly as they are, we naturally make healthier, more loving choices. 

That night after spending time with friends, I went to bed with a whole new appreciation for my body, and a deeper understanding of the importance of self-acceptance. I realized that trying to fit into any mold—whether a certain sized jeans or a societal standard of beauty—would only provide me with the opposite of what I truly wanted. I was reminded that no matter what I do or don't fit into, I have the power to remember I am beautiful, whole and accepted, exactly as I am.