Just to go on from my last post, there's another way to look at body image as well. How we view our bodies isn't just about what they look like but what they can actually do as well.
I've heard many mothers say they discovered a new-found respect for what their bodies could do after they had children. I'm not a mother myself but I find it amazing that we are able to grow another human being inside of us, manage to push that huge thing out and then nurture the baby with love and feed it from our own bodies.
Sometimes when I'm being active, whether it be "non-specific" activity or intentional exercise, I feel an awe at how much these strong machines can achieve. It's an awesome feeling when going for a walk, and feeling the power through your legs and the energy flowing through you. Other times when I've been doing specific strength training and feel that familiar post workout muscle burn, I like the feeling as it reminds me that I've been working hard and my muscles are really working for me.
So exercise can give you a big boost in self love I think.
What else I think is amazing about the body is that it is capable of self repair and regulation. I think that most of the time, the body is working to help us. The immune system is one example. Homeostasis is another - the maintenance of a stable internal environment in response to the changing external environment. Our bodies love to repair and renew us when we sleep. It's not called beauty sleep for nothing! Then there's the fact that our bodies give us lots of helpful signs and signals when things aren't quite right.
There's so many things to love about our bodies. I don't want to get into a whole philosophical discussion here, but I think we should view our souls (or spirit, or consciousness, or mind, or heart, or whatever you want to call it) and bodies as one entity, working together. We need to nourish both. In fact, that's the main premise behind the book "Fit Soul, Fit Body" - that we need to have a fit soul before we can truly have a fit body. Anyway, I'm going off on a tangent here. The important thing is to remind ourselves of all the awesome things that we can do through our bodies.