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Respecting Your Body

by TSF Volunteer Sara Oliveri

Your body is the only place in the world you have to live. Take good care of it.

RESPECT: respect Your browser may not support display of this image. rɪˈspɛkt Your browser may not support display of this image. [ri-spekt]

    • Value, Admire, Think Highly Of

    • Appreciate, Regard, Show Consideration For

    • Recognize, Follow, Obey, Accept

    • Abide by, Comply with, Take Responsibility For

Every morning I wake up- expecting that my body will wake up with me. And do you know what? EVERY MORNING IT HAS! Furthermore, I expect that once it’s awake it will continue to function flawlessly throughout the day. And you know what? MOST OF THE TIME IT DOES! This is an incredible miracle.

Even if I get one hour of sleep I wake up – and I expect my body to come with me for the rest of the day. It does. Even if I forget to eat every single meal—I keep moving and expect my body to keep moving with me. It does.

My body is the vehicle that allows me to move and exist in the world. I would never put one gallon of gas in my car and expect it to run all day long. Or fill its tank with water instead of gasoline and expect it to go. And even when I treat my car well – sometimes it refuses to start. My body never does this to me. Yet I can remember plenty of times I’ve filled my body with junk food instead of real food, given it one hour of sleep instead of eight, and always expected it to move me through the whole day.

(My body. My beautiful body, who has run marathons for me, given and received kisses for me, fought diseases for me, stayed up all night with me, and accepted countless hugs on my behalf. This is the body I have cut-down with words like disgusting, ugly, imperfect, slow. This is the body has done everything for me.)

When I think of all my body has done for me, even during times when I have shown no appreciation, I feel so sorry and ungrateful.

But, I am still alive. My body has not given up on me yet. I have the chance to show my body the respect it deserves.

I can listen to it more carefully.

Speak to it more gently.

And treat it more lovingly.

Everything about my face, arms, legs, hands, and hair is exactly how it was meant to be. The part that’s up to me is what I choose to do with this face, these arms, these legs, these hands, and this hair. And whether these things Respect (VALUE, LOVE, and TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR) the parts I have been given.

I can exercise respect in:

    • What I speak about my body.

    • What I put into my body.

    • How I present my body.

    • How I strengthen my body.

    • The activities I ask my body to perform.

    • The places I ask my body to inhabit.

    • The rest I allow my body to take.

    • The people with whom I choose to share my body.

When I am truly respecting my body all of the above tell my body “I LOVE YOU. YOU ARE MY MOST VALUABLE POSSESSION.”

We can choose to see our bodies as a burden; something that doesn’t always, look, act, move, behave, the way we might like it to.

Or, in any moment, we can choose to see our bodies as an extraordinary reminder that WE ARE ALIVE.”


What do YOU want to do with this aliveness?


  1. Write down three people you respect or enjoy spending time with.

    Now, write down 3 reasons you respect or enjoy spending time with these people. (We’ll come back to this)

  1. Take a moment to write down your two favorite body parts based on their function and not on their appearance. Explain why they are your favorite and what they do for you. What have they already done for you today?

Take some breaths and really and truly tell your body THANK YOU.

    Now look at what you wrote about the 3 people you respect and enjoy spending time with.

    Would any of these things change is the person dyed their hair? Lost their hair? Gained ten pounds? Had a big zit?

    Probably not!! We are not our bodies – we just live in them.

Your body is the only place in the world you have to live. Take good care of it.