Body Image: Are You a Temple or a Tool?
Photo by Howie Berlin
Sitting outside my doctor’s lab and waiting my turn to “donate” blood, I was struck by a conversation I overheard in which the nurse explained that she’d seen everything and it was “all natural.” What bothered her patient about body image didn’t bother the nurse at all. She said that she could easily see past the body to the person inside and wasn’t troubled by any bodily function. Her idea of the human body? “Natural.” That made me wonder how different people see their bodies and how their body image becomes a prophecy to be fulfilled. They treat their bodies according to how they think of them. Some people regard their bodies as “machines.” They work them hard, make them do what they want, keep them running. These machines sometimes malfunction or break down but there’s a sense of ownership and often, control.A former friend once told me that she regarded her body as her ultimate “tool” to get what she wanted. She had a long history of relying on her looks and sexuality to convince a man to do her bidding so that she has yet to hold a full-time job. Her tool, at mid-life, is beginning to fail her though, and it’s harder to catch a young man’s attention when so many women half her age have newly minted “tools” to get what they want.Several acquaintances and friends refer to their bodies as their “rental units” or “borrowed” for while they’re in this lifetime, but believe they’ll be reincarnated into different bodies in the next lifetimes. How they treat their bodies depends a lot on how they view renting–is it okay to make a mess of it because you don’t own it or do you treat it more gently because it’s not yours?…. (more)
Thanks for reading! This article in included in its entirety in The Long-Awaited, Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy.