Your body is not your masterpiece — your life is.
It is suggested to us a million times a day that our BODIES are PROJECTS. They aren’t. Our lives are. Our spirituality is. Our relationships are. Our work is.
Stop spending all day obsessing, cursing, perfecting your body like it’s all you’ve got to offer the world. Your body is not your art, it’s your paintbrush. Whether your paintbrush is a tall paintbrush or a thin paintbrush or a stocky paintbrush or a scratched up paintbrush is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is that YOU HAVE A PAINTBRUSH which can be used to transfer your insides onto the canvas of your life — where others can see it and be inspired and comforted by it.
Your body is not your offering. It’s just a really amazing instrument which you can use to create your offering each day. Don’t curse your paintbrush. Don’t sit in a corner wishing you had a different paintbrush. You’re wasting time. You’ve got the one you got. Be grateful, because without it you’d have nothing with which to paint your life’s work. Your life’s work is the love you give and receive — and your body is the instrument you use to accept and offer love on your soul’s behalf. It’s a system.
We are encouraged to obsess over our instrument’s SHAPE — but our body’s shape has no effect on it’s ability to accept and offer love for us. Just none. Maybe we continue to obsess because as long we keep wringing our hands about our paintbrush shape, we don’t have to get to work painting our lives. Stop fretting. The truth is that all paintbrush shapes work just fine — and anybody who tells you different is trying to sell you something. Don’t buy. Just paint.
No wait — first, stop what you are doing and say THANK YOU to your body — right now. Say THANK YOU to your eyes for taking in the beauty of sunsets and storms and children blowing out birthday candles and say THANK YOU to your hands for writing love letters and opening doors and stirring soup and waving to strangers and say THANK YOU to your legs for walking you from danger to safety and climbing so many mountains for you.
Then pick up your instrument and start painting this day beautiful and bold and wild and free and YOU.
Author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller LOVE WARRIOR — ORDER HERE
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Thank you my beloved body and THANK YOU Glennon.
This was a fantastic article! I was very touched and loved every word. I have struggled with my self image for years, and recently I’ve started to love who I am and I’ve been exercising and eating healthy. I feel so much better about myself and I try to be kind to myself and others because God is the one who created my body just for me! Who could possibly be a better designer than God? A friend of my reminded me that true beauty comes from inside, she said:
“First you’re KIND, then you’re SMART, then your BEAUTIFUL.”
Thank you, thank you for another great reminder!
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Gorgeous, yummy, and truthful!
Thank you for writing this. It has helped me see this truth for real. May I be changed by it!
Your words are such comfort to so many, Thank you a million times. You are quite literally a Godsend.
I couldn’t agree more. Thank you!
Here I sit this morning with muscles spasming and feeling tearful because somedays ‘doing’ is just too much. I’ve had cancer in three locations in my skeletal system, all has been removed. My body has been altered and yes… my spirit too. I’m physically changed and spiritually stronger. I have a story to tell, about how loved I’ve been, how every day there are people who suffer silently and need encouragement, how each day I experience is “another day of grace.” While sometimes I’m undone by my discomfort, I’m also overwhelmed by the grace I receive. I’m so grateful for life and life abundantly. Thank you for reminding me today, that even with this broken paintbrush I still have a work to do, a life to touch, a mission to complete. Thank God today is “Another Day of Grace.”
Thank u for ur humility. I too go through days like u and I watched my mother do the same. She was a warrior in pain. I grew up with a family who took care of each other and acknowledged and gave comfort to each other. I’m sorry u r dealing with this and I pray that u will be blessed with strength to get through each day.
Beautifully said. I think some people misinterpret this as meaning we don’t have to take care of our bodies, which is just not true. Punishing the body into shape through unwanted diets and exercise programs is no way to care for the body either. Thank you for your message!
Sometimes how we feel about our bodies does effect how we give or receive love. Its called self esteem and any psychology textbook will teach you that. if we don’t love ourselfs how do we love others.. There is nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself. When you feel confident and healthy it flows into the rest of your life, and if taking pride in your appearance makes you feel better then go for it. People who care about fitness and looking put together shouldn’t be judged for that the same way people don’t want to be fat shamed or shamed for being skinny. Sorry but I disagree with the message you’re sending.
I don’t think that is what Glennon was saying at all! What she is saying is do not wait for the PERFECT body or let the fact that you’re not the traditional idea of “beautiful” keep you from giving and receiving love, or making you feel unworthy of the love offered to you. You don’t have to be society’s idea of ‘perfect to be worthy, or for your gifts to have value. And, when you are able to give and receive love, and feel worthy, the will and the inspiration to take care of yourself, mentally and physically, will follow. Let the INSIDE form the outside, instead of the other way around!
I think that is just soo true. I give myself and my life the style I want to. I honestly think that there are so many man who set goals careerwise and regarding their financial status, and so many man who go after their goals they set regarding private relations and activities, but yet so many woman who have like no or very little goals careerwise ,and regarding other sections of their life, is because woman are trapped in the believe that they have to look, and even more , have to even make their body look a certain way , to be “perfect” or “beautiful”. While man can just go and go and go for their goals , woman are ofte trapped into thinking of themselfs as something that has to be tunned to perfection-what ever that may be, both to atrackt man as to make woman jealaous and to atrackt attention. While man are to look after themselfs regarding their hygene and looks, they are not that judged upon every single “flaw” they have, while a woman is often taught that she has to see herself as a piece of meat that has to be cut probaply for human consumption. I think, if we, as woman kind, can ust accept ourselfs regardless of anything else than what we are and what qualities we have as a person, we can not only overcome anyhing life throws in our way more easily, but we can set goals more freely and achieve more both careerwise as in private, as in our passions and in our progress not just as a woma, but as a person. I honestly think that woman beeing reduced to their body, fertility, looks, age and such is the most common reason for woman to fail in achieving their life-log goals or even setting them beyound looking “good, skinny etc.” or getting someone to marry them.
Great reply dearrrrr
So, so, so, so true. But – the outside world judges and value us (or de-values us ) based on our looks. We are often either welcomed or shunned or just ignored, based on our looks. Not right. Not deep values. But true. Would Glennon have been in a sorority, attracted Craig, and have a career as a public speaker if she was not attractive? Or even if she weighed 85 pounds more? Being attractive alone is not enough, but it’s a lie to say it is not a big part of the reason people welcome you, or ignore you. So it is very double edged…..
Oprah IS 85 pounds heavier than Glennon and people around the world welcome her love and wisdom into their hearts every day. Pema Chodran and Maya Angelou are not classically attractive or the standard physical representation of “beautiful” and they are exceptionally welcomed by millions of people. Their teachings are powerful and inspiring and have absolutely ZERO to do with their “paintbrush” and everything to to with the beautiful canvases they have created for us to be inspired by.
A thoughtful response – thank you
We love your posts and inspiration! Taking care of our bodies is not taking care of our offering to the world, it’s taking care of the instrument that offers something to the world. Couldn’t agree more! 🙂 We’ve tagged a photo of yours in social media posts lately, just FYI, as a way to send people your way. Great stuff here! 🙂
-Posh the Salon, Durham NC
This is helping me to remember to be thankful for this long suffering body of mine.
It’s put up with a lot of abuse over the past 37 years. I am pretty compulsive as a rule, also my frontal lobe took its sweet time developing and there were a number of easily avoidable accidents I put it through.
Thanks paintbrush! I’m sorry I yell at you so much for the crunchy knees and poochy belly, you are beautiful, and together we shall paint our city the colour f awesome.
Glennon I was so touched by your blog and by the response from Rachel that I shared both of these with my meditation group this morning.
The group really responded to your blog and to Rachel’s response and because of that they were more open and receptive to receiving Pema Chodrun meditation from the Walking the Walk series that was on the agenda for today. We all saw ourselves in your words and in Pema’s and we all were able to open up our hearts a little wider. Thank you
I read this through tears. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Beautifully, wonderfully written. I have finally seen for myself how true this is, and there is so much more harmony and contentment to be found in life once you get there. Thank you for wording this so well, I will share it with everyone!
My 50-year-old paintbrush just loves this. Praying my 20-ish girls learn it earlier than I did! Bless you muchly.
What a beautiful picture you painted, Glennon, with your paintbrush. I will “buy it, frame it and hang it in my home”. Actually, I don’t have to even buy it. Thanks for the free gift of such value!
Thank you for saying this. In the middle of the childbearing years, I catch myself so often caught up in worrying about how my body looks instead of focusing on what it can accomplish. Thank you for reminding me what matters!!
Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. A metaphor can change a life.
Thank YOU this is truly BEAUTIFUL – made me cry … too long I have hidden my paintbrush … Love
such a great reminder – thanks glennon!
Glennon, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the reminder! Our society has misplaced values, our physical appearance does not define us! Delice, i can completely relate as i had postpartum depression after each of my four children, ages 8 and under, the youngest is 2….and still struggle with depression due to the tragic death of my dear sister 2 yrs ago. It has been the darkest time of my life, the days and nights blurred together….i too was such an energetic, happy person who had a career….how i yearned for my life to “return to normal”. What I failed to understand is that pregnancy, mothering and nursing was my normal for that stage of my life. But it felt so foreign. …i felt inadequately prepared and my body….hmmmm…let’s just say that the father of my children did not appreciate my post baby body. …through the grace of God to whom I belong to, I have learned to rely on Him only because I know He will never forsake me. I now have a greater and deeper faith than I’ve ever had! Through this I have learned to love and accept myself so that I do not need anyone else’s acceptance. I pray that you too will be restored through your struggles and that you come out of this stronger. May God bless you today and always!
Thank you so much, Olga! It means a lot to realize I am not alone and am fighting alongside other brave women… <3 I'd love if you'd like to join my little support group on Facebook! It's called Mothers with Depression Support Group, and it's been such a blessing to me!
Thank you Glennon – I so appreciate this message, and try as often as I can remember to show appreciation for my working body! When I take the time to stop and do this, it’s astounding at the limitless number of parts that make up the body, and that those parts that aren’t in the best working order – for me, my ears(hearing) and my neck and shoulders that carry my stress are my weakest links – I appreciate that the rest of my parts that work well.
I too am a mother of a daughter who is recovering from Anorexia, and am part of the Mothers Against Eating Disorders (MAED) family. The hardest piece of the recovery process for the sufferers to embrace is to accept and love the way their healthy body works for them. Articles like this help a great deal in this message!.
I love this metaphor! Along these lines, in Jewish tradition, we are instructed to recites morning prayers upon waking to give thanks for our working body, and for all the intricacies that need to work to keep us functioning. We also acknowledge that we’ve been granted another day–something not to take for granted either.
That is beautiful! I had no idea!! <3
I like the article. The issue I have is it speaks nothing of health. Basically giving people the ok to eat donuts, ice cream and pizza until they have diabetes and health problems, all due to “it doesn’t matter what your brush looks like”. There’s got to be some balance of health and life. I agree with you on too many people obsess, but I hope people don’t read this article and feel liscened to let themselves go health wise. I like the gist of the article though. 🙂
I have to respectfully disagree with this comment. The insistence that people never, even for a moment, be allowed or invited to unconditionally love and appreciate their bodies without others submitting unsolicited “concerns” about their health, is damaging. The idea that loving one’s body will lead to eating “donuts, ice cream, and pizza until they have diabetes and health problems” does not make any sense. By that logic then, the more people hate their bodies the healthier they would be, which is actually the opposite of what the research shows to be true. If you love your body unconditionally, you are more likely to make healthy choices rather than staying mired in shame and self-loathing. Regardless, what people do with their bodies is their own business. Each individual has the right to decide how highly they want to prioritize their own health, and it is not up to others to police or decide this for them. If someone wants to eat donuts, ice cream, and pizza that is their choice because it’s their body, and not for anyone else to decide.
hear hear… Especially damaging coming from a man…
I think awareness of one’s health is implicit in the article. If it is important to your life that you play with your children, you need to make sure you can do that. If it is important to you to play with your grandchildren, you need to make sure you’ll be able to do that.
I disagree that it speaks nothing of health because when you love your body, you want to take care of it, which includes consciously fueling it and maintaining it for your life. For me, I take care of the brush by eating well and being active. I imagine when women truly embrace a love and acceptance for our body, healthy living is a natural step.
Its a nice article but not very deep. There is no separation between your mind and your body save what your ego invents to trap you in your own lies or those you choose to swallow from external world. When we see a separation of mind and body we give ourselves carte blanche to treat it how we like. Donuts and ice cream are not food. The idea that eating them is justifiable as part of a meal or luxury is a fallacy, they taste good though of course. Comments like “especially damaging coming from a man ” show that Delice cannot be unconditional about her body and she wishes to remain trapped by her own self deceit. I couldn’t care very much what someone thinks of my body – not even my wife to be honest. I look in the mirror to shave mostly. Women want to look beautiful rather than act or be beautiful quite often – e.g. the new craze in ‘corsets’ from the Kardashians – yuck , talk about going backwards. This is what the media want. Your body mostly reflects your state of mind. Change that and you will have a ‘perfect’ body whatever it looks like and you will be freer to perfect it in the future. You are where you are. Unless this sinks in you can never really travel FROM anywhere so will go nowhere fast.
I’ve been in recovery from bulimia since 2009 and lived a lot of years this way. I’ll do that when I’m thinner, it will be easier when I’m thinner… Just sitting on the sidelines. So grateful for recovery and amazing people like you that realize life is SO much more that how you look!!
Last year Bubba wrote on one of your threads, an exchange to me, that he was “writing metaphorically speaking” in our friendly banter that day on your comment thread. So when I read this “THANK YOU to your legs for walking you from danger to safety and climbing so many mountains for you ” . I was again reminded tonight,that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, G.[Give my regards’ to Bubba]
I especially liked the part about the mountains,”metaphorically” anyway, G.
| Beautiful writing. Beautiful.
OMG‼ I’m sure someone has already made that joke, sorry.
And I just wrote a novel following that which apparently got erased….
Ok, so here’s the novel… This post and its arrival into my heart is amazingly timed. It’s like a confirmation from the Holy Spirit… Like a sweet wink from my Daddy.
1. I just got back from counseling. We spent the majority of the time talking about how I realized this weekend in a new way, how I have circled back to yet another season of learning to love my current self. My best-self/alter ego is this spunky, go-getter, all over the place, leading groups, organizing events, speaking, loving people and encouraging and inspiring them, doula-ing women through pregnancy, labor and postpartum… The way my life looks right now is pretty opposite that or at least scaled down. I stumble awake in the morning around 5:50am with my babies (3 and 1), take my meds for Major Depressive Disorder, drink coffee, survive throughout the day with the boys–housework is a bonus. My body/mind/hormones have literally put me on hiatus from social life… I feel like I’m back at square one, relearning how to walk… It is completely humiliating and vulnerable… We talked about that quote: “It’s ok to be happy with a calm life.” I want to, I want to love it… But it’s a struggle every day for me, because I still long for that other facet of me that feels more wonderful… I know this season is deepening me somehow… And my counselor gave me a beautiful seed of hope that perhaps because of this season, when I get back to a place where I can function in those giftings, that it will be out of a source of deep, calm peace and centering, and perhaps I will be more effective because of that…
2. I have trouble getting to sleep, because of ADD… And recently started a funny new little go-to-sleep ritual where I individually visualize each part of my body and thank God for it, for what it offers to my life, what it allows me to experience…
And that’s not even touching on my daily frustrations and self-hatred of my post-2-babies/post-2-years-of-fighting-clinical-depression body…
All that to say, thank you… Thank you for taking the time to listen to the still small voice inside you that nudges you to share your thoughts, your thoughts that give life to yourself and others… Because it is bearing fruit and having an impact beyond your wildest dreams…
And also that I have been silently journeying with you for several months now, longing to connect with you somehow but not sure how. Longing to invite you to my little Mothers with Depression support group on Facebook, longing to invite you to my little messy home to chat to meet you for real in real life… And I guess this post was the right timing to reach out and express how much you have impacted my life in such a short time of “knowing” you. <3
Blessings on you and all you Brave Girls out there.. We are in this together… <3
G, you have written many beautiful things. This may be one of the most beautiful of them all. Yesterday was my 42nd birthday, and this is a wonderful gift.
I have a hard time (well, with most things) especially with this, because my body is an asshole. I mean, I am not the only one, I know, but I am an autoimmune disease sufferer and on days like today when my rheumatoid arthritis is trying to keep me from thinking ANY positive thoughts, this is what I needed to hear. I see all over the place, “IF I CAN DO IT, YOU CAN DO IT! EVERYONE CAN BE SKINNY AND FIT AND AWESOME BECAUSE I GOT CHUBBY ONCE AND NOW I’M LESS CHUBBY.” The pain has me pretty scattered, but… Thank you, is what I’m getting at.
I totally get it. ARG! Love the way you put this. <3 😀 *hug*
Stephanie. Get rid of processed carbs from your diet, lactose and other products that our ancestors did not eat – get your carbs from steamed veg only (sweet pots, carotts etc). Most grains are toxic to the gut and the body is not adapted to eat pasta and white rice.
This is a great post, Glennon, and an especially powerful message for those – like my stepdaughter – struggling with eating disorders. I, too, am a member of Mothers Against Eating Disorders (MAED) on FB. Thanks Jenn @ JugglingLife for bringing this to our attention!
I love everything you write, but this post is my all-time favorite. As a Beachbody Coach, it’s important for me to maintain balance in this area. Thank you.
I totally agree…and need this reminder on a regular (daily?) basis. :-).
WOW – this is so beautiful. Thank you for this. I’m sharing it with my community. I’m a dietitian and I help women lose weight from a loving place. THIS is just amazing. And something all women need to hear – we all struggle with body image!
Again, thank you!
I wish I knew words more powerful than THANK YOU. THANK YOU, G. From the very bottom of my heart. My therapist and I have been working on developing a mantra, a sort of touchstone phrase/thought I can use to combat the mean messages my brain sometimes sends. I have found it in this post! THANK YOU truly doesn’t even begin to explain how I felt when I read this! I am going on a first date tonight (first in a looooong time) and now I am going to have this to hold close to my heart. From my heart to yours…
I love this so much. I’m fighting right along side you. Proud of you for reaching out for help! <3
Wow…just…wow! So freeing. Thank you for giving me permission to release my body expectations and to get about living. For someone who has struggled with body image my entire life, I am 48, this post has done what an entire lifetime of trying and failing could not. Again, thank you.
Amen! When I view how I treat my body…and my life…as a form of worship and as a way I can show gratitude to God for giving me this time on Earth, I find it a lot easier to accept and even embrace my “flaws” and focus on how BLESSED I am to be here. I really think keeping us focused on ourselves (and being critical/self-conscious, etc) is a powerful tool that Satan uses to distract us from the awesome work we were truly sent here to do. He will never have a body…so it makes sense that he wants me to loathe mine… Praise God for messages like this one of pure TRUTH. Thank you! 🙂
I think this is a beautiful sentiment. Thank you for sharing! However, I think it is important to add taking care of that paintbrush to the analogy. Love your body. Love your shape. Thank your body every day for taking you to new places and allowing you to love new things. And treat it well, because God gave it to you and it’s the only one you’ve got.
Glennon, So beautiful. I love the analogy. I had a very long journey ( about 20 years i think) to loving and caring for my body. I played out that hatred as anorexia for a time and I am know you and many other Monkees are familiar with that particular form of self loathing. I wrote about it not so long ago. I’m hoping it’s okay to share a little bit here. Love you. Love your work. Thank you.
… Now I think, why wouldn’t I be grateful to something that breathes, walks, runs, pumps blood, digests food, and feels. Not so long ago, it grew two beautiful children. I can be grateful for healthy and nourishing food, because I couldn’t always give that to myself. I am grateful for the ability to exercise in a moderate and gentle way that honours what I’ve been given rather than punishes it. I am grateful for the understanding of the lesson no matter how painful, no matter how difficult.
Mostly, I am grateful to my body because it houses my soul. It is the temple that carries my spirit, and there could be nothing more beautiful. Temples come in all shapes and sizes – short, tall, elliptical, sharp-edged, classically beautiful and ornate, or simple and elegant. They all have a purpose for being the way they are, and were created with that in mind. We need to accept and take care of our bodies because we have been given them to live out our journey. We need to care for them in their current state, no matter what that is. Even if we are undergoing a process of renovation with them, that has to be in the name of love – not punishment. We need to care for the temple for what it is and what it does.
Honour your beautiful paintbrushes and temples. Thank you Glennon for sharing of yourself. xxx
Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I needed the reminder. Badly. Thank you.
beautiful. Absolutely full of love and beauty. Thanks for the reminder, G. xo
G, your forever Memphis monkee is in awe of you again. My body is fighting a hard battle right now and I’m trying so hard to praise my body for the incredible work it’s doing. The messages of body perfection run so deep that I find myself being impatient with my body’s appearance, even though my body is doing such hard & good work.
Thank you for ALL your loving reminders. Love from Memphis.
thank you, sweet one.
Beautifully written Glennon,
It’s so true and I love your creative expression!
I’m responding from the wonderful FB group MAED – my daily battle is turning my 15 year old daughters thoughts of herself into positive ones!
My dream is for her to one day truly accept herself – warts and all ! The irony is she is beautiful looking, extremely talented, loving, generous and the most delightful human being –
Thank you for your words, I will share your piece.
I am currently in treatment for an eating disorder and this was EXACTLY what I needed to read today. I just sent it to my clinicians so it can be shared far and wide. THANK YOU.
Warrior On, Andrea!!!!
Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. When climb out – we just turn out to be the MOST FANTASTIC people. Really.
These words are beautiful, Glennon.
As the mother of a daughter who has been hospitalized with anorexia and now in early recovery, this means a lot to me. It’s so important for people, especially young women, to know they are beautiful.
I am a member of a group called MAED — Mothers Against Eating Disorders — and we are grateful to have inspiration from blogs such as yours.
Wow, I love this and will send it to my daughter who struggles with Anorexia Nervosa. I’m sure you know that AN is a biological illness, but it can be triggered by all the body image talk at schools and in the media. Many of us women struggle with our body image, whether our brains are wired for an eating disorder or not! But this message is so strong and so needed. I believe a friend of mine has shared this blog of yours with a group I’m a member of – MAED – Mothers Against Eating Disorders. It is SO needed there and, indeed, everywhere! Thanks for this. It’s made me feel better about myself. I just hope that my daughter gets the message, too.
What a beautiful metaphor!!! Eye opening and refreshing. As the mom of a daughter with an eating disorder I have new inspiration of words of encouragement I can use in those moments when she is in pain due to the self hatred she has for her body. She is so caring of those around her….her “body” is simply the tool she can use to go sit with those she cares about as they share their troubles with her. If her body continues to waste away, she won’t have the ability to see with her artistic eye the beauty in all those around her.
Precious Lisa. Pulling for you and your strong girl.
Thank you Glennon for your kind words.
Your support means a lot. On September 30th I will have the opportunity to honor my daughters fight and the fight of so many others when as a group of moms and others we March on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.
This is truly one of my favorite posts you’ve ever written. As the mother of a daughter in recovery from anorexia, and a member of Mothers Against Eating Disorders, I have spent the last two years reflecting upon, examining and changing my relationship with my body. It is so incredibly freeing to simply appreciate what my body does for me, to be free from pressure for it look a certain way, and to understand I am all the things I do with my heart, mind and soul, not what my outer shell looks like. We are so bombarded with messages to the contrary, the message in this post is important to share. Even though eating disorders are genetic, biologically-based illnesses our thin-focused, diet culture is definitely part of the equation in triggering them and making recovery difficult.
Thank you! You’re right. Our bodies are not our legacy (at least mine never will be). [From a mom who has gone through the wringer for the past few years parenting children with varying special needs and occasionally looks in the mirror and doesn’t recognize herself. This road has taken toll on her body. Her face is aging at a rate well beyond normal.]
Needing this one a lot right now, G. Thanks. I may have to print this out and stick it on my wall. And my bathroom mirror. And make it small enough to put on a card to carry with me and stick on a dressing room mirror.
Will definitely be sharing this on FB.
…wasnt it Farrah Fawcett that tried painting with her body? It wasn’t pretty! Aside from that, Profound analogy
How fitting for me to read this today of all days. I am so struggling with my body and how I don’t feel like the person I once was but then 4th of July came and it hit all time low for me. I took little people to the beach and I was so ashamed of what I look like I couldn’t take off my big t-shirt. I cried inside and have held it in until now. It feels like my body is failing me. 12 years ago I was brutally attacked at the group home I worked at and now have a neck and skull injury which gives me constant pain. It’s hard for me to be thankful for this part of my body that gives me pain.
My whole life I was thin and while I was careful about what I ate and getting exercise, it came fairly easy for me. 4 years ago I started feeling sick and then very quickly put on 50 lbs. In less than 2 months I went from a size 5/6 to a 12/14. I starved myself and went on extreme diets but nothing helped, in fact I would gain instead. After going through many doctors to find out what is going on with me I have found out that all my hormones aren’t producing and that I have a 0 metabolism because of it. I am taking medicines for my adrenals, thyroid and sex hormones and I eat a clean diet and rarely allow myself a treat of something I enjoy. My doctor is still testing me because I am still feeling sick and cannot lose this weight. I don’t look like myself nor do I feel like myself. When I look in the mirror it is like looking at a stranger. Even though I know my weight gain is due to health issues I am still so ashamed and find it so hard to be thankful for this body. My husband also struggles with my weight gain. He said things early on and although he no longer makes those comments, his expressions and eye’s and his lack of intimacy towards me speaks loud and clear. When I got to the part where I am to stop and thank my body I started to cry. I so want to be to the place of doing this.
I know there is so much more to me than my body. I am raising our grandchildren as our own. I reach out to the poor and those in need of love and acceptance in my neighborhood on a daily basis. I am constantly giving to others. So I know that there are so many things I can still do even with this weight and living in pain. BUT. I am carrying the weight of shame and hide behind working and doing for others. And I know it’s my thought processes and how I precieve what I think others are thinking of me that are keeping me stuck here in this ugly place. Here I am writing out my heart to strangers with tears flowing down my cheeks with the hope that somehow this might help me to get to the place of self love and acceptance. God forbid that I would stop hating on myself daily. Thank you for this post. I needed your words and the message I will read daily.
Lori, I am so very, very sorry that this happened to you and continues to be a major struggle. I’m trying very hard not to tell you that 12/14 isn’t so bad, because for someone such as yourself who used to be a 5/6. It FEELS bad to you psychologically, and no doubt physically, because messing with adrenals OR hormones OR thyroid can do that to you when you don’t have the right balance, much less having more than one out of whack.
I am listening to your pain and not trying to fix it. I wish I could come sit with you. I would put my arm around you and cry with you and I would even bring the Kleenex.
You are a good woman and deserve better than this. Would it be possible for you to talk to a counselor/therapist about this, preferably one familiar with what messing with all this physiological stuff does to your emotions? Someone who might be able to help you get a handle on dealing with things with your husband?
I haven’t been in this particular situation, but I am extremely familiar with chronic pain, emotional messiness, and body image crap. Please know that I am sending prayers and virtual hugs.
Thank you for the words of support, the listening to what I wrote and for your hugs and prayers. This meant the world to me to come back to read this post again and to find these words too. XX00
Lori, I was right where you are for 7 years…I had all the tests done…I tried many differing diets and ways of being. I exercised like crazy for a year despite the fact that I had Fibro and it made me FAR worse…and then suddenly I was hospitalized for a huge un associated gut attack and the doctor suggested cold turkey no gluten, dairy or sugar. It’s really hard…finding out what works for us. I am sorry they have not found out yet what works for you…but I am going to share my story because for me it was seven years but I am out on the other side feeling MUCH better and I want to give you hope. It was hard at first but I was desperate from the pain so I tried it…my whole family did actually as we were all having issues. It was easier than I thought and 4 months later we are gluten, sugar (except honey) and 80 percent dairy free with no preservatives…basically we eat akin to the paleo diet…and I lost 35 pounds in four months and feel much better. But after seven years it was not about the weight…it was more about feeling better.
I also went to an awesome naturopath who gave me stuff for adrenal support, liver support and hormones…much better than any medical interventions. I still have Fibro and I still have chronic pain as well as some other chronic illness BUT on the days I feel good- I feel WAY better…the thing is…those 7 years stuck at a size 12 when I was used to being a 8 or six ( which I am at again) taught me a lot. I am more grateful…I now realize too that weight is not a cut and dry issue nor is there one solution …For me it was gluten that was keeping it on and most diary. yes cutting sugar out helped but I wasn’t eating much of it anyway. But I know for other people with different blood types ( like B) cutting gluten out would be detrimental. It’s really hard…finding out what works for us. I am sorry they have not found out yet what works for you…but I shared my story because for me it was seven years but I am out on the other side feeling MUCH better…SO hang in there…maybe in a few more years you will have answers. If someone would have told me that I would not have believed them in year four…but to hear it from someone who struggled and tried everything too…maybe it will give you hope?
Regardless you are worthy:) So worthy
Two books that may help is Brene Brown’s Gifts of Imperfections…and Henry Cloud’s Necessary Endings…Boundaries are very important to us who struggle with chronic illness and we need to stop serving so much and start implementing boundaries…in that we end up sharing more in the end. There is hope:)
Thank you Kmarie. I see a doctor that works with a naturepath and believes in natural medicine as well as what she does. So I do take supplements for all of these things. I eat a clean diet already which mainly consists of proteins and veggies and fruit. I don’t eat much glutten or wheat products and if I do it is grains I have soaked and prepared. I struggle with eating enough because I am so afraid of gaining. Because of my severe adrenals my doctor says I cannot exercise strenuously but I do take walks and do stretching. Thank you so much for your words of supports and suggestions. I will look into these books!
I hope so much that you and your treaters can find a healing path.
I understand what you mean about struggling to eat because you don’t want to gain—I have that same struggle. However, if your car was broken, trying to get it to run on no gas wouldn’t fix it, right? In the same way, your body has an ailment (I refuse to call it broken!) and robbing it of food won’t fix it.
Be kind to yourself…and I will, too, OK? <3
Thank you for painting your words of wisdom and love….You Glennon are one of my favorite teachers.
Dammit. You just keep writing things I wish I’d written myself ;p
Seriously, though: beautiful metaphor. I’ve been struggling with not wanting others to see my paintbrush lately, so thank you for this. You’ve inspired me to get out there and paint <3
Dagnabbit 🙂 I can’t help but love the way you put this incredibly challenging, utterly true thing.
Thank you for this…. EVERY DAY AND EVERY MOMENT is a struggle for me to “accept” my paintbrush. It is exhausting, and I have been working SO HARD to overcome my thought process….. I will try and incorporate this into my day… Thank you.
Thank you for this. It gives me a new way to think about my body.
In the same way that we would take care of our tools, we can take care of our body. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, but it’s important that we take care of them so that we can use them to their fullest.
I like this distinction because I can take care of my body without feeling the need to obsess over how good it looks.
Yes yes yes!!!
I have come not to where I love my body but to where I accept it. The hard part is other people’s stares and comments and treating me less than. That’s nearly impossible to get over.
Thank you Glennon. My body has changed over the past decade, particularly post-40, and I am struggling with feeling shame and trying to exercise in the midst of a crazy busy life and wacky hormones and longing for the days when I was thin without even trying. Your words today have given me such an important perspective about where I need to focus my mental and spiritual energy. I appreciate you.
I love this! We, as women, are given the message that perfection is the ideal, but real beauty is not in the perfection of the face or hair or body, it is in the spirit! Thank you for the reminder!
Perfect! I sent this to my daughters! Also, loved seeing you and hearing your message while you visited VA!
poignant, simple and sweet. I would also add that sometimes the paint brush gives us deep slivers that can not be removed …sometimes they can be removed by us, sometimes people need to help us remove them, but sometimes, as in the case of a chronic illness, the splinter remains everyday pushing into us from the paintbrush, but if we still don’t decide to paint with it, paint through or because of our pain, we are still left with pain but no unique masterpiece. We still need to paint, even if it is only a tiny dot per day, because we are still among all the living masterpieces.
Thank you for this. It was inspired and inspiring.
Thank you, Kmarie. This speaks to me.
As a too-young person fighting to live a real life despite chronic illness, these are the extra words I needed. I’m still among the living, still a masterpiece…
‘Maybe we continue to obsess because as long we keep wringing our hands about our paintbrush shape, we don’t have to get to work painting our lives.’ THIS. Wow, how true. I am off on holiday tomorrow and have been so looking forward to it but dreading it also because of my body. How silly. No-one will be looking at me anyway. Time to have a gratitude attitude and not an obsessively pessimistic one!
Probably the best post I’ve read in the longest time! Resonated strongly with me (least of all because I’m a painter 🙂 ) but it’s analogy is just beautiful. Thank you for that xxx
Lovely, lovely painterly points here, Glennon! I will be sharing this all week long – until people get irritated with me. And then I’ll wait a few days and share it some more.
I used to “paint” prolifically, day after day mostly in the kitchen with many eyes watching. Got in a slump somewhere along the years. Thanks for the inspiration!
Paint on, sister.
I know what you mean….there was a time, when I was quite the ‘painter’, but lately I’ve been sitting around waiting for someone with a screwdriver to open a can of paint! No more! Thanks G – going to find me some vibrant colors and use them up each day! Bless you!!
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous truth, and such a wonderful image to convey it.
You are a balm and a salve, G…thanks for reminding us of the next right thing.
Big resounding YES to everything you have said here!!! If used in full capacity, that paintbrush, will become the best it can be, too…
Beautiful. Thank you.