Love your body. It’s pretty awesome.

It’s no secret that Americans spend a hell of a lot of time hating their bodies. From the repressive nonsense instilled into our collective consciousness by Puritan prudes to the modern eating disorder epidemic, rejection and contempt are kind of our MO.

This is a f***ed up state of affairs. Our bodies are our loyal servants. They do everything for us while we sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labor. They digest food, pump blood, grow hair, fire synapses, heal wounds. And frankly, their working conditions tend to be pretty shitty. Booze. Processed foods. Sedentary lifestyles. Still, they rarely complain.

And how do we repay this lifetime of quiet subservience? We malign them, insult them, abuse them. The way we treat the skins we’re in, you’d think they’d tortured us, abused us, injured us — when it’s entirely the other way around.

These bags of flesh and bones and blood vessels and toenails spend a lifetime with us. They carry our precious spirit around and allow us to do and see and accomplish an amazing array of awesomeness. They’re our minions, and instead of loving them for all they do, we berate them and criticize them and debase them.

It’s stating the obvious to say that women in particular tend to have horrible relationships with their bodies. There are countless mind-bogglingly depressing studies that say so. One suggested that 97% of women are cruel to their bodies on a daily basisAnother that 80% are dissatisfied with the way they look. And we know that more than 10 million suffer from eating disorders.

Regardless of physical appearance (FYI sometimes the most attractive are the most insecure), women are constantly criticizing their bodies and finding fault where there’s really nothing but miraculous perfection. I’m horribly guilty myself. I’ve berated my body, abused it, shamed it, stuffed it, starved it and treated it worse than I’d treat any living thing on this gorgeous green earth.

But no more. I refuse. I’m turning the tide. I’m out to adore this cellular chassis if it’s the last thing I do. We all have to stop this nonsense. Love is all there is, and our bodies, above all else, deserve our undying affection and appreciation.

Many people, presented with this radical idea, cannot reconcile loving something while simultaneously wanting it to change. If it’s not perfect, if it doesn’t live up to what society says it should, if it’s too tall or too short or too fat or too thin or too freckly — how can they help but hate it?

This is silliness. Our dogs don’t hate their bodies because their tails are stubby or their paws are wide or their ears are long. They accept what is, without question. And we accept and love these unique attributes about them. We find no fault with their furry little frames, regardless of shape or size or stature. Why can’t we do the same for ourselves?

Don’t you owe your amazing bod some serious love? Some kind words and compassionate thoughts? Some healthy foods and good habits? Some exercise? Some sunshine? Some radical care?

Considering all it does for you, you should be worshiping the damn thing. You should have a bedroom shrine lain with silky oils and superfoods and yoga pants. You should bow down to its wisdom and profess your undying adoration. You should shower it with affection and buy it lavish gifts. You should kiss its (your?) ass.

Your body loves you dearly, and it shows you every day. Love it back already. Anything less is a travesty.

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