How you see yourself – is how the world sees you!

Today, let’s dive deeper into what it means to be a human being and having a body to boast about. This segment is a part of the speech series that I deliver at schools for my young audience facing innumerable problems with their negative perception of their bodies, also called “Body image issues.” 

Sadly, this topic is very relevant to both children and adults alike.

Once a parrot, a snail, and a man decide to meet at a bar. But, only the man could make it. Why? The parrot could not open the door, and the snail was still on its way!

This joke illustrates what truly distinguishes these three creatures from each other. It’s not just a higher brain power but also a marvellous physical structure that houses it. 

The human body is capable of designing some of the most complex tools ever known to humanity. It can build structures a thousand times bigger than itself. It is strong enough to explore the depths of the oceans, smart enough to send probes across the universe, and allow us to sit in a room and watch the distant star systems and galaxies. It allows us to do things beyond the capability of any other creature on this planet.

But in the 21st century, it has become a weapon of choice on social media to humiliate others, causing a growing number of suicides in children, depression in adults, unending body image problems, eating disorders, and concoct endless ways to inflict pain on ourselves. We see this being played out every single day, across all walks of life.

Let’s look at why we need a body in the first place:

1) CONTAIN: The main purpose of the human body is to act as a container to encapsulate internal organs, bodily fluids, providing protection and allowing for life to function. It is like the most compact suitcase ever designed. 

2) MOBILITY: Do you know why the snail could not make it to the bar on time? Physical limitations! The secondary purpose of a body is to take you from point A to Point B and perform actions (In fact, the only reason I can type this blog and you being able to read it is our physical construct that allows extraordinary movement).

But how do we treat our bodies? Terribly! We are constantly comparing ourselves with other “suitcases”, demeaning ourselves, subjecting it to unnatural physical changes, causing immense stress and strain.

There is no reason why a gray hair, hair loss, or a wrinkle should make one feel “old” or less than complete. The body is meant to age and reach its logical conclusion. It is the law of the universe followed by billions before us and billions after us.

All that matters is how we treat this gift of having a body and cherish it for this lifetime. We don’t realize the importance of having a body until the day it’s truly gone. It may be the only thing on this planet that we truly own. Shouldn’t we treat it with all the respect and love it deserves? Shouldn’t we be proud of what we have without putting any more expectations on ourselves?

 The Gratitude Exercise:

Try this two-minute exercise every night before going to bed. It will fundamentally alter the way you view yourself and help you make peace with the aging process.

Tonight, when you stand in front of the mirror, perhaps to brush your teeth (or practice your speech). Address your body without any sense of awkwardness, shame, or guilt and tell yourself with a smile:

“I feel immensely blessed and lucky to have a human body.”

“I thank my body for allowing me to do all the things I did today.”

“I feel grateful for my body and will always treat it with respect and kindness.”

Do this for just one week and see how joyful and contented you will be.

Above all, remember: How you see your body—is how the world sees you!