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Body Image and Conditional Love

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A girl on the sidewalk passing a door and an image of Marc David

Every day is another day that too many people suffer from the pain of body hate. We’re experiencing a worldwide epidemic of poor body image that affects men, women, and even children. So many factors come into play, but the simple truth is this: when we’re carrying around judgments about our body, we can be wounding ourselves over and over without even realizing it. Join Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, as he shares some heartfelt wisdom, surprising insights, and practical advice to help you rediscover the love you’re meant to feel for your body in this uplifting new video from IPEtv.

YouTube video


Here is a transcript of this week’s video:

Hi, I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating

Body Image & Conditional Love

Let’s talk about body image and conditional love. Now, this whole body image thing is unbelievably huge. We humans can have such a hard time loving on our own body. Why is that?! Why is [it that across] so much of the planet, we’re hating on our body. How does that happen?

Instead of answering that question, I want to say this: let’s not even answer it. Let’s just say that this challenge exists. And it’s our job to learn collectively how to start to love the body. Why? Because when we love the body, we feel a sense of self-love. We feel good. There’s something about accepting the human form that we’re born with that when we can do that, things come together. The body deserves love.

But here’s the thing.

Most people have a very conditional love for their own body. What does that mean, conditional love for their own body? Conditional versus unconditional love. Unconditional love, if you’re a parent, you love your kids no matter what. If you’re holding an infant, you unconditionally love them. You will protect them. You will risk your life for them. You will love them no matter what.

Now check this out. If your baby pops out and your baby has a bunch of body fat, you don’t say to your baby, “Huh, I really wanted a baby with six pack abs and buns of steel. I will not love you until you lose all your baby fat.” That’s what I’m calling conditional love.

As bizarre as that sounds to think in the direction of an infant, that’s how bizarre it sounds when we tell our own mind that. “When I weigh a certain amount, when I have the perfect body, when I look like this, then and only then will I love myself.” How insane is that?! But we do it.

So here’s the practice.

And when I say practice, I mean like practicing a musical instrument. It’s a daily practice. Practice makes perfect. And we call it a practice. We don’t call it a perfect. We’ve got to practice unconditional love. And it doesn’t mean you have to love every inch of your body. What it does mean is you have to learn to love the person that inhabits the body. You.

You have to learn how to love your essence, first and foremost, no matter what the body looks like because your body is going to change a million times. You used to be a tiny little fetus. You got bigger and bigger and bigger. You got bigger. You shrunk. You did this. You did that. The body changes. Life changes. Love it all because when we start to love it all no matter what, life becomes beautiful. And when life becomes beautiful, the body heals. And our relationship with food heals.

And that, my friends, is the magic of life.

In the comments below, please let us know your thoughts. We love hearing from you and we read and respond to every comment!

Marc David

A girl on the sidewalk passing a door and an image of Marc David

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