We Can Do Hard Things: Our Bodies

by Jenna Gilio

On this week’s episode of We Can Do Hard Things, Glennon Doyle poses this question to listeners: “Why are we at war with our bodies and can we ever make peace?” Glennon begins by sharing her own experience with body image. At a very early age, she learned that a woman’s worthiness is beauty, and beauty is staying small. From the age of 10-26, she struggled with bulimia. Though Glennon overcame her battle with bulimia years ago, she admits that approximately 50% of her thoughts today are still concerning food, working out, and her body. She refers to these intrusive thoughts as the “opportunity cost” of obsessing. “The thoughts I’d think, the art I’d make, the activism I’d unleash if I had those thoughts back again,” Glennon imagines.

The solution society offers to those trapped in this internal battle is the one-size-fits-all phrase: love your body. But what does that even mean? Glennon suggests that in order to love our bodies, we must trust our bodies. And in order to trust our bodies, we must stop trying to control our bodies. The idea of relinquishing control can seem impossible because society and the media are constantly reminding us that “we can’t trust any part of ourselves,” Glennon adds. We are ingrained not to trust our anger, our ambition, our hair, our skin, our desires. “I have to believe that my body has a wisdom and a way that is better than my controlling plan for it. Because by the way, my controlling plan for it was never my plan for it. It’s a patriarchal idea that has been planted in me that now I am imposing on my body and have been forever,” Glennon shares. If we can’t learn to trust our bodies, we will never know their power. The wisdom our bodies use to tell us they want to eat or indulge is the same wisdom they use to tell us something is not right when we walk into a room. “When we deny our bodies, we lose this wisdom,” Glennon asserts.

This war we are at with our bodies can feel daunting. Rather than tackling it head-on, consider taking a single step towards peace. The Next Right Thing this week is to simply identify some of the masterpieces we have created in our lives and reflect on how our bodies contributed to them. This could be a relationship, a piece of work or anything we have been a part of creating that is beautiful. As always, when things get hard this week, remember that we can do hard things!