I have undereye circles. They are purple. And dark. They run the length of my whole undereye. I've had them since I was a kid. They aren't improved by creams or lots of sleep or allergy medicine. They're genetic. Like the fact that I have hazel eyes--they are just a part of me.
I've been self-conscious about them since childhood. People have always asked me about them. I've had people tell me I look tired; ask if I've been punched in the eye (nope, fortunately never had that experience!); or tell me about some great concealer that they're just sure would cover them right up.
I've tried every concealer known to woman-kind. Inexpensive ones. Ones that cost what I would normally spend on a week's worth of groceries. Creamy ones in a tube. Thicker ones in a pot. Concealers on their own; concealers on top of color correctors; concealers set with powder; and concealers not set with powder.
And the results? They varied from looking like I did nothing, to creating a cakey, dry, slightly less purple-y streak under my eyes.
But, I had a bit of an epiphany recently. I had just returned a really expensive concealer. One that had been marketed as the magic cure for undereye circles and one that works really well for many people. And I was so discouraged.
Then I thought: slathering all this stuff under my eyes--caking them with product--doesn't make them look better. It just makes them feel gross. What if, instead of obsessing over hiding them, I accepted and loved on them?
To do that, I had to decide what loving treatment of this part of my body I’ve hated for so long would look like. I decided that it looked like giving them time to breathe--time not spent caked in spackle-like makeup. It looked like putting lovely creams on them—creams that hydrated them and made them feel good. It looked like breaking out those undereye masks cluttering up my makeup drawer and using them. Not because I thought they'd make the circles go away, but because they feel nice under my eyes.
We all have something we’re insecure about. We all have something about our bodies that we wish were different. Some things, like my circles, aren't changeable. Only our attitude about, and our treatment of them, is within our control.
This is a metaphor for how we feel about the size and shape of our bodies. Unlike my dark circles, I have changed the size and shape of my body. And I imagine it will change many more times in response to things I do, or don't do, to it in the future.
But whether your body is the shape or size you wish it were or not, you can love it. And like my love for my circles, love in this context is a verb.
How do we actively love our bodies?
We feed our bodies. We make sure they get plenty of water. We move our bodies in ways that challenge them, stretch them and make them feel strong and healthy. We pamper them, with our favorite face masks, or by lighting a delicious-smelling candle, or by getting massages or soaking in relaxing baths. We say kind things to and about our bodies. We make a list of things we enjoy doing and then we give ourselves time to do those things. We take our lovely bodies out on coffee dates with friends, or walks down beautiful trails.
Loving your body means that how you treat it doesn't change based on the size or shape it is--it's not deserving of love only when it looks a certain way. It means that instead of viewing the things I listed above as punishments or rewards, depending on its size, you see them as acts of love that are non-negotiable and dependent upon nothing more than the fact that your body exists.