Rules of being human – I am no hermit crab!

Posted: 04/02/2012 in Life
Tags: , , ,

I heard someone quote rule one of the “10 rules of being human” by Cherie Carter-Scott this morning. Rule 1 says:

Blue-Banded Hermit Crab (Pagurus samuelis) spo...

Image via Wikipedia

“You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it’s yours to keep for the entire period”.

Ahhh! And here I was thinking that eventually I would morph into some gorgeous Gisele Bundchen or Elle McPherson! I have never been happy with my body. When someone asks me what feature I like about myself I have always answered “my feet”, not just because I think I’d be a pretty hot foot model – I mean you want to see some shoes really look good in a magazine, use my feet – but because for my whole life I have had a great dislike of the body I was given. It doesn’t matter what people say or what my eyes actually see in the mirror, I see something else, something that deserves my disdain. And the ridiculous thing about it that this hasn’t changed even when my body has.

Hearing the above quote got me thinking, really , what am I so concerned about? The human body is nothing more than a shell. It does not define me despite what the world would have me believe. Consider the hermit crab; as he grows he need to crawl out of his shell and into a slightly bigger one. The new shell may look entirely different but he is still the same hermit crab. Of course I’m not suggesting the hermit crab has a whole individual personality like humans but you get my point. If I could remove my body, my shell, would I suddenly be without a personality, without character (whether flawed or not)? Would I become catatonic, just existing until my last breath? Absolutely not! The essence of who I am is found not in the flesh and muscle that make up my exterior but in the inner part of me. Of course the superficial aspects of a person’s personality can alter somewhat as their body does but not their entire character. I’ve never heard it said that someone had so radical a personality change that they became an entirely different person in every way when they lost or gained weight, had plastic surgery, became disfigured or lost a limb. Aspects of their personality might change, even if only temporarily, but their true essence is the same. A blind person for obvious reasons discerns your character by the way you speak, act and react; looks have no impact what-so-ever and nor should it for the rest of us.

And so, how to love the body we are given? Well I could ream off a half-dozen principles, philosophies or practices that could work but clearly that’s a case of not practising what I preach because I still only like my feet! However recently I started reading a book called “Who switched off my brain” by Dr Caroline Leaf. She discusses what research is now showing us about the chemical effects toxic thoughts can have on our life, so much so that not only do we come to believe the things we say about ourselves it also affects us emotional, mentally, spiritually and physically. I don’t necessarily agree with everything she says nor do I think it’s as simple as may be implied but I appreciate very much the theory she discusses. I am keen to finish the book and start looking at some of the tools she offers in this book and her new ones. Why? Because I’m sick and tired of defining my character by how I look and I hate it even more when I hear other people, especially young girls, constantly put themselves down or reject compliments, whether about their looks or their personality, based on their distorted perception that “body ALONE is beauty” and defines who we are. I am given one shell, for life. I may as well accept it and get on with living rather than try to climb out of my shell and into another. I am not a hermit crab!

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