Proud2Bme | 7 Body-Positive Lessons from My Cat

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7 Body-Positive Lessons from My Cat

By Dana Land--The body-positive revolution has started and been backed by the general public, celebrities, professionals and more. With all of the heavy material out there, it’s important to highlight that conversations around recovery and body positivity don’t always have to be heavy-handed. Positive influences come from all sources—even a cat.

My cat, Chief, is 16 years old and is a registered emotional support animal. I have learned some of my greatest body-positive and recovery lessons from caring for him and being cared for by him.

1. You are loved at any size.

I love Chief no matter what size he is. After suffering from diabetes, Chief’s weight plummeted, but my love for him has remained the same. He has also loved me through every stage of my body. The only time Chief takes the size of my body into consideration is when he is trying to use me as a launching pad to get to a higher-up surface.

2. You are loved in any condition.

Body positivity extends far beyond just loving the size of your body. You can practice loving your body no matter the condition it is in. Chief loves me even with my scars and ill health. I loved him even when his diabetes made his back legs numb and unable to properly move.

3. Your brain can be ill and needs positivity too.

Our brains are a part of our bodies too—and it is easy to get frustrated with them when they operate a little differently than we want. Chief doesn’t care if I am depressed or having a panic attack. He doesn’t demand that I change my brain chemistry, he just snuggles up.

4. Even when you can’t love yourself, someone else will.

We all have bad days. On my bad days, my thoughts about my body become law. Any attempts by my support group to comfort me and show body positivity are met with an eye roll and a grumble. And it doesn’t matter—not to them or Chief—because they will keep pushing through my bad day and show me love and body positivity even when I am incapable of doing so myself. And the unconditional love and support usually help me break into a smile later on.

5. Someone else’s lack of positivity doesn’t reflect on you.

There are people in this world who may not embrace body positivity and instead spread negative comments. It’s important not to take one person’s comment and universalize it. If someone on the street has something unkind to say about my body, my reaction is to assume everyone thinks that way. However, when I get home, I am still greeted by the same loving meow. And when someone tells me my cat is weird-looking, it doesn’t change my opinion about him at all.

6. Body positivity means acceptance, too.

Sometimes, showing ourselves endless love and adoration doesn’t feel accessible. In that moment, we can use body positivity through acceptance. I am short. I can’t reach most things and I never will. I can spend every minute of the day pretending that I absolutely love this aspect of my body, but I do not. I do accept it though. I make the best of it and I work with my body. When Chief uses me as a launching pad to a higher level, I bet he wishes I had longer legs, too! Yet he accepts and loves me just the same.

7. Body positivity is an everyday effort.

Body positivity doesn’t have to end after the effect of a really good article or talk wears off. It is something that you commit to every day. It takes practice. I thought body positivity and acceptance were skills I could master and then be good at forever. This isn’t true for anyone. For example, when Chief first developed diabetes and his whole body changed, it took time to adjust. While I love him endlessly, and nothing will ever change that, it is an everyday practice not to compare him to other cats. He may not chase after a laser like other cats, but he is the best snuggler I know and I would be lost without him.

What's the most important body-positive lesson you've ever learned? Tell us in the comments below!

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