I LOVE my body. Don’t get me wrong- there are days where I feel like I’d appreciate a flatter tummy, thicker hair or less jiggly thighs.
I used to let this constantly get me down. I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough to be loved and taken seriously. Sometimes these emotions would overtake me to the point of mega-tears, depression or anxiety. After years of watching the TV series What Not to Wear, and hearing the hosts tell participants to dress and love their body NOW, instead of waiting for that magical moment (that may never come) where they’re a size 2, with long, flowing blond hair and 6-pack abs- it must have finally hit me.
Why NOT love myself now?
So I began to do just that.
It wasn’t (and isn’t) always easy, but most of the time I think my body(/self) is the bee knees.
Why Does This Even Matter
Who gives a fuck if you love your body? Why does it even matter? You just want to be healthy and model-gorgeous, right?
Well. . .
- It stresses your body out when you hate on her. And stress hormones are bad news for your sex hormones, mood, weight, energy- you name it.
- It’s hard to love anyone else fully unless you love yourself. How else do you know how to love freely and without condition?
- It’s holding you back. If you’re not comfortable in yourself, you’re likely not going to take as many (healthy) risks, including doing that THING you’ve always wanted to do, but were too afraid.
Loving your body means:
- Not getting pissed at yourself for eating that brownie.
- Not holding tension and creating emotional, spiritual and physical stagnation in your body.
- Flaunting it! Wearing clothes you think are sexy and working it when you do.
- Touching your body- not being afraid to grasp those fleshy bits, or bumpy bits
- Feeling confident in your natural abilities as a woman- to create life (or projects), to be sexual and sensual, to be super smart and ready for life
- Accepting your body- for all your “flaws”- whether big or small, perceived or tangible
But I’m Overweight, Acne-Prone, or Have Some Other Physical “Defect”
News flash: It doesn’t matter! Every single person on the earth has imperfections, because perfection is impossible.
I know I have flaws. And sometimes I laugh about it, or make a change or accept that ‘flaw’ as no biggie, and an awesome part of my Robyn self.
No Ifs, Justs or Shoulds
These are probably the 3 biggest words I hear women use when they talk about change, their bodies, their lives or other aspects of themselves.
If I lost 10 pounds, I would be sexy.
I should eat 800 calories per day to be healthy.
I love myself, it’s just that my skin is broken out.
If I exercised more, I would be happy.
I should do the cleaning, laundry, cooking, exercising and kid-watching and all other imaginable tasks today.
I’m just so upset about my round belly, I should do 100 crunches a day and if I do that, I’ll be awesome.
Ever since I noticed these words coming up constantly in my own vocabulary, I work to correct these statements when they come up in my mind.
How To Do It
My first advice is to start slowly, perhaps by choosing to act on one or two of the activities below.
- Dry Skin Brushing: This practice will help you get used to touching your body in a loving way. It’s done easily in 5 minutes or less before your shower. Bonus benefits of helping you detox through the skin, and moving your immune-boosting lymphatic system.
- Follow up that skin brush + show with a luxurious (and natural) body butter, smoothed all over your gorgeous bits.
- Notice the Ifs, Justs and Shoulds: This will take some time and practice, and I’m willing to bet you’ll notice that happening A LOT. As they come through, with compassion and no judgement, kindly tell them to take a hike by reframing the sentence. Here’s an example:
- If only I lost 10 pounds, I would be sexy becomes I’m super sexy now with my delicious curves and feminine body
- Journal About It: I journal almost every day. Sometimes is just about gratitude, and sometimes I go deeper. When I’m feeling off or down about myself or body, I write about it. What am I feeling, and why might I be feeling that way? I always end on the positive- what are the awesome things I’ve got in place to help me out of this funk? What am I grateful for about my body? Regularly incorporating a practice like this will reduce your stress and increase your awareness of how awesome your body is, and all the wonderful things you can practice to keep the love going.
- Keep Yourself Motivated: There’s SO MUCH information out there about body love and self-confidence. Check out some books, podcasts and movers and shakers in this niche industry for more tips and motivation. Here are some I love:
- Love Your Body, Love Your Life by Sarah Maria
- Confidence on the Go Podcast by Trish Blackwell
- The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
- The Confidence Code by Katty Kay + Claire Shipman
- PlayWithTheWorld.com by Shannon Kaiser
- SummerInnanen.com by Summer Innanen, Body Image Coach
- Stop the Comparison: This is tricky, but you might notice this one popping up with the Ifs, Justs and Shoulds. No one is like you, and you are like no one but yourself. And that’s AMAZING! Even though they are different, different does not equal better.
My final notes on the subject are that this takes time, and it takes awareness. Compassionately let yourself develop these skills, and don’t forget to take action on one (or some) of the body-loving activities I mentioned here today.