Many women look in the mirror and see nothing but their flaws. They aren’t comfortable in their bodies, even with their partners in the privacy of their own bedrooms. They judge how they look way more harshly than anyone else.
How likely is your body going to maintain its youth, vigor, wellness, and well-being if you abuse it with your thoughts and words? How well does a child flourish in such an environment? How healthy are your relationships when you do nothing but subject the other to constant criticism?
Starving your body of nutrient rich-foods and undertaking minimal movement are just the symptoms of the mental and emotional treatment you are heaping on your body. How well are you going to treat something that you hate, loath, despise, or are ashamed of?
As many teachers will tell you, the answer is to love your body. When you love your body, you want to take care of it. You appreciate it. And the positive, anabolic energy you provide it allows your body to rebuild, regenerate, and remain vital and alive.
When you have experienced long-term body shame, however, trying to go immediately to loving your body feels like a big fat lie. It’s almost laughable. It feels so foreign; it’s just not a habit you can develop easily.
Start by finding one thing about your body you can appreciate. Maybe it’s your tongue. You taste foods well. You are articulate and able to communicate with it. Your tongue never lets you down.
After a few days of appreciating your tongue—even for just 1 minute a day—then find something else about your body to appreciate. Perhaps your hard-working hands. Your hands are going non-stop every day. From throwing off your covers in the morning to picking up your coffee cup, to holding your child—your hands are helping you in so many ways.
Slowly build up so that you can appreciate every part of your body.
You appreciate your toes for providing you balance, and your feet for supporting your body weight each step of every day.
You appreciate your ankles, calves, knees, thighs, and hips for their strength, support, and flexibility as you move about—walking, sitting, standing.
You appreciate your abs, waist, and core for supporting you while you bend and reach. You appreciate your chest as it expands with lungfuls of life-giving air.
You appreciate your back, shoulders, and arms as you lift and carry everything from a sock to groceries, and for the ability to hug and embrace.
You appreciate your neck for supporting your head, and your mouth, throat, and tongue for enabling you to tell your partner you love them. You appreciate your eyes for helping you see the world and for how they reflect your spirit. You appreciate your brain for enabling you to think, and your body to function.
When you get to the point where you can appreciate each and every part of your body—even those parts that you typically judge as “gross” or that aren’t working as well as you would like—then you will know you have mastered loving your body. It will then be easy to look in the mirror and say, “I love you”—and mean it.
Did you notice that everything you were appreciating was about what your body gives to you? It wasn’t about how good you look in a pair of jeans, or how another might judge you. It was about functioning with wellness and well-being. It was about acknowledging the gifts that your body is giving you every moment of every day.
What difference do you think loving your body from head to toe makes in how you treat yourself—and others? How much easier might it be to get up and go for a walk or reach for an apple instead of a cookie? How much more physical and emotional energy might you have?
How does letting go of body shame help you move towards the life of your dreams?
Together we can do it!