Alright ladies and gents, this is a BIG topic! Like seriously, this is huge. There are books, documentaries, tv series, and many people's careers based solely on this one thing. It is not something that can be learned in one day or even properly discussed in this medium, but it is still well worth talking about. Why? Because is affects ALL of us! And because every little bit of positive change makes a difference.
Who among us hasn't looked in the mirror at some point in our lives and just thought "ugh..." before turning away? We are often disappointed and saddened by what we see. We avert our eyes, pretend it's not there, and proceed to beat ourselves up about it. And if you have no idea what I'm talking about then good for you! You are a rarity.
Most of us have hangups about our bodies. It doesn't matter if you are big or small, short, tall, freckled or muscular. We are all out own harshest critics and it's super important to recognize that if we have the ability to think bad thoughts about our bodies, beat ourselves up, create a negative internal dialogue, and just be mean to ourselves we also have the power to do the opposite. We each hold within us the ability to be kind and compassionate to ourselves, to speak to and about our bodies with love and tenderness, to be our own best friends and our own biggest cheerleaders. Once you realize that power lies within you, the next step is learning to tap into it!
These 10 body love tips will do just that. They are small things that can be the beginning to you heading down the path of loving the skin you're in!
1. Notice your own internal dialogue. Be mindful. We need to know what it is we're saying. So observe. Are you mean? Critical? Judgmental? Or kind and loving? The first step really is knowing where it is you're starting from. What would you like to be saying or thinking instead?
2. Question it all. Just because it's something you've believed to be true for a long time doesn't mean it actually is. Do you call yourself ugly or fat? If so what tells you that's true? Do other people make comments? Are you bullied? Or do others give you compliments which you often push aside believing they may not be true? Question it all and get real with yourself.
3. Journal EVERYTHING! Many times just getting out of your head and putting thoughts down on paper can bring a lot of clarity to things. Every up and down. Every question. When you're having a good day or bad. Write it down. It does help even if it doesn't feel like it at the time!
4. Our bodies are not just here to be looked at, they are the vehicles to our dreams. Compile a list of all of the things your body can do that has nothing to do with looks! This may be playing a sport, caring for your kids, volunteering, or creating a piece of art. Make this list and put it somewhere visible. Add to it as new things come up and remind yourself of all that you can do!
5. Move your body! Our bodies produce feel-good chemicals when we move them regularly plus it keeps us fit and strong. Our bodies are made to move and being sedentary is a recipe for disaster for both our mental and physical health. Find something that feels good for you and incorporate it on a regular basis.
6. Fuel your body with goodness. Keep hydrated (at least 2 liters of water each day) and eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods! Our bodies are all different and all thrive on a different combination of foods, but the fact is that if you fuel yourself with foods that make you feel amazing it'll be contagious to your mood.
7. Touch yourself lovingly (no, not in that way...). Think about how you touch a loved one. Gently on the arm. Perhaps you hold your partner's hand or you caress your child's head when kissing them goodnight. Touch is powerful and we give it freely to so many others, so why not give it to ourselves too? Give yourself a full body massage with coconut oil and lavender before bed. Perhaps a foot massage or neck rub. Caress your body and thank it for being strong and carrying you through this world.
8. Surround yourself with positive influences online. This day in age with social media we are all constantly bombarded with messages of "you should look like this" or "if you lose 10 kg you can be happy too!" and it is honestly exhausting. It's also not true. Happiness starts within and happiness is totally possible regardless of the size or shape of your body. So find and follow body positive influences on social media, and unfollow any accounts that make you feel like crap. If you don't feel good after reading a post or looking at a picture it doesn't deserve your energy so kick it to the curb!
9. Gain some perspective. In 10, 20, or 30 years when you're looking back at your life are you going to be thinking "I'm so happy I treated myself badly and felt guilty about everything! It made my life so much better..." or would you prefer "I'm happy I lived my life to the fullest, loved myself and my body with all my heart, and filled each day with positive thoughts and intentions."? Really honestly, what do you want to say in the future when you look back? We have the power to create our lives each and every day, so choose what it is you want and be intentional about creating it.
10. Begin a daily gratitude practice. It's hard to be negative and down about life when you're constantly reminding yourself of all the greatness surrounding you! Get a gratitude journal and each day write at least two things you're grateful for. The key is that one of them MUST be about your body! Your skin, your strong heart, your nimble fingers... By doing this everyday pretty soon the list of amazing things about your body will far outweigh the negative things you've built up in your head.
These tips are really just scratching the surface, but they are a start. It is possible to love your body just as you are right now. It's possible to be your own best friend and cheerleader! It starts with a decision to do so, then the dedication to stick with it one day at a time. And if this feels overwhelming or impossible, just take it from someone who has walked the path of body hatred that it can happen. You can learn to love your body. You can learn to speak kindly to yourself and admire what you see in the mirror. You can learn to be happy in your own skin. One day and one decision at a time.
Much love and support,
PS. If you're not already in the Body Love Tribe what's stopping you? We are a kick-ass tribe of supportive women and there are regular live events and trainings inside the group! Come on over and join us!