If I challenged you to stand in front of the mirror naked, take a good long look at your body, and say “I freaking love this”, could you do it? Don’t hit that little x in the top of your screen quite yet. You don’t have to strip off before you can read any further (it’s not that kind of blog). But if you want to find true happiness and contentment in your life, it’s time to start challenging the socially accepted triffle (yes that’s totally a made up word) that’s telling you you can’t do that. That you’re wrong. That you won’t be acceptable until you’ve toned, smoothed, sculpted and polished every last inch of you.
You Deserve To Be Happy
We’re constantly bombarded with messages telling us our body isn’t good enough. How often do you stress about your weight? Your diet? Whether you’re going to the gym enough? I’m not saying ignore your health (that would kinda be the opposite of my mission here, to encourage body love and acceptance), but I am saying that you could be spending a lot of mental energy on stressing over how you look. And that, my dear, is most likely making you miserable, which is no way for a human being to live.
You deserve to be happy and to value your body, and you deserve people in your life who will do just that. Think the right people won’t love you if you’re not picture perfect? Think about every couple you’ve ever met and tell me if each person was straight out of the pages of the latest GAP catalogue. This idea that you only have value, to yourself, others or the world, if you have the right body is a lie, and it’s time to get on your wonder woman pants (any size!) and kick that lie to the kerb.
You Get One Life – Don’t Waste It Hating Your Body
You only get one life. Don’t let glossy airbrushed super models and shiny perfect TV characters encourage you to waste it worrying about whether you measure up. You already measure up because you’re already lovely, and the more you can start to see that, the better you’ll feel.
Ready To Feel Happier And More Confident?
Five tips to start appreciating the awesomeness that is your body, right now:
1. Realise that your body is the sole instrument of every happy moment you’ve ever known. That amazing salsa you had in your favourite restaurant? Would have been a lot less taste without your body. That time you went to the game and cheered yourself hoarse? Your body did that. Sipping champagne overlooking a crystal blue sea on that holiday? Thanks again body! Your body is the one thing that allows you to experience your life and everything good in it – how can you hate something that has already bought you so much joy?
2. Surround yourself with positive messages. If all you’re seeing is size 0 models and pefectly tanned beach bodies, you’re not going to feel great. Instead, search out stories and images of strong, intelligent, creative women who have done something that you admire. See how fantastic they are without the need to apologise or conform. Read body acceptance blogs. Look at pictures of fabulous women of all sizes who aren’t afraid to step out and say “this is me, and I love it!”
3. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. Body politics is a complex issues way beyond the scope of this article, but to get right back to basics here: Your body, your business. Whether your problem is that coworker who keeps telling you you need to eat more, or the aunt who insists on telling you you’d be beautiful if you lost twenty pounds, it’s time to stand up and tell them it’s not their business. It’s hard to start with but the more you stand up for your right not to be criticized, labelled and pelted with unasked-for advice, the stronger and prouder of your body you’re going to feel.
4. Change your self talk. Replace the negative things you say to yourself with kinder things. I’ll give you my favourite technique for this one: Talk to yourself like you’d talk to a friend. Unless you’re a real ass (and of course you’re not, you’re lovely), you wouldn’t tell your bestie her body was ugly, so don’t do it to yourself. Pay attention to your body-hating thoughts and make the effort to think something positive. Start simple. Just think “I refuse to hate my body” or “my body is worth loving”. It takes practice, but keep at it.
5. Learn to love everything, as it is right now. Now to do this I actually do recommend standing naked in front of a mirror. I know, I know, but bear with me. Doing this is scary as hell and at first you might find you feel stupid, you can’t stop criticizing, you might even cry. But stick with it. Just be gentle with yourself – take slow breaths and look. Really look. You don’t have to adore what you see straight away, but start with “it’s not so bad.” Look for something good (nice hair, smooth skin, strong legs). Then ramp it up a notch by re-framing the bad. Do your legs have to be skinny? Can’t they be slender instead. Does your stomach have to be huge or ugly? Try curvy and soft. You’re looking at a miracle that lets you breathe and eat and laugh and cry and laugh till you cry. Take a moment to appreciate that.
What are you going to do to start loving your body more? Let me know in the comments. Remember, this is a body-positive post, so keep it kind and delightful if you want to make it past my kick ass moderation ;)