Your Guide to Learning to Love Your Body
March 12, 2019
It’s no secret that the person we each hear from most frequently is that little (and often pesky) voice in our head.
It always seems to find a way to spew criticism, and often times our physical appearance is its easiest target because, well, we can see it—all the time.
Living in a world where the opportunity to compare ourselves is literally at our fingertips, it’s difficult not to find your own faults.
However, positive body image is more about one’s inner feelings than it is your outer appearance. Studies show that “positive body image involves accepting and appreciating the body as it is, even though there may be aspects of appearance that an individual would like to change.”
The truth is, you’re living life right now—at this very moment.
So, why wait until reaching a particular “goal” or “milestone” before allowing yourself the pleasure of feeling happy with who you are? Though the road to loving your body is a long and sometimes bumpy one, you will get through it.
Here are some ways to kickstart that internal transformation:
Engage in Positive Self-Talk and Affirmations
Self-love begins with the way we talk to ourselves and the words we let dictate our day-to-day lives. When it comes to our bodies, we often work towards our goals but shame ourselves in the process.
Whether taking a walk, lifting weights, having lunch, or indulging in an afternoon snack, the words we say during these moments define their outcome.
It’s important to be mindful of that internal chatter and check yourself if it doesn’t align with the way you want to feel. No one wants to feel sad, hurt, intimidated or less than—so try steering yourself away from self-talk that encourages these negative emotions.
Want to show your body some love but not sure where to start? Take a listen to the Love Your Body meditation, now in the Shine app. Here's a sneak peek:
Instead, find moments to affirm yourself. Perhaps each morning as you get ready, take some time to look at yourself in the mirror—really look at yourself and recite what it is you love. Or simply repeating the phrase, “I love you” slowly while looking into your eyes can go a long way.
In life, showing up is half the battle. You may not always get it right the first time, or accomplish as much as you initially set out, but the important thing is you made an effort. Showing yourself compassion in these moments and celebrating your endeavors goes a long way. Loving your body means accepting it and being understanding of your own unique process.
Missing a day at the gym, not reaching a goal as soon as you thought you would, or bringing in “cheat day” a little early shouldn’t discourage you. Instead, own the fact that you are human, show yourself unconditional love, and know that you always have the option of trying again another day.
Give Your Body Thanks
Your body is a temple. It allows you to actually see, physically feel, touch and taste the beauty around you—the warmth of the sun against your cheek, a tender hug or kiss from a loved one, the flavors of perfectly cooked pasta. You owe it to your body to show it the respect it deserves and give it thanks.
Body gratitude is all about shifting your attention away from how your body looks to all of the incredible things it does for you each and every single day. In the morning and before you go to sleep, say a little thanks. Your body got you up and where you needed to go.
Often times we get so consumed with how our body looks that we forget just how important it is overall. By practicing gratitude for your body, it’ll help cultivate a more accepting relationship with your body image.
To help you out, I created a 3 Days to Loving Your Body series of meditations to help you kickstart your self-love journey. The series is now in the Shine app, and here's a sneak peek:
As with all journeys, sometimes we can’t go it alone—and seeking help is a strength, not a weakness. If you or someone you know is at risk or experiencing an eating disorder, resources are available through NEDA. Contact their phone helpline at 800-931-2237 or their text crisis line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.
Today's recommended meditation: