No matter your size, weight, height, gender, or skin color, I’m sure at some point you’ve looked at your body and wasn’t super nice to what you had to say about it. Body hate runs rampant in this culture. Body shame and body judgement are ways we are taught to relate to our body. Yet, these filters are painful and dismiss body love altogether.
You deserve to see your body with the eyes of your heart. Your body is a sacred vessel that you will inhabit until the day you leave this planet. Because of that, it’s important to learn how to practice body love.
Now, I’m far from perfect in this category. I have had my share of pain with my body. I have used it, abused it and completely disassociated from it. I’ve struggled with alcoholism, eating disorders and self-hate talk so when I talk about this subject, I talk from a place of deep understanding of how hateful the mind can be to the body.
After many years of actively participating in the healing of this self-hate pattern, I find myself ready to share some of the things that have helped me.
First, your relationship with your body is like any other relationship you have. If you want it to get better, you must actively participate in creating it. This means have a willingness and openness to make choices that are for the evolution of your relationship. Stop making choices that keep you in the pattern of pain and hate. To break any pattern, you must take massive action to change it. Nothing will change if you continue to do what you have been doing.
An example could be wanting to lose weight because you know you’re not healthy in your current physical state. A pattern many people fall into is getting motivation to change, deciding to do some sort of intense diet, which usually is about restricting, and jumping on some crazy workout routine that is discouraging because you can’t do what it’s telling you to do. You get discouraged because your body isn’t doing what you want it to, then you start eating your comfort foods because you say “F*ck it” and you spiral into the pattern once again. This pattern is setting you up for failure.
Lasting change does NOT happen overnight.
Lasting change is a practice. In practice, we are constantly evolving and getting better at something. Growing up playing sports, I had hours and hours of practice before a game. This practice was preparing me for the game. Then when that game was over, I practiced again until the next game. This continued throughout the season of the sport.
I love to think of life in seasons. You are constantly moving from one season to the next. Body love is a practice. You must commit to a practice. Satisfaction comes from progress. Little by little, change happens.
Evaluate your goals
Often, a goal is set with the linear mind. It makes sense because the linear mind is good at creating goals. But when it comes to the goals of body love, try setting goals from your heart and the feeling of what you want. Instead of a weight you want to achieve, make your goal to hold a plank for 1 minute. This could represent strength rather than weight. It’s important to focus on the feeling of what you want to experience inside yourself first. Let that feeling be the goal.
Body Love Is Inner Work
Body love is an inner transformation first and foremost. The outer transformation happens after the inner has transformed. When the inner world is different, meaning your inner voice speaks to you with kindness and love, you are practicing body love. When you can catch yourself falling into an old pattern of body hate, be gentle as you come out of it. Remember, there is no such thing as perfect.
Your relationship with your body is vital. How you live in your body will determine the quality of your life.
How To Practice Body Love:
- Reflection-Looking in the mirror every morning before your day saying “I love you. You are beautiful.” Look in that same mirror at night saying “You did your best. I am grateful for you.”
- Self Love-Close your eyes, touch your heart and feel your body from the inside out.
- Gratitude-Give gratitude for your body where it is now.
- Commit-Make a commitment of Body Love. Create a ceremony for body love by lighting a candle that represents body love to you.
- Say It Like You Mean It-Create a mantra that you can say to break your body hate patterns. For example, “I DESERVE THIS BODY” or “I LOVE ALL OF ME IN THIS MOMENT”. Make the mantra an incantation meaning, you feel every word in your body, you stand tall and say it will authority and power.
- Be Aware-Awareness equals choice so when you become aware and not disconnect or ignore, you have a choice for change. That choice brings a power that body love will thrive on.
- Forgive Yourself– you will get off track and at times feel body hate sneak back in but forgive yourself quickly and move on. You are not perfect. You are human. Forgive and move forward.
- Be Gentle-Find kindness and gentleness for yourself. Treat yourself like you would your new puppy. Give yourself permission to be gentle to your process.
You are worth your time and attention.