Feeling bad about your body can really wear on you. When we get dressed or look in the mirror we may develop a habit of picking ourselves apart, critiquing and never giving credit for the good.
The insidious part of all this is that this tape continues starts to run in the background of your mind on a continuous loop, slowly but surely building up a layer of dislike for your body. Imagine it like a callous. It becomes built up, tough, embedded. But like a callous, it can be changed and removed. The trick is to start small.
Changing Your Body Image for the Better
You may be skeptical about whether you can change how you think about your body. But, like anything that you practice over and over, you will not only get better at it, you can get downright good at it. You got good at critiquing yourself didn’t you? 🙂
So how should you change your body image?
Find something about your body, about yourself, that you like. This may be hard at first if you are used to focusing in on parts of your body in a critical manner. But don’t get discouraged. Trust that you can do this. CHOOSE to be positive about this. “Fake it Til You Make It” is a great saying that really works!
So what can you focus in on? Find some part that is pleasing to you. Maybe it is a certain curve, or a muscle, or the color or quality of your skin … even if it is in just one area. Maybe it is your smile or your eyes. If you feel like you can’t find one, then just pick one part to work with.
You must give yourself permission first. You must say out loud or in your mind: “I am good. I am allowed to like myself. I am allowed to feel proud of myself. I am allowed to feel good about my body even if it is just parts. Loving myself opens me up to love others.” This is a good thing to practice every day.
What we’re talking about here is a love of kindness not arrogance. It is a love of respect. It is a love of appreciation. It is a love that is centered on your sacred goodness. You have this in you. Now is the time to let it flow.
Focus in on that part of you. Notice it as if you were looking at someone else. Admire it and praise it. Give yourself compliments and accept those compliments with gratefulness. Do this for a few minutes when you are getting dressed and undressed each day.
Any time you find yourself critiquing, tell yourself that you are putting those critiques on hold. Go back to positive praise. Then get dressed and just let that sit in your mind. During the day if it comes to mind, remember to focus on prasing the good and put off critiquing. Simply think of other things. Just say no to criticism and negative judgments. Say no and move on.
Why This Is So Powerful
Once you start to make a habit of doing this, you start to erase the callous of self-critique, of self-dislike. You start to build in its place a smoothness of self-love that will be a foundation for many good things in your life such as having more love available for others and a greater ability to make positive changes in your life.
Making Positive Changes Become Easier
When you start focusing in on the good, you start to live in a mind-set of “winning the game” instead of “losing.” When you feel like you are winning then any healthy program you are trying to live by will become easier. Healthy eating and exercising for health will become that much easier and your results will start to snowball for the better as you become healthier and stronger.
Loving Yourself Is NOT a Sin
When you consistently start and end your day on a positive note, you start to establish a new habit, one that will serve you well. You can build on this habit, and over time begin to incorporate more love and appreciation for other parts of your body. You could eventually become quite happy about your body, and let me tell you some thing very important: This is NOT a sin!! This is an important and good thing for you to create.
Why? Because you will be able to bring more goodness into the world when you love and appreciate yourself.
Don’t get me wrong. This is not a self-love like Narcisis. This is not arrogance. This is not even necessarily a public self-love, although there is nothing wrong with sharing it with others. It is a grounded confidence that stems from compassion for that most vulnerable part of your. When you can be compassionate for yourself, you can then give compassion to others who are also vulnerable and in need of compassion.
Loving Yourself Makes Loving Others Easier
Sometimes these people appear before us as raging, angry, and mean. We only think they are strong. Our reflex is usually to react negatively to such people. With a compassion habit, we start to recognize that on the inside these aggressive people are hurting.
When you develop compassion for yourself, for those parts of you that you normally judge harshly, that’s when you strengthen the “muscle” for compassion for others. You can begin to see that behind anger, frustration and aggression lies vulnerability. This is where we can begin to focus instead of the outside commotion.
In the end this makes you a happier person and the world a better place. From the inside out.
You can do it!
What are your thoughts on this! Please tell me what you think in the comments below.
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photo credits: Left, Middle, Right