“Body love is not about saying you don’t have goals. Body love doesn’t mean you can’t achieve greater fitness. Body love is about befriending the vehicle that holds your soul, even when it’s not the ideal image to you. Finding compassion while reaching your health goals, is still body love.” I posted this on Instagram a few weeks ago after having this dialogue with myself. You see, my body doesn’t look like it used to, my clothes don’t all fit and my size has gone up.
But you know what else went up? The most important part of all. My self-worth. For this time, it’s not about the numbers. When I was the smallest I have ever been, my self-worth was in the dumps. Why? Because of the size of our waists, the numbers on the scale and what our body looks like does not determine our worth. The shape of your hips won’t make you happy. Happiness is an inside job. It’s hard work. Yet never does it come from body image.
Now body love is a complicated subject. One can ask. How can we love our body when it isn’t the ideal image to us? Can we love ourselves, appreciating our body while still attaining our goals to be the healthiest and most vibrant us? As Lindsay Kite PhD says, “Positive Body Image isn’t believing your body looks good. It’s knowing your body ‘is’ good, regardless of how it looks.” I believe that is the answer. To know deep down, our body is a vehicle for our soul. It’s our responsibility to take good care of our body with healthy foods, movement, self-care, compassion and kindness. The size of your clothing isn’t what’s important. What matters is how you feel in your skin. Are you feeling light? Vibrant? Healthy? Beautiful?
Here are some steps I find helpful in beginning to accept your body in compassion.
- Get curious. Usually there is more work to be done beneath the loathing at our bodies. Emotions rest in our tissues. Lye on your bed. Take one hand to the heart and one to the belly. Breathe from the belly into the lungs and back down again, in and out through your nose. Close your eyes. Imagine a ball of white light washing over your mind, body and soul. This light is the essence of who you are. Keep this going for as long as you can, even if it’s 5 minutes. This is great to practice every day and is a meditation in of itself.
- Know your body is allowed to charge. We change our minds, our outfits, direction in life, hair color, and so much more. So too our bodies change over time. Stress, hormones, depression, life transitions or simply, change. If our bodies do change and we don’t embrace it all, that is ok too. Know you can start over today and have goals and still not hate the gift you have. Look into the mirror deep into your eyes. You are your soul. You are a beautiful radiant being. Your body is holding your soul. Come home. Appreciate what you see.
Affirmation on Body Acceptance
Stand naked in front of the mirror.
Look at your entire body as a whole.
Whisper softly to your heart, ‘thank you.’
Trace your spine in self-love.
Say again, ‘thank you, beautiful.’
The body hears every thought.
Look at your body differently today.
Speak to your body differently today.
From my book Ascending Voice.
3. Write down a goal. Make it attainable. For me, it’s going to move my body for half an hour every day in July either in Yoga, dance, kickboxing, swimming. Find a movement you are passionate about. I love to swim outdoors. I’m going to aim to do this more now that it’s warm. Don’t forget to write down the reason why. What is your why. Make sure besides for losing weight, it’s for health and to feel vibrant and alive! Will you join me in July?
4. Write down what you do love about your body. If you can’t find anything, write down what you love about who you are. What are the qualities that makes you beautiful? Is it kindness? The ability to forgive and let go? The way you love? Write away. Make it a love letter to yourself. Find compassion for the self-loathing and for any harsh judgments at your body or heart.
I’m moving through this journey of knowing it’s ok to lose the weight both physically and emotionally and still love and accept my body at the same time. I’m here to support you. From my heart to yours.