When referring to our bodies, many (most?) women have completed the following statement: “I hate my _______.” We fill in the blank with whatever body part we feel is flawed. It could be our legs, our breasts, our nose, our arms, our rear ends – the options are endless.
I’ve done it myself. Influenced by the onslaught of media images of airbrushed models and celebrities, I once thought I should have a flat, practically concave belly. I expected this despite knowing that even at a healthy weight in my 20s, before pregnancy, I had never had a truly flat stomach. I just didn’t have that body type. And yet, I “hated” my stomach for years.
I am sure I am not alone. Almost all of us have a distorted image of our body. Our culture places an undue amount of importance on outward appearance. As a result, on a daily basis we can get in the habit of talking to ourselves in ways we would never speak to another.
Consider this. What would happen if you spoke to a child the way you speak to yourself about your body? It would devastate the child, affecting every aspect of their life. Negative self-talk has a similarly damaging effect on us, causing stress and emotional pain in our bodies. This makes improving your health or losing weight even more difficult.
Perhaps you have gotten into the habit of berating yourself in an effort to bring about change. If so, think of all of the intelligence, creativity and time you spend on improving, altering and judging your appearance.
Who would you be and what could you accomplish if your valuable resources weren’t used this way?
Constant emphasis on the external makes us discount the great presence and intelligence that is housed by the body. It causes us to forget the wondrous internal rhythms at work, and we fail to acknowledge the beautiful bodies we have.
The body you have right now is incredible! It never misses a heartbeat. It maintains homeostasis. It miraculously digests whatever you put into it. It is your instrument for expressing your creativity, intelligence and love. By focusing on the 1% you don’t like, you may be ignoring the remaining 99% about your body that is beautiful, unique and delightful.
What would your life be like if you were simply at peace with the body you have? You may wish to make your body healthier and stronger, but could you do that out of love and respect for your body instead of the opposite? Could you begin to treat yourself with kindness, to limit the negative self-talk and reconnect with your inner wisdom?
Take a minute to imagine what that would feel like. It would mean celebrating your body rather than punishing it. It would mean nourishing your body rather than depriving it. It would mean a chance to watch your body flourish when treated with care and respect.
Promise yourself today that the next time you hear “I hate my _____” in your head, you will immediately recognize it as negative and damaging, and replace it with a positive statement about how good and hard working your body is. Then do something to truly nourish yourself.
Can you relate? Comment below and share what body part you are going to stop hating today, and what you will do or say instead.