For most of my life, I’ve always wanted to be skinnier. Wished it. Made my worth about it. I believed that a (different) version of my body would indicate that I was safe, valuable, enough. I didn’t ask for intelligence. I didn’t seek kindness. I sought ‘the body.’
Trust me, this is a shitty way to live.
You see, the thing is, I have (and have always had) a beautiful body. I had a beautiful (albeit hungry) body when I was in the throes of an eating disorder. I had a beautiful body when I rebelled and went on a ‘no carb left behind tour.’ I had a beautiful body as an Olympian. I have a beautiful body now.
It’s All Relational
Now here’s the rub: my body was never the issue.
I suffered because of how I related to my body. I was a quintessential ‘Mean Girl’ to my body! In fact, rather than appreciating the opportunity I have to be embodied, I took my stress, fears, disappointments and cast them on to my body. Like Regina George, I related to my body conditionally.
If there was a way to capitalize on my body—great—but otherwise, I just shamed it and bullied it around. It took me a long time (and a few therapists and loving partners) to unlearn this mean girl attitude. Sadly, I know I’m not the only one who's had to do this. Here are three ways I’ve learned to better love my body!
1. You Sexy Thing!
One technique I’ve used to make friends with my body is sweet appreciation. Instead of thinking about what needs to be ‘fixed’ think about what is divine!
I recommend taking five minutes in front of a mirror to really see yourself. Clothed or naked, stand in front of a mirror and look. If you haven’t done this before, you will likely be critical at first…"Those hips! That cellulite…"
This is normal. Most people have, in fact, trained their mind to self-assess negatively. Notice these thoughts. Then, stay (Tough—I know!). Look into your eyes. What else do you see? Do you see a sweet, crooked smile that makes you unique? Do you see beautiful toes that wiggle under the ground?
Do you see a sweet booty that Beyonce would approve of (Hey girl!)? Make a list of three things you love most about your body right then, and post it on the mirror. Let this list be a reminder to you every day.
2. Move it! Move it!
You know how good you feel after a night of dancing and singing and laughing and being…Yeah! Do it. Do it often. When we find ways to enjoy experiences within our bodies, we more easily learn to appreciate them. Take a dance class. Do some sweaty Vinyasa. Shake your groove thing and feel better! Repeat often.
3. Take a Language Diet
No one is saying the stuff about your body that you tell yourself. I guarantee it. Not one person. So why are you?
Try this out: For ONE WHOLE DAY, make a promise to not discuss or demean your (or anyone else’s) body. Talk about yoga. Talk about Stephen Colbert. Just don’t talk about the state of your thighs! (Trust me, you are *way* more interesting than that anyway.)
Watch how a little sweetness from your lips does wonderful things for your entire being.
Try these tips and you're sure to feel better about your body soon after!