Our bodies have it hard today, there are so many demands on them. There is especially a lot of pressure on how our bodies should look. Our society has created such a small window of “acceptability”, and most of us (me included – especially as I get older) are outside of it.
And, as we are flooded by messages of our bodies falling short, it is hard not to compare ourselves to the runway model, or that buff dude in the perfume commercial, and feel like our body is not ok.
So many of my clients tell me that they feel disgusted by their body, which always leaves me feeling really sad.
I want to invite you to give your body a break. To start celebrating it as the amazing miracle it is. Your body is your good friend, who is doing its very best with what it has available, to regulate multiple internal processes for you all the time (your nervous system, your lymphatic system, your vascular system, your muscular system, etc.), so you can live, breath, act and be. You are a miracle!
Let’s give it some appreciation!
I invite you to move away from how your body looks to what your body allows you to do! Focusing on your looks – and how you do not measure up – will turn out to be a trap and leave you feeling unhappy.
Few of us fit into the narrow box of “optimal physical appearance” that our media provides us with. And even if you come close to it when you are young, sooner or later as you age (as I am experiencing now as a 46-year old), that will no longer be the case.
Instead of focusing on your looks and zooming in on the parts that you don’t like (for me that would be my various veins, the elasticity of my skin, and the few pounds I would like to lose), I want to choose to focus on what my body allows me to do. I want to celebrate the amazing avatar it is… allowing me to live and act in this world.
For example, I want to appreciate my amazing hands that allow me to hug, cook and type. I want to be grateful for my eyes that allow me to see so much breath-taking beauty. I want to be grateful for my nose that allows me to smell coffee, flowers and my husband’s hair. I want to be thankful for my brain that allows me to analyze, understand and learn.
I want to appreciate my feet that so cooperatively carry me from one place to another. I want to be grateful for my heart, which for each day I am alive, beats 150, 000 times, so all my cells can be supplied with oxygen.
I think nobody in our society will be able to love their body without a good amount of stubbornness and determination. It is a choice to no longer be willing to give into limiting messages that our media spews, but to take your faith into your own hands, and radically decide that you have a flippin’ awesome body. I invite you to get a bit rebellious and pissed off, have your own back and don’t give anybody else the power to tell you otherwise.
I recently saw the Netflix movie, “Embrace”, which I thought was very touching and inspiring. It showed the journey of several women, from judging their bodies to accepting and celebrating them. If you have a moment, I think it is worth watching.
Here are three specific steps that can help you move towards accepting & celebrating your body:
1. Change your self-talk – stop putting your body down.
This applies to when you talk to yourself or to other people. Each time you catch yourself saying something like, “I hate my hips”, “ I can’t stand my stomach”, “Nobody likes a guy who is bald”. Stop and change your narrative to one of radical, stubborn acceptance. Say something like, “I appreciate my hips for allowing me to walk, dance and run”, “I appreciate and fully accept my stomach for allowing me to digest food”, “I appreciate and support my balding head, accepting it as part of the unique and precious human I am”.
2. Hold a daily “body appreciation minute”.
Just for one minute a day, thank your body for the awesome job it does every day for you and focus on the parts you like about your body. For me, that would be my eye color, the texture of my hair, my long fingers, the shape of my fingernails, and so on.
3. Implement body appreciation exercise.
When you put on your lotion, as you apply it to each of your body parts. Thank each body part as you lather it, saying something like, “Thank you feet”, “Thank you ankles”, “Thank you thighs”, “Thank you knees”, etc. This is a wonderful exercise in meeting your body with appreciation and love.
Let’s stand together, celebrating our unique vessels, the ones that hold the essence of who we are. Vessels that allow us to live in this world, to express who we are and make a difference. Let us be radically accepting and appreciative of them. We all are awesome miracles!
This post is part of the blog series "Creating Happiness", your inspiration to promote positive change in your life.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ms Daniela Beer-Becker, Psychologist
Daniela is a regular contributor to the Blake Psychology blog and author of the "Creating Happiness" series.
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