Are you sick of the “love the skin you’re in” message? When you hear that do you think, “If I was in different skin then maybe I could appreciate my body more.”
I get that. Understanding the benefits of accepting and loving yourself is a lot different than actually feeling that way. You don’t go from hating your body one day to loving it by just saying to yourself, “I am ok with who I am. I will love myself from this moment on.” If that has worked for you, I am so envious! If it hasn’t worked for you, then you’re not alone.
Making the transition from hating your body to loving it is a process a little bit like training for a race or fitness competition. It requires action and discipline. But unlike training for a physical endeavour, the actions and discipline actually feel a lot more pleasant! Here are a few training exercises to help you go from self-hatred to self-acceptance:
- Move your body! You don’t have to make this very complex. Go for more walks, sign up for Beachbody, start running, get on your bike, take your dog for a hike. Anything! Moving your body will make you feel better mentally and physically. It also helps you reconnect your mind and body – a connection that social media, technology and the busyness of modern life, have done a good job of severing.
- Go to bed. Give yourself permission to stop abusing your body and go to bed when you’re tired. Also think about turning off your screens by 8:00 so your brain has time to fall into its normal circadian rhythms. Sleep, like exercise, can make you see yourself and the world in a completely different, and more positive, light.
- Dismiss your negative self-talk without acknowledgement. When the brutal criticisms float through your mind (as they do for all of us), just let them pass through without acknowledging or greeting them. This takes practice, so don’t worry if you fail sometimes! Just bat them away like wispy, harmless rain clouds.
- Treat your body like it’s already worthy. Buy nice clothes – don’t settle for comfortable and baggy. Get rid of your aspirational clothing. If you lose weight and get really fit at some point, you can purchase new clothes to reward yourself. For now, just keep clothing that you can wear. Wear lingerie under your clothing, put nice lotion on, get your nails done, eat healthy food, do a boudoir shoot, etc. Treat yourself with love and respect.
- Always have a goal to work toward. Whether this is a fitness goal, learning a new skill, correcting a bad habit, taking up a good habit, etc., always have something to work toward. Accepting yourself for who you are doesn’t mean you’re done growing. The empowerment you’ll experience from challenging yourself is life-changing!
Lastly, and I mention this because I have met a lot of women in this situation, if you are in a relationship with someone who is constantly criticizing you, calling you names, comparing you to other women, or making you feel like you’re crazy for caring about those things, you might want to consider couples’ counselling or ending the relationship. Relationships are hard and we all make mistakes, but a steady diet of these behaviours is unhealthy and unnecessary. You are better off on your own than with someone who is treating you like that. Seek out a friend, a counsellor, a doctor, a family member or even me if you need some help navigating this.
Memories of Spring
I can smell spring in the air today, so I thought I would share this beautiful shoot with you. We have done several outdoor shoots lately, which has been really fun, but it will be so much more fun for everyone as the weather improves! Thanks to T for allowing us to share these photos!