Internet Inspiration – June 21, 2013
June 21, 2013
why-i-love-exercising
Why I Love Exercising
June 26, 2013

But What If I HATE My Body? 3 Strategies to Help

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Body shaming. Low self-esteem. Sometimes you look in the mirror and hate what you see. Or you put on clothes and hate everything. We’ve all been there. Some of us are still there.

And if you want to change, I want to help you change. I want you to get where you want to go, and I want you to be radiantly happy in your life. It doesn’t really matter what your end result looks like, but it’s probable that our methods for getting you there will vary.

You may currently be in the habit of shaming your body, hating it in the hopes that it just doesn’t know it’s not wanted the way it is. Like one day it’ll finally hear you and say, “Oh shoot, I was only in this form because I thought you liked it. Let me edit myself.” To try and send it the message, you restrict what you eat, or judge yourself for what you eat. Maybe you exercise in ways you don’t enjoy because it burns a certain number of calories. You may insult yourself when you look in the mirror, or put yourself down around friends. You may interpret the looks you get from friends and strangers to be judgmental and mean.

I think that’s damaging. Like, when you were a little kid and you got yelled at for doing something, did it help you learn or change? Maybe you learned, but I think you didn’t learn what you were supposed to, you just figured out how to not get in trouble. If I was getting yelled at, or pushed around, I’d do whatever it took to get out of that situation pronto. But when people took the time to lovingly explain things to me, I never forgot. And I was inspired to do better. And try new things. I knew I was in a safe zone.

So for all of you who can’t seem to shake the diatribes in your head, I have 3 strategies that may help you start to not hate your body right now.

1) Get naked

Peeps. It’s summer. You know you want to be naked anyway. Get on it. Start doing chores naked. Cook naked. Read naked. For goodness’s sake, sleep naked. If you have privacy outside, sunbathe NAKED! If you live with people, it’s fine to wait until they’re out of the house. I live by myself, which makes it ok for me to be naked all the time. Although, maybe when I know you better I’ll tell you a funny story about roommates that were supposed to be gone for the whole day and definitely weren’t.

The point is, sometimes when you’re doing something while naked, it’s easier to lose yourself in the task and not get swept away in the discomfort. Be advised, the first five minutes or so you may be super aware of your body. But persevere, my friends! Commit to 20 minutes a day of deliberate naked time. Try singing. Or dancing.

Get accustomed to yourself again. When you return to your clothes, you might feel even more comfortable in clothes just by virtue of not being so vulnerable in nudity. Or maybe you’ll be addicted to naked time, like me 🙂

2) Try self-massage

I think that a lot of times discomfort with the body shows up because there’s a separation between What Is and What You Expect. You look at yourself in the mirror, and some part of you doesn’t recognize it as yourself. That happens to me every time I see a grey hair or a wrinkle. I don’t hate them, but I don’t recognize myself as a person with grey hair and wrinkles (I’m 27).

So again, get accustomed to yourself. Find some oil (my faves are avocado and coconut oil), add some fragrance (rose or lavender or cinnamon essential oils are nice), or choose a lotion, and pick a body part that you’ll just touch for 20 minutes or so. One day do your inner thighs. The next day massage your breasts. Then the following day give your belly some love.

There’s no wrong way to do this. Just do what feels nice. Pretend there’s a baby in your belly that you’re talking to, or massage your breasts the way a lover might touch you. Smush everything around like play dough. Just do it. Commit to a month of loving moisturization and massage. If nothing else, your skin will thank you.

3) Declare a cease-fire

If nothing else, stop saying mean things to your body. If you can’t love it, don’t love it. But start with the respect of not destroying it with nasty words. Just say, “I respect you.” You could even say, “Legs, I don’t love you. But I respect you for letting me walk.” or, “Breasts, I don’t love you. But I promise to respect you.” Or don’t say anything at all. But start with respect.

Then, when you’re ready, see if you can accept your body. You already respect it, can you accept it just as it is? I think this is what people mean when they use the phrase “agree to disagree.” I respect you, and I accept you for what you are, even if I don’t like it or don’t think the same. Give your body that.

Lastly, as you’re ready, try love on for size. This may be a hard one, and it may come in bits and pieces, but look at yourself and say, “I already respect you, and I accept what you are and how you look. Maybe today I can love my elbows? Maybe my face? Maybe my hips? Feet?” There’s no judgment here. You already respect and accept your body, which is a heck of a lot better than hating on it all the time. Invite love. No rush.

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So those are my three tips that have worked for me in learning to love my body. Give them a go and let me know how you do.

Love, Kathryn