Self-love and body positivity are all the current rage in marketing and #inspo. I applaud everyone who posts their bikinis pics feeling all jazzed and confident with the tag #bodypositive. But for most people this concept is unrealistic and these images feel completely fake and contribute to those feelings of unworthiness.
A client said to me, I saw this post on Instagram that said you just have to put on a bikini and love your body and that’s all there was to it.
“that’s just never going to happen”.
And she is 100% right that is really unrealistic for most people and in fact just gives them one more thing to feel like they should be doing but are failing at.
If you have had a chequered relationship with your body, with food or fitness just loving yourself is not going to be a quick or easy task,
To say to your body I am going to forget the years of torture and torment I put you through and instead just say, I love you just the way you are, it’s not going to work.
So my suggestion is to lets completely tone it down, forget about loving our body and instead focus on something we all should be working towards and able to achieve.
Let’s start with practising kindness towards our body and our self, respecting our body and accepting our body.
I think respect and acceptance are what most people can work towards and most people should be working towards rather than the fluffy feel good self-love.
So, I’ve got four tips for you; how to literally like your body.
Change the self-talk
When you notice you are having these same negative dialogue with yourself;
Saying “I don’t like this about myself, I hate this about myself”
“Oh, this feels Yuck. I hate my belly, I hate my arms, I hate my legs”,
Notice it and stop it.
Nothing good will come from body shaming and hating yourself.
Repeating that internal dialogue is only going to just re-emphasize the thoughts and the negative thoughts that you have about your body.
As soon as you notice this negative story creeping in break the cycle by:
1: saying something kind about your self
2:Stating out loud one part of your body you like
3:Stopping and start an activity that is pleasure able and kind to yourself; brush your hair, paint your nails, pick out a nice outfit.
Begin by paying attention and practicing awareness where we go down that shame spiral, so that you can bring these thoughts back to a place of kindness.
Don’t join in body hate.
I notice so often then when we get into groups it is common to create a group bond by talking down to ourselves. Spending time with friends where negative conversations about bodies constantly come up can normalize body dissatisfaction and body hate.
If you receive a compliment it is expected the response is downplayed, and deflected to something which puts a negative spin on it.
I love your new haircut!
Ohhhh I only got a fringe to hide my wrinkles.
When you notice that you’re having these sort of conversations both with friends or family ask yourself
Is this a positive conversation?
Is this a productive conversation?
Is this something that’s going to make me feel better or worse afterwards?
Knowing that if the answer is no do not be afraid to speak up, change the topic.
The comparison trap.
When you are spending time with friends, also when you are spending time on social media and alone. Think about how much time you spend looking at other people’s bodies, comparing yourself to other people’s bodies, commenting on other people’s bodies, and around people who constantly comment and critique on other people’s bodies.
How many hours of the day are given to these kinds of thoughts, this headspace and this negativity?
When we spend time comparing ourselves with someone else, it’s only going to lead to more negative feeling for ourselves. Start with culling your social media, unfollow anyone who makes you feel negative towards your body or yourself.
Be prepared to have this conversation with your friends or family that when they are either criticizing someone else’s body or comparing themselves to someone else, it is going to be creating negative feelings for both of you.
Try instead, “let’s see how long we can go without making a negative comment about our appearance or someone else’s body.
So, having a conversation about what? Things are like could we talk about or just about how we can possibly let go of that comparison of “she looks like this, I wish I looked like that” sort of thing.
Do something for yourself and your body that you have never done before.
Something completely different that might be fun, might be crazy, it might be something which you would love to try but you’re too scared to.
Maybe try rock climbing; it could be going for a long walk with some beautiful scenery, it could be jumping out of a plane or it could be signing up for your first 5km fun run.
Putting your attention to something that your body can do rather than what it looks like is something that can really kind of perhaps open up your eyes and create space for more positive thoughts about your body to come in.