So you want to love your body- well, you’re in good company!
Many of us (ladies AND the gents) struggle with self esteem when it comes to our bodies. This can lead to negative self talk, the potential for developing eating disorders, and just generally wreaking havoc-soaked fuckery in all sorts of areas of life. Having body image issues can develop beyond insecurity and blossom into a shitshow bouquet of interpersonal issues, sexual problems, and depression.
In short, loving your body is about more than just confidence. It’s about your quality of life.
There are a variety of influences that can help us develop dissatisfaction with our bodies. For example, the medias portrayal of “idealized” body standards can be particularly toxic. For the average person gazing upon the images they see in magazines and on T.V., trying to “measure up” can feel impossible. Similarly, sometimes our body image issues can come from other places. Individual differences and disability can affect some when it comes to loving their bodies, as can comparing even yourself at one point in time to yourself in another point in time.
Sometimes it really does feel as if we’re simply hard-wired to hate ourselves. But that’s ok boo, ‘cuz bitches love a challenge.
The Love Your Body Challenge
Body image is a complex construct, and the blueprint is heavily made up of your experiences, values, and mental scripts, in addition to the things you’re fed from the outside. Welcome to the chaos, baby! But although it may feel like the odds are stacked against you when it comes to loving your body, it doesn’t HAVE to be that way.
Truth be told, loving your body inclusive of all it’s imperfections is so foreign to us as a society that some of the prescriptive methods to shift to a place of body acceptance can seem downright silly. Talk to yourself in the mirror?! Wear what you want?! Thank your body?! For some reasons those seem more cringey and embarrassing than waking up in the morning and telling yourself you’re shit, then carrying yourself as if that was true.
Now THAT’S crazy.
So here’s a love your body challenge for those who’d like to improve their relationship with their bodies. Realistically, learning to fix your body image is a journey rather than a destination, however, there are some things you can do along the way to help unfuck your mindset when it comes to body confidence and self-love.
Learn to Catch Those Flinches
If you struggle with your body, chances are you have “flinches”.
I caught an unflattering glimpse of myself in a mirror.
His hand touched my stomach while I was laying on my side.
I waved while wearing a sleeveless shirt.
Your flinches are those moments when you get caught by surprise by your body insecurities when you’re just minding your business. In these moments, you shift or recoil in horror as you’re confronted with those parts that make you feel self conscious. These moments take you out of the joy of just existing, and plummet you into a place of extreme negative self-talk and shame. Those moments are when the concept of loving your body seems impossible.
Catch these moments. Find out what triggers them and why. These are hard feelings to face head on, but try. To learn your enemy is to better fight it. Your moments don’t deserve to be stolen.
Learn your flinches and start challenging yourself to push past them. To return to the moment, and to carry on without the self-flagellation. It’s a challenging task, but ultimately it’s these tiny moments that are piling up and making a massive mountain of insecurity and shame.
Feel Grateful for the Moments Where You’re in the Flow
Have you ever been in the zone?
Those moments where you are so lost in your element it’s like the universe has aligned perfectly for shit to come effortlessly, like you’re simply riding a wave of awesome?
Maybe this is while you’re working, or while you’re cleaning, or while you’re swimming, or hiking, or dancing, or having sex (oooh-la-la). Whenever it is, LOOK AT THAT SHIT.
If it’s while doing physical things then take a moment to think- “Hey, my body is really being my ally today. Look at us, vibing and working together and having a great time. Perhaps we can be friends after all”. Then take note of that activity, and it’s potential to me a mediator between you and appreciating your body.
If it’s NOT a physical activity, then take note of it still. Think “Hot damn, I’m really in the zone”. Appreciate that there is so much more to you than physical things. Feel gratitude for all those cool things you can do. Maybe you’re a smart bitch or a clever miss- whatever the case, their is so much more to you than just your body.
Look at Your Motivations
Think of your issues with your body. What are your motivations to feel dissatisfied?
We often don’t take the time to truly listen to those voices inside us that have all the answers. Maybe you feel like shit about your body because of the messages you got as a child. Maybe you have someone close to you still feeding you that bullshit. Maybe you’re desiring a physical change of some kind, but your hatred of your body makes tackling things like weight loss or trying to become stronger physically into a shitshow circus that inevitably becomes tainted by negativity and self-destruction.
A lot of people fall into hating themselves because they feel they aren’t as “healthy” as they feel they should be. Just remember, healthy doesn’t have a size. And hey, if you’re unhealthy, I invite you to love yourself anyways.
The truth is, what motivates your feelings toward your body can be complicated and challenging to sort out. I have my own experience with this when it comes to weight loss and body image after experiencing eating disorders.
In my case, I wanted to lose weight but I also wanted to change my whole lifestyle. Using my health as a metric NOT dependent on my weight was the only way I successfully changed my habits. But it is a CONSTANT work in progress. Remember, what you fuel yourself with matters. Using insecurity or self-hate as motivation makes it difficult to go the distance. Learn to love yourself as you are, and if you are looking for a change, sort out your motivations for why.
Get Rid of the Things Making You Feel Like Shit
Stop telling yourself that section of your closet is motivating you. Donate that shit and buy you some things that make you feel cute as fuck. We don’t give preschoolers degrees in the hopes that one day they’ll “grow into them”.
Live in the now, and start with your closet.
Your body is amazing and deserves to be draped in shit that makes you happy and comfortable.
Praise Your Body
Look in the mirror and tell yourself nice things.
Those bad thoughts have become so automatic that, yes, you might feel like a weirdo for looking in the mirror and chatting yourself up, but honestly how sad is that? You might need to get a little weird to unfuck all those bad vibes, but, honey, it’s worth the trouble.
Thank your body. Look at those bits you hate until they become familiar. Stare at your flinches. This is your vessel, and your partner in life- body and brain.
We don’t always get handed the cards we’d like, but we always have the cheat code that is mindset.
Unfuck your relationship with your body and you will reap the rewards a thousand times over. Believe me.
Tell yourself you’re wonderful, powerful, and useful. Treat your vessel nicely, and don’t turn away from it. If someone were to call you a dumb bitch you’d be furious as hell. STOP SAYING MEAN SHIT TO YOUR BODY.
Mindfulness is the key to interrupting those scripts we play out and snap back into the moment. Those self-hating scenes don’t deserve our time and energy. By becoming a master of mindfulness, you are able to ground yourself in the current moments, and out of the anxiety spiral that keeps you locking in the drain-circling cyclone of self-hatred.
TREAT YOUR BODY NICELY
Eat well. Move to the best of your ability. Dance, stretch, stay hydrated, whatever the fuck you can do to feel awesome. Get a vibrator, punch a stranger. Ok wait, let’s scale it back a little.
Wear things that are comfortable. Don’t wear a heavy sweater in the summer if it makes you a sweaty miserable mess. This might be uncomfortable at first, but sit with the discomfort.
Appreciate your body. Appreciate that is is but ONE part of you. Appreciate yourself as a whole. Be kind in general to the world. Make a positive mindset like your cape that you drape yourself with as you move through your life. Be a good bitch in many ways.
Treat yourself nicely.
Recognize that you are amazing and whole.
Love Your Body Because You Love Yourself
I know that this is IMMENSELY hard, especially for those of us with mental health struggles or trauma histories, but I’ll leave you with this- Life is unpredictable and strange. We have enough that we cannot control, ready to pop out and drain our energy without notice. If we learn to love our bodies, we are taking a little bit of that stress of being human out of the equation. We can then use that energy to be free, to be more present with those we love, and to devote to our creative passions and personal growth. If you knew there was a leak in your gas tank would you continue to fill the void despite how damaging and potentially dangerous it could be?
None of this happens overnight, but to be alive is to learn and to grow. Our energy is better spent on that which serves us rather, than what breaks us down.
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