A few years ago, a dear friend and colleague of mine, Dr. Christine Kiesinger, and I hosted a 4-part course called “Body Love.” Over 20 women from our community participated.
We enjoyed deep discussions and dove into some hard truths. What did we find?
- We all have life stories that shape our body image.
- In each decade of our lives, we can find at least one memory of how our body image was impacted by family or society.
- It is difficult to understand what it means to love our bodies.
- Only we can change the narrative around our body image.
- We all want to imbue future generations with a strong sense of their bodies’ worth.
Why am I telling you this now? Because Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to begin to LOVE your body.
It may sound impossible. It may even sound slightly woo woo and ridiculous. Yet, it is not only possible, it will happen…with focus and a new approach to appreciating the gifts your body has given you.
How can you, now and for good, take a stand FOR your body instead of feeling shameful about it?
Start with these four steps:
1. Turn around your negative self talk.
We are our own worst enemies. We are built to survive, and our brains are wired to “go negative,” spotlighting potential threats and dangers – scientists call it “negativity bias.” However, we have the wisdom to recognize when we are going negative with our inner voice, talking down to ourselves, or worse yet, to others. We can note it, and shift it.
Here’s what this looks like: I’m among friends who are talking about how a particular type of clothing makes their bellies look big. I can easily participate by agreeing, “me too!” OR I can say “My body serves me in so many ways. Ladies, let’s be grateful for all it gives instead of knocking her for the things that don’t meet society’s ideals.”
Yes, we can interrupt negative self-talk and the words we speak out loud. Just catch yourself!
2. Change your story.
We can change the story from being someone who was told and then believes her hips are big, like I was. Or my chest was too small. Or literally whatever story you’ve been carrying around for decades.
You can, like I did, change to a new story celebrating how my hips help me jump high and carried twins almost to full term, and my chest allows me to go braless more than I’d like to admit! I do believe we are all gifts from God. Therefore, the body I have is a vessel I’ve been given, whatever its shape, and it is a blessing.
3. Embrace a practice of radical self care.
I love self care. I particularly teach that self care should cost nothing. I love self care because, for me, it is a time to do nothing except embrace my life for what is – that’s it. My self care may look like a morning walk, an evening epsom salt bath, or saying “no” to an event and using that time to read, meditate, or just chill.
4. Create a support team.
Who are your biggest cheerleaders? Enlist your high school bestie, your husband, your sister to support you on your journey to love your body for all that it gives you. When you find yourself insulting your frame, call on your team to remind you how beautiful you are, inside and out, and of all that your body gives you every day. Don’t forget, we learn better in community than alone. If you don’t have a support team, lean into resources around you – a therapist, a coach, or my wellness program, for the support.
Whenever you find yourself out of “body love,” turn back to these four steps. On Valentine’s Day, and every day, it’s time to love yourself.
Need to find support loving yourself? Join my Small Group Concierge Wellness where we have seen amazing success with members talking about their bodies in terms of “strength,” “#girlboss,” and “yes, I am (more than) enough.”