How to Develop a Loving Acceptance of Your Unique Body
So, I realize that it’s only the beginning of March, but don’t tell me you haven’t already been dreaming about warm summer days and beachy locales. I most certainly have! I’m co-hosting a beautiful and nourishing yoga and cleanse retreat with one of my best friends, Rachelle Tratt, in Mexico this May and I can’t wait to spend some quality time on the sun-drenched playas of the Mayan Riviera! Something that I occasionally see coming up for clients however, is mixed feelings about their bodies as beach season approaches.
Especially with all of the messages we get from movies, TV, and magazines about how we’re supposed to look, it can be easy to get caught up in negative self-talk about our bodies. Even from the backgrounds of our minds, this negativity can have a profound impact on the way we feel about ourselves and the energy we bring into our daily lives. Here’s a few of my tips for how to keep body judgment at bay so that you can maximize your beach season bliss and stay connected to your natural radiance all year long!
Observe Your Thoughts
The first step to creating a positive relationship with your body is becoming mindful of the thoughts and feelings that come up around it. Notice how you feel when you get dressed, when you eat, when you move, and when you see imagery that relates to the body. What thoughts do you have and how does it feel in your body to have those thoughts? Are they positive, negative, or mixed? If there is a story that seems to be on repeat, ask yourself where that originated? There’s no need to try to force thoughts away; simply noticing them will give you insight into how you relate to your own body and that is the starting point of any positive shift.
Acknowledge Your Body’s Beauty
As you become more mindful of your thoughts and feelings about your body, make a mental note of the positive ones. What do you love about your body? Do you adore your long legs or full curves? Are you strong, flexible, or able to run for miles? What gifts has your body given you? Has it granted you the ability to walk, run, skip, swim, hug, hold, touch, or bring life into the world? Be sure to celebrate the unique beauty of your one incredible body every day so that you can tip the balance on that self talk from negative to positive.
Speaking of your unique beauty, it’s important to remember that no one else has the exact same body as you. Comparing bodies with another person is like comparing apples and oranges—we are all built differently, with different strengths and weaknesses. Instead of measuring yourself against other people, try to remind yourself that there is no other body out there that is just like yours and that your unique body has helped shape the person that you are and the very special gifts that only you can share with the world.
Be Kind to Your Body
One of the best ways to create a positive relationship with your body is to treat it with love and compassion. When you do things to nurture your body, you are sending a message to yourself that says, “I am worthy of love.” This can be anything from creating nourishing and delicious meals for yourself and building physical health through regular activity to making sure to get enough sleep and creating outlets for releasing stress. Making loving behaviors into regular habits can dramatically shift your relationship to your body in powerfully positive ways.
Build a Loving Community
Whether you realize it or not, the company you keep plays a big role in how you feel about your body. Are you surrounding yourself with people who inspire you to nourish and care for your body, people who encourage you to see your own unique beauty, and who celebrate rather than criticize the bodies of others? If not, it’s time to build a community of people who will support you on your journey towards loving acceptance of your body. As you surround yourself with people who have nourishing habits and compassionate feelings about their bodies, you will find that your approach to your own body will be freer of judgments and more infused with love.
It's important to remember that your relationship with yourself is a constant process with an inevitable ebb and flow. Be kind to yourself as you live this very human experience!