How to Love Your Body More
Everyone tells you you should love your body, and they’ll even tell you why, but not enough people are telling you HOW to do that. It’s a process sometimes, so here are some actual directions.
Commit to it and give it time.
You’re retraining your mind and that’s not any different from training your body for a marathon or some other athletic event. You can make a lot of progress in a single day but it’s the steady work you do day after day that makes the difference.
Chances are that you’ve been looking at yourself in a negative light for a while and you’ve got a lot of momentum going in that direction. Some of us have had that negative momentum going since childhood or at least the teen years. You’re not going to be able to change it overnight or with a single session of chanting positive affirmations.
And listen, it won’t always be this hard. There will absolutely come a day when it’s your default setting to appreciate your body.
Taking those first steps to change are always the hardest part. Think about it — if you’d been sitting on the couch all day for 6 months straight, the first time you have to walk a flight of stairs might feel exhausting, but if you keep doing it, it gets easier for you (rather, you get stronger so it feels easier). That will happen with this, too, so just commit to it.
It’s worth it. YOU are worth it.
Realize that hating another woman or her body will never make you feel better about yours.
It just doesn’t work that way.
Whether you feel “disgusted” by someone else’s body because you think its “out of shape” or you feel insecure because you think someone else’s body is better than yours, you’re really only poisoning yourself.
If you’re feeling unhappy with your body and you scroll instagram to see some woman flaunting her tone body in a bikini, it’s natural to feel angry or jealous.
Maybe you think some kinda harsh things like, well look, her boobs are obviously “fake” and she probably just uses her body to get what she wants because she has no personality or she’s dumb and obviously she’s desperate for attention, and at least I’m not like her, because I have way more to offer than just my body, who wants abs or perfect lean legs anyway? Blah blah blah.
In that moment, you are telling yourself things in an attempt to make yourself feel better and that’s actually a good thing. Do you know why it works (at first)? Because anger makes you feel just a little bit better than jealousy, and both of those feel better than unworthiness and shame. When you lash out like that towards another woman (internally or otherwise) it is self preservation; it’s you looking out for you, and that’s seriously a good thing.
The problem is that while anger or jealousy feel better than despair or shame (because they give you a sense of power and all the worst feelings that exist such as grief, fear, depression are tied to feeling powerless) it doesn’t feel good to constantly be angry or jealous — and it never feels all that good for very long to be mean-spirited or hateful to another human, even if it’s just in your own head.
Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just recognize when it’s happening and slowly break the habit. When you catch yourself thinking something negative about another woman’s body, just pause, give yourself a moment of grace, and then find something you can appreciate about her — her smile, her confidence, her commitment to fitness, her outfit choice, whatever.
You will never truly love or appreciate yourself while you continue to be hateful towards other women.
Surround yourself with body positive stuff.
Chances are you are already inundated with stuff that makes you doubt yourself, so flip it.
We’re really lucky to be living in a time when more and more people are promoting diversity and body positivity, so there are so many shows and movies and books you can consume that will help you on this journey.
Read blogs/posts like this, listen to empowering podcasts, follow social media accounts that promote body positivity, scroll through galleries of regular un-photoshopped bodies, etc. Saturate your life with encouragement to offset the bullshit that society has been feeding you for most of your life.
Use affirmations the right way, at the right time.
This one probably won’t be brand new to you. Pinterest is full of lists of affirmations and TikTok has plenty of videos of people saying nice things to themselves in a mirror. (My favorite ones are the ones with toddlers/kids. So cute!)
Here’s why they work (when you’re consistent with them). A belief is just a thought you keep thinking, so yes, if you keep repeating affirmations to yourself long enough, you will absolutely start to believe them.
What’s important is to say/write the affirmations at a time when you’re already in a good mood or when you’re at least feeling neutral, like when you first wake up or before you go to bed.
The point is to use them when it’s easier to actually believe them — which brings me to my next, most important point…
Reach for a single thought that makes you feel better.
The next time you’re feeling down or triggered by your body, reach for a single thought that makes you feel a little bit better. Just one single thought, that’s all you have to do.
Here’s the mistake I think a lot of people make — trying too hard and having it backfire. If you’re feeling pretty shitty about yourself, that is not the time to recite your affirmations list. That list is going to make you roll your eyes or make you cry, and that’s not going to help you any.
Let’s say you’re having a moment. Maybe you got on the scale and you’re not happy with your weight or you saw a picture of yourself you didn’t like. So in an effort to change, you tell yourself something like, I’m beautiful and I love myself no matter what.
The statement isn’t wrong or bad, but it probably rings false for you. In that moment you don’t feel beautiful and you don’t love yourself the way you want. So you’re telling yourself something that feels fake and on a subtle level it puts pressure on you. This makes you feel even worse, because you know you’re *supposed to* love and accept yourself no matter what, but you’re struggling.
Now you’re unhappy with your physical appearance and you’re disappointed in yourself for caring so much about your physical appearance.
Instead, find a thought that is true for you in that moment and that makes you feel a little bit better. I’ll repeat: Don’t chase a thought that you want to be true, find one that already feels true.
This will be different for everyone, so I’ll share some examples, but it’s important that you’re very honest with yourself and paying attention to your feelings rather than just rattling off something from this post. You may have to sift through a few different thoughts until you land on one or two that actually bring you relief.
After you’ve found the thought that feels better, focus on it and milk it for a little bit, maybe add a few more thoughts to it or write the thought down in case you want to remember it for later.
And then distract yourself! Stop thinking about your body at all. Pick up a book, go outside, make a cup of coffee — anything that changes your attention. (Something that changes your attention in a good way, to be clear — don’t go doing something that’s going to make you feel worse.)
Then the next time you feel triggered by a body issue, repeat the process. Find the thought that feels a little better. It might be the same one as before but it might be a brand new one. What will start to happen is it will be easier for you to find those better-feeling thoughts and more, even better thoughts will start to come to you until you find yourself floating closer and closer to having the thought “I love my body” — and realizing it’s true.
Side note: While these are my own words and my own interpretations, I am heavily influenced by Abraham Hicks and Seth/Jane Roberts, and I always highly recommend their materials. You can see a list of books by clicking here. If you want further information, feel free to reach out.