How many of you LIKE/ LOVE your body? How many of you look in the mirror and criticise yourselves?
I received this email response recently following my last email.. “Just sent *this* to all my friends that beat themselves up for not having lost their post-baby pouch, even though loads of them are done amazing things, like a half marathon”
So this got me thinking, about how we as women view ourselves negatively and with comparison to other women .. Yet we would NOT dream of talking to our younger selves, our children or our loved ones that way.. I suspect most of us look in the mirror and gaze upon the parts of our body that we dislike the most and completely neglect the rest of the body.. including focusing on WHAT YOUR BODY IS ACTUALLY CAPABLE OF..
I guess it doesn’t help that we are surrounded in the media by women whom we perceive to have ‘perfect’ bodies.. ‘perfect’ jobs, ‘perfect’ lives, ‘perfect’ relationships.. Ugh.. the “perfection” that we perceive can be everywhere right?
This means that most of us ladies are not only looking at ourselves negatively.. we are also comparing ourselves negatively which is EXHAUSTING, both mentally and physically.. Not to mention what it can do to our self esteem.. I know I have done this. So very often over the years, until I realised that I will never be happy EVER if I keep comparing myself. I just always came up short. I always used this comparison to give me an excuse to slag off the way I looked even more.. This is not a WIN situation.
Unfortunately women do this so often that it invariably becomes an ingrained habit. I hear it so often out of the mouths of women, that it is almost always an automatic response to any compliment, plus it has become a way of life for them.. a ritual of self hate. Have you ever been in the position where someone has given you a compliment and you have responded with either disbelief or thought to yourself “this is just not true”?.. Have you ever looked inside to actually “feel” what it was like to receive that compliment? Did it make you feel uncomfortable? Did you hear it? Did you brush it aside? Or did you accept it and take it on board with a smile and a “thank you”?
If you are one of the many women like myself who have a secret tendency to see the flaws rather than the beauty here is a list which may help you to take some time to re train the brain ..
1. Make a point to look at what you LIKE about yourself.. Write it down every day if you need to. When you look in the mirror or at photo’s don’t let your immediate thought or gaze go to the parts you do not like.
2. Say NICE things to yourself. This may take some practice, but start with small things if you find it challenging. For example.. My legs let me run / swim/ walk, my stomach grew a baby, my eyes enable me to read etc
3. Remember you are a whole person, and not just the “bad” parts you see.. Write down compliments that you hear during the course of a day or week, whatever they are. Remember the compliments. Accept them. Hear them.
4. Acknowledge that you have a choice to either berate yourself or speak to yourself how you would a friend. Imagine saying the bad things to 5 year old you.. How would you feel?
5. If you catch yourself comparing to someone else, imagine being in their shoes with the same level of insecurity as you do. You are not alone in your negative self comparison so imagine yourself seeing that person through their own eyes.
6. Focus your mind on what you can DO, instead of what you look like. It’s ok to have pride in you and it is OK to share that pride with others.
7. Remember that you are not alone, that you are more than a body part and that you do amazing things every day. Have compassion + patience for you. Make these steps a habit to reinforce that you are worthy.
With love, Charlie x