Ways to build a healthy relationship with your body and welcome in self-acceptance
Research shows a staggering 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies. It’s not just women; men suffer too. Studies show in the U.S. 25% of male adolescents are concerned about their leanness. Surprising? Not really. Our society forces us to hate our bodies where loving ourselves is a rebellious act. Capitalism and consumerism rely on us to continually want to improve ourselves to fit society’s definition of “perfect”.
It’s time to unlearn the sinister ministering of society and learn to love ourselves. Here are three ways on how to love and accept your body.
Side note: I have unlearnt the obscene modern scene of hating your body by learning to accept myself. Through self-acceptance, I don’t binge on mindless media nor shop online or at stores — only charity shop. Instead, I express gratitude, practice yoga, pray, and do things that make me love myself more every day.
Turn self-objectification into self-acceptance.
In Wikipedia, self-objectification is defined as:
“When people view themselves as objects for use instead of as human beings.”
In other words, the process of self-objectification is auditing our bodies as objects; scrutinising them in comparison to the “perfect” object that mindless media shows us. Lindsay Kite, an advocate of positivity body image, describes it very well in her TED talk and poses a thought-provoking question:
Would we say these things running in our mind to our children or friends?
No! So why are you saying it to yourself? Let’s clear some things up when it comes to self-objectification: Is anybody perfect? No! Is there only one shape or size we should all be? No!
Think about it: How boring would the world be if we all looked like Barbie? Catastrophic, if you ask me! I adore it when I see someone comfortable in their body by the way they walk with grace and ease — don’t you want to live your life like that, too?
“Understand that the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege. Use it. Dwell in possibilities.” — Oprah Winfrey
With self-objectification comes body checking, body preoccupation, and unfortunately harming and disorders.
Start to love your body by realising the amount of time you waste on mentally monitoring how your body looks (imagine the hours lost!). Start to love your body by becoming aware you are looking from an outside perspective, and only yours counts. Love your body by basking in your beauty. Love your body by standing tall with your chest open, shoulders relaxed. Feel confident. By switching these things around, you will learn to love and accept your body.
I understand though — an obsession with our form has existed for years, so how can we get rid of it?
Turn body fixation into a happy body image.
“Don’t let your mind bully your body.” — June Tomaso Wood
As mentioned above, we can get ourselves into all kinds of trauma by consistently fixating on how our body should look. BDD is a body-image disorder where you find things wrong about all your body parts. Research shows it affects 1 in 50 people and is more common than OCD. Shocking, right?
These facts break my heart because I don’t see this harmful body image fad getting better. Media, advertising, photo editing etc. are all making us stir crazy. But only if we choose to. Feeling comfortable and confident comes from you, yourself, and you — nobody can do it for you. Love your body by being you.
OK, so, normally, we compare and despair. I do it too. There have been times where I see a woman, and I love her curvaceous hips and thighs, then think about my flat bum and slender figure. There you go — honesty in its finest form.
So what do I do to get over this? I snap out of it. I find an area of my body that I love and focus on it. So, in this case, I am not the biggest fan of my small hips (believe it or not!), but I love my long legs. I bring that back into force in my mind, then adore the woman’s body for suiting HER because she is not me.
Learning to love your body concerns actively taking yourself away from comparing and despairing, noticing we are all 100% different and unique to one another, you can build up a happy body image of yourself. Yes, there might be parts of your body you’re not the biggest fan of and that’s OK.
Learning to love your body is a daily lesson.
Build up your self-esteem day by day, and you will learn to feel OK.
Turn negative self-talk into positive self-talk.
“To form a new relationship with yourself, you must first acknowledge that the inner world is more real than the outer world.” — Spring 2020: The Season Of Self-Discovery, Grace Grossmann
The last and most important way to build a healthy relationship with your body is to turn away from talking so harshly to yourself! We all do it, and again, we must unlearn society’s way and do it OUR WAY! Here’s how to stop being so hard on yourself:
You learn to love your body by being kind. It’s that simple. Yes, we may be “imperfect” by media, but they are only there for us to spend money and make us feel worse about ourselves. Develop techniques to stop the negative self-talk. Here are some of mine:
Limit media intake and unfollow people who lower your self-esteem or make you question your worth RIGHT NOW!
Practice smiling at yourself in the mirror and complimenting yourself as you do a friend.
Repeat mantras such as “There’s nothing to be fixed; I am beautiful.”
Exercise, eat healthily but don’t obsess over it either. Enjoy baking or cooking and stop yourself from limiting negative self-talk.
Distinguish the difference between false news and positive news!
Be grateful because gratitude makes you happier:
“Those who kept a daily gratitude journal — writing down at least five things for which they were grateful — enjoyed higher levels of emotional and physical well-being.”― Tal Ben-Shahar, Happier:
How to love and accept your body is all about accepting yourself for who you are — in all your faults and forms! Once you start to see more, you will be more. Stop seeing yourself as an object and accept yourself. Stop fixating on other body’s and begin to love your own. Stop talking so badly towards yourself and find ways to speak with kindness and compassion.
I hope this helps and thanks for reading! I am giving a talk about how to love your body this evening on https://www.facebook.com/yogawithgracey/ Buy my new short self-help book to get you through changing times and spur of confidence: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0871M2W87