Love vs. Peace

This is a post I have been thinking about writing for some time now, but the topic is something I have been somewhat confused about.

I talk a lot about loving your body. I've had my own body image struggles and have tried hard to heal them. I think I've come a tremendous way and it's become my mission to help others. However, I've come to the realization that as I spew "Love your bodies, girls!" it's a much bigger journey than expected and harder than just saying "let's do it". I have this image of us all running through the daisy fields in our bikinis with rainbows in the background, singing about how much we love our bodies. Not likely, I know.

So how do you do it? Well, I don't have a hard and fast answer. It's a different journey for everyone, but I do have some steps that will help. The first thing I want to tell you is that instead of thinking you need to love your body, first try to make peace with it. Some women really hate their bodies. They've grown up hating the way they look, have trouble looking at themselves naked in front of the mirror and have a hard time being intimate with their partners. If these are some feelings you have, starting out by making peace with your body may be what you need to make the first step to be free from body loathing. These steps are small, and the bigger picture is just that, much bigger, but here are some simple things to get you started.

First off, and this may sound crazy, but start off by admitting how you feel about your body. We live in a world where it has become so normal to hate our bodies, we have become accustomed to it and are not feeling the feelings and emotions that go along with it. If it means having to strip down naked and look at yourself in front of the mirror, go ahead and do it. Take the time to really ask yourself what you think of your body. Don't feel like you have to lie about what you see. Be honest, even if it isn't nice. If you're going to make an honest effort in making peace with your body, you need to start by really understanding your own feelings which may be hiding. If you have to cry, then cry. Trust me, I've been there. This isn't a time to beat yourself up or make you feel worse, just a starting off point. I encourage you to journal about this.

The next thing, which is so important (they're all important, but this one is grand), is to stop the fat talk. Take note of how cruel (yes, cruel) you are to yourself when you talk or think about your body. You may want to do something so you have to stop and notice it. For instance, I always wear a pony tail holder around my wrist. What I do is switch it to the other wrist every time I say something negative about my body or even have a thought about it. This can even be if I am watching TV and see someone that I wish I looked like. The rubber band goes to the other wrist. You may be surprised how often you are switching it back and forth. This is to make you realize how often you beat yourself up and hopefully will slow down.

Hopefully these two things will get you started. Don't underestimate how much body loathing bleeds into other aspects of your life. Once you learn to accept and love your body for what it is, you'll be amazed at how much it will change your life.

I'll close with this short video. I think this 4 year old little girl sums it up best...


Julie Parker said...

All fantastic points Andrea - thanks for your thoughts and sharing.

Something I do that really helps me is to be ok with the fact that some days I will feel good about my body and others I don't feel that great. I used to think on those not so great days that meant I had a real problem - which made me feel worse. I now recognise this just makes me 'normal' and it's about how quickly I can move on from those thoughts and get back to a positive mindset. Some days it's easier than others, but for me it's about ensuring I don't wallow in negativity too long and then find myself in a mindset where I might do something stupid like go back to old dieting habits.

Great to have you back in the blogosphere!

Andrea said...

Julie, well said! Sometimes we need to take it day by day...