“I can’t always control my body the way I want to, and I can’t control when I feel good or when I don’t. I can control how clear my mind is. And I can control how willing I am to step up if somebody needs me.”- Michael J. Fox
We talk at length about emotional self-acceptance around here, but today I would like to focus on an area of self-compassion that many of us struggle with: our bodies.
Insecurities about our physical selves start early. According to nationaleatingdisorders.org: “By age six, girls begin to express concerns about their own weight or shape. 40-60% of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about becoming too fat.” Body image insecurities tend to persist throughout adulthood and can lead to self-destructive behaviors and eating disorders. And this self-image problem is certainly not relegated to girls and women. Boys and men also feel shame and are self-critical about their bodies. Oftentimes hate for one’s body is actually a product of deeper emotional hurt.
How can we develop a healthy body image at any age? First and foremost, we must address the underlying emotional issues that contribute to a poor physical self-image through therapy and positive baby steps.
Second, we have to get moving! Exercise improves health, reduced stress levels, and assists in maintaining a healthy weight (eating whole, healthy, and delicious food is another important component).
Third, we must “replace negative self-judgments with loving thoughts,” just like we discussed in the last installment of “..The Eight Steps to Change.” Lauren McBride from Holistically Fit provides a fantastic list of “Love Your Body Affirmations.” These are a few of my favorites, but you can check out the whole list here.
- My body is an instrument, not an ornament.
- I’m thankful to my (legs/heart/etc.) for (carrying me to the places I want to go/keeping me alive/other function.
- I’m thankful to my body for allowing me to serve others.
- I can be a good example to other women and girls about how to love my body.
- I will feed my body what it needs while honoring my hunger and fullness.
- I can enjoy delicious foods in moderation without taking it out on my body.
- I don’t need to compare myself to others to feel good about myself.
- My body is different, unique, and special.
Do you have any positive body affirmations to add? I’d love to hear them!