I read an article from mindbodygreen written by psychologist bobbi wegner that ½ of girls and ¼ of boys as young as ages 6-8 years old believe their ideal weight is less than their current weight. This study also found that by age 7, one in four kids have engaged in dieting behavior.
Where does this pressure come from to look “perfect”?
Aren’t children just supposed to play and enjoy life instead of judging their bodies and feeling broken?
In 1990 at the Mind & Life Institute, the Dalai Lama was asked the question: “What do you think about self-hatred?”
He looked confused and asked in response: “What’s that?”
Unfortunately, we live in a world (maybe just the western world) that fosters self-loathing. Somewhere we have learned to listen to our itty-bitty-shitty-committee that we are damaged and not good enough.
Get a group of girlfriends together and someone will bring up a new diet or the need to look thinner or some way to criticize her body. I’m guilty of complaining about my body and never being satisfied with how I look even though I am relatively fit.
It doesn’t matter what size and shape you are. It’s how you feel about yourself.
We can blame the media, advertisements, skinny models, the pressure of social media, our parents or friends. People are airbrushed and teeth are whitened. There are now apps to trim our inner thigh gap, lengthen legs and shape our butt. Repeating the logic behind our feelings does us no good.
Instead, we can focus on a solution to create more body love rather than body loathing.
Being pregnant with a girl, I reflect on how I can be a good example for her to love her body and know that she is whole and beautiful.
I have always been overly judgmental about my body, and I cringe at the thought that I may pass these insecurities on to my little one.
So, I’ve come up with some steps to create more #bodylove:
- Be naked more often. I used to hate seeing myself naked or in a bikini, but as I look at myself more often in the mirror, I can appreciate my curves and dimples and know these are the real me, not some sculpted airbrushed photo. I can see my reality without being surprised or disappointed.
- Get intimate with yourself. Touch your body and admire your curves – often. My husband rubs homemade body butter on my body every night to avoid stretch marks. Every time he rubs over my thighs and butt that haven’t fit into my pre-pregnancy pants for months, I flinch. But practicing #selflove, I can now smile knowing that my beautiful body is hard at work storing fat for baby. And someday soon the stretch marks will be my battle wounds of moving from maiden to mother.
- Your body is an amazing vessel not something that has to be perfect. I have programed myself for many decades to see my body as this shell that needs to be dolled up and perfect. Being pregnant, I have a new appreciation for all that our bodies go through. It houses everything that is vital for life. Instead of trying to sculpt your body through forced workouts and choking down weird diet shakes, focus on taking actions to live a healthy lifestyle and feeling good in your body by fueling your body with good food and moving every day. Now, I can take better care of my body knowing it will take care of me.
- Write Affirmations on your mirror to appreciate and be grateful for your body and what it does for you. I look at photos of my younger self and wish I could have appreciated my body the way I see it now. I’m sure I’ll look back at 80 years old at this time in my life and think “wow, I was so flexible and strong!” Rather than looking back, be present to your beauty and awe of your body now. When you look at yourself in the mirror and your #innercritic shows up, you have your affirmations to remind you of the truth.
- Think about how are you impacting others. I find when I am in service of others, and thinking about them before myself, my vision expands. I can be bigger than my Ego and inner critic. But when I only think about myself and my feelings, my world is limited. When I talk poorly about myself, this gives other women (and our younger generation) permission to think and talk poorly about themselves. I don’t want to contribute to that.
I am working on creating more self-appreciation and love and hope you will join me in creating more body love not only for yourself, but for future generations.
What do you do to promote more self-love?