I spent years at odds with my body, believing that if I could change how I looked, I’d become a better and happier person. That path led to disappointment, frustration, and to me believing that I’d never be good enough. I decided to flip the script and devote my energy to appreciating the body I already had.
I created daily, yet simple, habits and mantras to boost body love and it was transformational. No matter where you are on the path to body acceptance, each of these can make the experience much more rewarding for you.
SAY “THANK YOU”: Do you acknowledge what your body is doing for you right this moment? You’re upright, breathing, able to read, to think, to be alive! Recognize that, without doing anything, your body is an incredible source of power and strength. Thank your body by reminding yourself: My body allows me to experience all the joys of my life.
TOUCH YOUR TUMMY: The stomach is a sensitive part of your body and may carry a lot of shame with it. But how often do you give yourself permission to appreciate your tummy for what it is? Lay your hands on it, feel it rise and fall as you breathe - send it love. This simple act alone is a very powerful one in body acceptance. Get comfy with your tummy as you touch it, saying: My stomach holds wisdom and I honor it with my loving touch.
NAME THE PAIN: Sometimes your body - physically or emotionally- will hurt and that is OK. But try to go more into the sensations of the pain. Is it a tightness? Heaviness? Achiness? Sometimes, when you name something, it helps you become aware of the experience and often, knowing softens the hurt. Try this the next time you’re feeling something: I have pain and I have the ability to relieve it with loving kindness.
FOLLOW YOUR INTUITION: Listening to your gut takes practice, but a simple way is to start is by recognizing your true thoughts about a situation and give yourself permission to express them. We often suppress our inner voice out of fear of being judged for it. So take it slow, pay attention to what your intuition is telling you and give yourself some space to follow it. When feeling conflicted, remind yourself: I know what is best for me and I trust in my ability to follow my intuition.
TRUST YOUR BODY: Seems a little redundant, but perhaps the biggest step to learning how to trust yourself is actually believing it’s possible. Mindset when learning to love your body is 90% of it, and giving yourself permission to believe it’s not just possible, but OK to trust yourself, will help make acting that way easier. Give yourself more credit and repeat this line: I hold an infinite capacity to love and understand my body's wisdom.
Rachel Estapa, founder of More to Love® is a professional life coach and Kripalu Yoga teacher, writer, speaker, and social entrepreneur who educates and supports plus size people on approaches to positive body image and wellness, enabling all bodies to lead more empowered lives. Visit www.moretolovewithrachel.com to learn more.