The idea of self love is really confusing, right? Like somehow you're suppose to go from the depths of self hate into some fairytale-ish love affair by simply taking a bath with an $8 lush bath bomb, and a $50 mani?
As nice as that sounds, that's not how it works.
You've spent years learning how to hate your body—yes, this deep anger and disgust you feel was taught to you. It was taught through the comments of mean girls, the pages of magazines, the photoshop of social media pictures and by the diet industry.
"You should love your body", is said with the best of intentions. But it's not the realistic first step in creating a healthier relationship with your body. What I mean by healthier is one where you don't hate it.
You have to start small, and love certainly can't be the first step. And to be honest, I am sick and tired of reading articles that tell women to paint their nails in order to love their bodies. I get it, a mani can make you feel really awesome. But painting the exterior isn't going to fix how you feel about your body. We need tot talk to the behaviors, the mindset and the feelings. We have to.
Speaking of love, once we get there—it's not the kind of love that Shakespeare talked about or that you feel when you see your person. Body love is not romantic love. It's an accepting kind of love, like the kind you feel about your favorite sweatshirt that was your dads in high school. You don't love it because it's beautiful and perfect, you love it because how it makes you feel, and what it means to you.
What I want for you is to understand that you can breathe, let the weight of feeling like you have to fall madly in love with your body right now fall to the wayside while you get comfortable with first just learning how to hate your body less. It makes this journey of feeling at home in your body so much easier and realistic. That's what you want and need, right? No BS self love.
Who is actually upset with your body? Is it you, or is it your mom who thinks you should lose 15lbs? I remember once when I was 20lbs heavier than my leanest weight I was actually really happy, I realized that my body looked different than it ever had, but it didn't bother me. Which was weird, but I was there for it. It wasn't until a family member made a comment wondering how I could be happy that I started to get anxious about my body and upset with it. I started to diet because I figured they thought I looked better 'smaller'. A really powerful way to hate your body less is to dissect the hate. Is it your hate? Or have you taken on hate from those around you?
Move Your Body
Before you roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. When you move your body you have the power to change your mindset.
Maybe you've only thought about movement as a way to change your body, get smaller etc. But we know that using movement as punishment for food eaten only leads to hating the movement. Instead, let's focus on how it makes you feel. Does moving make you feel strong? What about powerful, purposeful, empowered or grounded?
My clients had a few things to say about how movement effects their mindset.
"I definitely feel calm coming over my body when I move. I especially enjoy walking — it’s definitely a form of meditation. If I am feeling bad about myself, nervous about something, overthinking something, I always start to move. It could just be sweeping the floor, but movement puts me at ease & changes my mindset."
-SCR Client Kelly
"Sometimes I still feel bad about how my body looks. But then I’ll do some kick ass mountain climbers or I’ll feel the muscles in my quads when I go to stand up. Knowing how amazing your own body is and how it can do more and more is a super great feeling."
-SCR Client Stacia
Ask yourself how you feel during and after your movement, and come back to whatever form of movement brings you into that more powerful place. The movement itself may not erase hate, but it will bring in another feeling and begin to change the story that only hate can exist.
Declutter The F*$# Out Of Your Social Media
I want you to unfollow at least 10 people on social media right now that elicit any of these responses from you:
- OMG she's so annoying
- Ugh, why does she workout so much?
- LOL why do they think we care how much they lifted?
- If @sallywith5000kfollowers ate a burger, I could probably eat one too and be okay
Essentially if anyone you follow isn't actually motivating or inspiring you, and instead you find yourself annoyed, upset with yourself or gossiping about their lives—it's time to unfollow.
I know that following a girl who's got a six pack and posts a TON of glute workouts may seem like an ideal person to follow if you're trying to lose weight, love your body, get strong or all of the above. But I want you to ask yourself if the people you're following are actually inspiring you, or making you feel worse about yourself.
Don't get me wrong, I know these humans aren't purposefully trying to make you feel bad about your body, but following people who's lives are 1000% different than yours—ex: they are trying to compete in a bikini competition and you just want to lose 5-10lbs and feel comfortable in your body— they are going to be doing things that you never ever will need to do, and they're sacrifices are things you never actually have to give up.
It can be easy to get sucked into a spiral of comparison, judgement and hate when your headspace is filled with pages that aren't really serving and talking to how you want to feel in your body.
How will this help you hate your body less?
Unfollow those that don't actually feel truly inspiring, empowering, and educational, and follow those who do. Watch how your headspace becomes a more clear space when it isn't constantly filled with compassion and judgement.
You'll get there
The journey from hate to love is built in the small steps. I know you want quick and fast and simple, wouldn't that be amazing? I know you want to feel at home in your body and I also know that you would probably chop your left leg off to feel that way, so I don't want you to skip the small stuff. It matters, okay?
There are other ways you can hate your body less, so while you begin this new journey I want you to start here first so it doesn't feel so overwhelming that you want to quit, and keep coming back to these steps as many times as you need to.
Keep your eyes out for another article like this that will lay the next part of the framework for hating your body less and coming into a deeper place of body peace.