Sometimes we feel bad about our body. Sometimes we even feel like we hate our body. We need things we can do when we feel this way, and that is what this post is about.
Feeling Bad about Our Body around the Holidays
We often feel bad about our body around the holidays when we eat more or different kinds of food than we are used to. But we also often feel this way in our normal everyday routine. We feel bad when we feel like our body looks bigger or smaller or different, in some way, than it is supposed to.
When we feel horrible about our body, we might feel gross, ugly, depressed, ashamed, anxious, terrified, fat, or worthless.
When we feel badly about our body, we want to hide in a cave of shame.
These are all really painful feelings.
These feelings are often made worse by messages we receive from the media and people around us that we have to be a certain size or shape to be beautiful or to be worthy of love.
The result of these painful feelings is that sometimes we become extremely harsh with our body. We want to take drastic measures to whip ourselves into shape and to whittle, starve, or punish ourselves down to a certain size so that finally we will be worthy of love.
The Mean Things We Do to Our Body
So we go on strict diets or adopt stringent exercise plans. And that works…for a while. But eventually, the harsh way we are treating ourselves becomes so painful–even more painful than our previous pain–that we slip into unhelpful habits.
Sometimes we even swing in the opposite direction and begin binge eating or engaging in other behaviors to soothe our pain.
And this continues until we begin to feel really bad about our body again, and then the cycle begins once more.
Breaking the Cycle Through Body Kindness
We need to break this cycle, and we can do it through something called body kindness.
The idea of body kindness suggests to us that our body is our friend and wants us to be healthy and strong. So we befriend our body, instead of fighting against it.
We treat our body with kindness, compassion, and respect so it can flourish. Any time we do so, we already have the perfect body. Flourishing is the perfect state to be in.
We always have things we can do to practice body kindness when we feel badly about our body.
Here are eleven things you can do to practice body kindness:
One: Understand that your worth and your beauty come from the light inside you, not your weight or size.
There are a lot of people who suggest that your beauty is tied to a certain size or weight. This is absolutely not true. Your worth and beauty come from the light inside you. This light is your ability to be loving, creative, compassionate, and wise.
There are a lot of people that are the “perfect” size and shape but make themselves ugly through their cruelty, apathy and selfishness. On the other hand, there are people who do not fit typical beauty standards, but people are drawn to them like a magnet and love to be around them.
It is because these people nourish their light, honor themselves, and honor others. That is authentic beauty. This kind of beauty is within everyone’s grasp.
Two: Understand that you deserve and can have rich, meaningful love at any size and shape.
Sometimes we receive the message that we cannot have any love or that we do not deserve love unless we are a certain size, weight, or shape.
This is baloney, and you already know this deep down. If you look around you, you will see people of all shapes and sizes who have meaningful and deep love. You will also notice some people who the supposed “perfect appearance” who are miserable.
Authentic and healthy love does not come from having a perfect body. It comes from connecting with people’s mind, body, and spirit. And it happens when we do all we can to help them flourish. It is possible to do this at any size.
In addition, when we love ourselves authentically and unconditionally and fall in love with our lives, this helps us find other healthy and authentic people who are living the same way. This brings the most wonderful kind of love into our lives.
Three: Realize that health can come at any size and shape.
We also often believe that we can only be healthy if we fit into a narrow size or weight range. This causes body shame and anxiety.
It is important to realize that worrying and stressing about our health causes us much more harm than being any particular weight or size does.
Health comes from things like this:
Listening to our body’s messages.
Moving to feel good, rather than to punish ourselves.
Processing our emotions healthfully.
Leading a peaceful life.
When we do these things, we help our body thrives no matter what size it is.
The Health at Every Size community communicates these ideas beautifully.
Four: Recognize that your body is on your side and is your friend.
Frequently, we feel like our body is our worst enemy. We especially feel this if we believe that we must be a certain size and our body refuses to be that size.
It is important to realize, though, that being a healthy size and expressing its unique beauty is your body’s main goal. Your body is your friend and wants to love you, provide you with energy, and help you live life well.
The more we make friends with our body and show kindness and gentleness to it, the better our body can do these things.
When we feel badly about our body, show it kindness, compassion, and respect always makes things better.
I think these ideas are captured well in the Intuitive Eating community.
Five: Shower your body with compliments and love.
One of the best ways to show your body love is to shower it regularly with compliments and love. We spend a lot of time criticizing our body and thinking and speaking harshly about it.
When we praise it and love it for all that it does for us and begin to focus on its beauty, we are better able to become friends with our body and hear its wisdom.
Six: Practice Intuitive Eating.
Intuitive Eating is an eating philosophy which encourages people, among other things, to…
Pay attention to their hunger and fullness signals.
Make peace with their body wisdom.
Give themselves unconditional permission to eat.
Find non-food ways to deal with painful emotions (although emotional eating sometimes is normal and expected).
Engage in playful and joyful movement because it feels good, not to lose weight.