Fall in love with your body, one body part at a time

“It is through the body that everything comes to the mind. It is through and with your body that you have to reach realization of being a spark of divinity. How can we neglect the temple of the spirit?”

~ B.K.S. Iyengar

If you were to make a list of your top three problems, worries or concerns – chances are your body would be at the top of the list. When we mentally beat ourselves up every day, we shouldn’t be surprised by feeling tired, fat and ugly. Most of us are unhappy with how we look. Self-loathing is a major reason for not having a good body image.

If you’re feeling stuck in your life, maybe it’s because you’re disgusted with the instrument that you’re working with – your body. There is no magic wand to magically change your thoughts to be positive or to instantly give you great self-esteem. You must fall in love with your body, one body part at a time. Stop listening to your inner critic. Decide that what other people think about you doesn’t matter. Instead of self-sabotaging with fear and doubt, shift your perspective and be grateful for your wonderful “body costume” that serves you so well.

Here are a few ideas to help you appreciate your body, exactly as it is:

Eyes – color, shape, twinkle

Ears – tiny, long

Mouth – full lips, great smile

Arms – work, hug, lift, love, serve

Hands – have you ever had to function without even a finger or thumb?

Legs – walk, run, move you throughout your day

Feet – carry you wherever you need to go

I have a friend who has been a beautiful example of coming to self-acceptance. She has struggled with body image issues all her life. She was anorexic in her teens. She gained a lot of weight when she had her children. She tried every gimmick and eating plan invented. Her weight went up and down constantly. Self-loathing became comfortable. She would punish herself with each new diet. Finally she gained enough emotional wisdom to put an end to this vicious cycle.

She realized that she had to be on her own team. She started noticing all the negative self-talk going on in her brain. She actually wrote down each demeaning thought that paraded across the stage of her mind. She started to challenge the deluge of negativity by standing in front of her mirror each morning, looking herself in the eye, and saying, “I have a strong, beautiful, healthy body!” After taking a shower she rubs her whole body with lotion, thanking each body part for what they do for her. She says the names of each of her children out loud as she rubs her belly, thanking it for hosting each one of them for 9 months. She’s not a size 2, but she’s no longer shopping in the plus sizes either. She’s created a style all her own and has come to recognize her inner beauty.

Try the “I have a strong, beautiful, healthy body!” affirmation for seven days. Look in the mirror, put your hands on your hips and in a loud commanding voice repeat this declaration three times each morning. “I have a strong, beautiful, healthy body!”

Did you know that your brain believes your own voice more than anyone else’s? Take a solid step towards loving yourself by becoming more grateful and more accepting of your body.