If you struggle to love and embrace your body, you are not alone. I haven’t met anyone who has told me that they wouldn’t change anything about their bodies, including people who are incredibly fit or have great self-esteem. We all can be a little too hard on ourselves sometimes. It’s almost like we are obligated to find something wrong or that we have been conditioned, especially as women, to think that feeling good about our bodies makes us narcissistic.
Insecurities can arise when we are very young, no doubt with messages we receive from TV and the pressures of social media. By taking concrete steps, we can learn to accept and even embrace our bodies. This not only brings immediate results, but also helps model healthy behavior for future generations.
• Embrace your individuality. Comparing yourself to others is anxiety-provoking and unrealistic. No one is perfect—whatever perfect even means.
• Make a list of what you love about yourself and what you are grateful for. Think about the compliments you have received and write those down. Perhaps it is the color of your eyes, your personality, your good health, or your smile.
• Connect to your intuition, which I define as the ultimate source of self-love, self-acceptance, guidance, and protection. It is available to everyone, without judgment or the need to perform. I like to think of the love we receive from our intuition like the love we receive from our pets—unconditional. Helping people learn to trust and listen to their intuition is one of the most important and rewarding aspects of my work.
• Work toward healing trauma and letting go of thoughts and feelings that do not serve you. Trauma gets stored in our cells and physical memory and leads to a feeling of being disconnected. It is difficult to embrace your body if you do not feel like it is a part of you. Grounding exercises like being in nature, taking Epsom salt baths, and meditation are helpful. The book The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., is an excellent resource for learning more about how trauma is stored in our physical body.
• Do something that makes you feel amazing. Paint your nails, call a dear friend, wear a piece of clothing that you love, and find movement you enjoy, not that you just feel obligated to do. If you are feeling better about yourself, you may also find that your anxiety is reduced. I have seen that anxiety can be one of the root causes for why people fixate on things such as physical appearances.