Consider all the things your body enables you to perform every day. Examples of this include breathing, walking, and even eating and digesting food. You need these things to stay alive, happy, and healthy even though they may seem insignificant. However, your body is even more remarkable than that!
Here’s how you can learn to love your body :
- Explore your body image history – When did you first notice your body? How would you characterise your relationship with your body and when did that start? Diving deeper into your body image history is an important part of embracing your body and ultimately learning to care for it.
- Allow for imperfections – Rarely is anything completely perfect. Our minds often try to convince us that perfection is attainable, so we keep trying to “fix” ourselves in order to feel good. Noticing imperfections, and allowing them to exist without trying to change them may be anxiety-provoking at first, but can be freeing over time. Imagine giving yourself permission to be unfinished and reframe it to “work in progress”.
- Try body neutrality before body love – To arrive at body love, we must first name and deal with body hatred. Simply being in your body might feel emotional and tense at times. It’s way easier to unlearn body hate through neutral statements and observations, rather than forcing a loving perspective of your body that may feel unnatural and fake.
- Make friends with your triggers – Triggers can be anything from a social media post, to trying on old clothes. Sometimes triggers are relationship-based and can come up when you’re in specific environments and places. While you don’t want to be triggered all the time, getting more comfortable with your triggers will expose you to a mindset of acceptance, tolerance and ultimately change. You can’t change what you avoid.
Body image can be tangled up in your relationship with food, how you show up in your romantic relationships and friendships, and may be part of traumatic experiences and memories. Allow for your process to evolve slowly. Body love if hard work. Validate the small wins and commitments you make towards being neutral or kind to yourself and your body. You deserve a healthy body image, even if it takes time.