On Monday, we talked about the body image memories that have shaped our self-image. When we first started realizing that we are our weight, when we started yearning to be thinner, when we learned the various “truths” about our bodies and ourselves.
Last week, Robyn Silverman, Ph.D, sent me a link to a video about her recently published book, Good Girls Don’t Get Fat: How Weight Obsession Is Messing Up Our Girls and How We Can Help Them Thrive Despite It.
When I saw it, I have to admit that I got a little emotional, and it made me think about the other side of our body image memories. (Please check out the video here before you read on.)
What about the times when you were proud of your reflection or when your reflection didn’t rule your life and your choices?
When did you feel the most comfortable in your skin?
A good way to remember past happy moments is to reconnect with your inner child. You’re probably familiar with this kind of exercise. We’ve talked about this before on Weightless in relation to eating disorders and abusing food. In that guest post, Kate writes:
If you are someone who needs to reconnect with the absolute truth that you are “already gorgeous and utterly deserving of love,” a suggestion I came across early in my recovery was to find a favorite picture of yourself as a baby or young child, and to keep it somewhere where you would see it on a regular basis. When you are tempted to engage in ED behaviors or abuse food, look at that picture and ask yourself, does that little child deserve to be treated that way? If we wouldn’t do it to a young child, why treat ourselves poorly as adults? What on earth could we possibly have done so wrong that we don’t deserve the same care and love that we deserved back then?
The little child in the picture is still you.
We may be adults now, with adult responsibilities and worries and stresses, but we are also still worthy of all the good things we give to kids, whether we are parents ourselves now or not.
Reclaim your childlike goodness.
Kate quotes a woman who attended one of Geneen Roth’s retreats. The woman said:
Until now, I had only been able to access a certain kind of love by thinking about my children. My four-year-old daughter says: “I love you six hundred cats, to the moon and back, and ten pancake breakfasts.” And what I am saying is that I am learning to love myself five billion universes, nine hundred and ten strawberries, and three million elephant kisses. It’s a completely different life when I direct that kindness toward myself. (from Women, Food and God, p. 198)
Katie from Health for the Whole Self, a healthy living blog, also wrote about the importance of directing kindness to yourself by reconnecting to your inner child – and looking at pictures of yourself as a little one.
(Speaking of, that’s a picture of me and one of my close friends; it was taken in NYC just a few minutes before we started yet another day of summer camp, when I was around eight or nine, I think. I’m the one on the right with the cool sock-and-Keds-like-shoe combo.)
So today try to remember that little girl (or boy) who looked at her reflection with curiosity and contentment. Who twirled around for hours and viewed movement as pure enjoyment (not as a means for losing weight or punishing herself). Who had no knowledge of calories. No discomfort in her skin. Who walked around feeling happy and free in her body. Who wasn’t self-conscious about her outfit. Who didn’t focus on what others might think.
Take out a picture of you as a child, and reconnect to those body positive memories. Maybe even consider what needs to change right now so you can feel this same curiosity, pride and excitement.
Today’s favorite post. A fantastic post from A Weight Lifted on working to fix your problems, not amplifying them.
What were some of your body positive moments? When did you feel the most comfortable in your skin? How can you better connect to this time? What did you think as you were watching the video?
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Last reviewed: 12 Feb 2014