I think it’s key to feel our feelings — whatever the feeling that comes up. All feelings are valid. So if you’re feeling like crap about your body, then you’re feeling like crap about your body.
It’s something to acknowledge, accept and feel — instead of beating yourself up for beating yourself up.
But sometimes these feelings and thoughts stick around too long. And they start dictating our decisions to not take kind care of ourselves (which only boosts our negative body image). They become overwhelming. All-consuming. Stressful.
This weekend I took out my journal and wrote a kind of letter to myself. I started with these words: I forgive myself…
I wrote down the things I am ready to forgive myself for (and a few things I am not). Maybe you, too, want to focus on forgiveness, and write about what you’re ready to let go.
You are a small, unsophisticated machine
simplistic in your function.
you rule my moods
dictate my diet
and overshadow the joys in my life.
Many of us are hesitant to accept our bodies because they’re “flawed.” We have stretch marks, cellulite, too-big thighs, too-small breasts, too-round bellies.
We assume all these traits are terrible imperfections which preclude us from appreciating and loving our bodies.
How can I accept something that is flawed? How can I be positive when there is negative surrounding me, part of me?
I’m starting a new round-up series on Weightless that includes all kinds of posts, which explore taking kinder care of ourselves — from appreciating our bodies to getting to know ourselves better to feeling our feelings to saying no to saying yes to savoring supportive, healthy relationships.
Because self-care helps us build a more positive body image. Because self-care helps us build fulfilling, satisfying lives. Because self-care simply feels good!
Fittingly, these posts will appear on most Sundays. I hope you find these links inspiring and empowering.
The four most influential self-help books of my life.
Last week I talked about the power of saying no, and shared examples of requests, activities, habits and ideas we can say no to. Because saying no gives us the time, space and energy to say yes to what truly nourishes and serves us.
But what are those things for you? Once you say no, what are the yeses you’ll be focusing on?
Because knowing your yeses creates a fulfilling, satisfying life. Because knowing your yeses supports you in saying no.
Because your yeses are so vital, so important that saying no becomes a priority, a way for you to protect what’s precious to you.
In Heart to Heart, my eBook with Anna Guest-Jelley, we focus on cultivating kindness, because we don’t heal ourselves with insults, judgement and body bashing. We heal ourselves — our bruised body image, our sinking self-worth — with compassion.
I like Sharon Salzberg’s definition of kindness in her book The Kindness Handbook: “Kindness can manifest as compassion, as generosity, as paying attention.”
Most of us have a mean — maybe even cruel — inner voice that says everything from “You’re too big to wear that!” to “You’re so stupid!” Understandably, we may grow to dislike — maybe even despise — this inner voice.
We might dislike it because it sounds like someone who used to bully us. Because it sounds like a parent, past partner or so-called friend. Maybe it sounds like the younger you, who regularly received hurtful remarks about your appearance in school.
I like the approach in the book Mindful Compassion, written by researcher Paul Gilbert, Ph.D, and former Tibetan Buddhist monk Choden.
This week Anna Guest-Jelley — a close friend and founder of the ever powerful Curvy Yoga — and I introduced you to our eBook Heart to Heart: 20 Poems, Meditations + Affirmations to Embrace Your Body & Cultivate Kindness.
(You can learn more here. Plus, until Tuesday, the 19th, enter the code “HEART” to save $5.)
Today, I wanted to share a new poem with you about being worthy. Because it’s so easy to internalize the message that we must earn our self-worth with accolades, accomplishments and changes in appearance.
When you feel this way, when you second-guess your self-worth, if it resonates with you, return to this reminder.
When I was deep in the well of body hatred, I didn’t really see any other path, any other way of being with myself. My friends and family loved me unconditionally, and told me not to be so critical.
But aside from them, there was always a sinking, gnawing feeling that I wasn’t enough, one substantiated (or perhaps triggered) by everything around me.
I ate up these messages. I ate up the messages that said I’d finally be enough when I looked a certain way.