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.
Today is my 32nd birthday. Every year, for my b-day, I’ve been republishing a version of the below post. It’s become sort of a tradition around here.
In it, I share what I’ve learned about body image, well-being and life in my years on this earth thus far. Why 35? Extra lessons for good measure and good luck!
1. Be you.
In all your amazing and unique glory. Trying to be like others or pretending you like something you actually don’t doesn’t work. Trust me, I’ve tried. It feels awkward and itchy. And then there’s the matter of life being too short.
Find out who you are. Explore your likes and dislikes. Explore what makes you happy. Explore what feeds you, what gets you up in the early hours of the day. Spend time by yourself. Take yourself out on dates.
Every Monday features a tip, activity, inspiring quote or some other tidbit that helps boost your body image, whether directly or indirectly — and hopefully kick-starts the week on a positive note!
Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at mtartakovsky at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to feature it.
Self-reflection is helpful when building a more positive body image. It helps you pinpoint what you need to work on and understand where you’re at in the first place.
I just read this great post from Dani Shapiro on Marianne’s blog. In it she explains that we don’t need confidence to write something great. In fact, confidence gets in the way. She writes:
Show me a confident writer, and in all likelihood you will also be showing me work that falls short of originality or greatness — because originality and greatness come from the willingness to take risks. To leap into the void. To do what scares you. And while it may seem that this leap would take confidence, what it really takes to leap is courage. Which is a whole other kettle of fish.
Courage isn’t the same as being fearless. It’s doing that thing, anyway, despite the fear, despite the panic.