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Empathizing With Your Body

What would your body parts say if they could talk?

What would they reveal about how you’ve treated them, about what you’ve said to them?

These may seem like silly or strange questions, but they’re part of an important exercise that may help you see your body in a different way. You may gain some much-needed insight and improve your body image.

InĀ Change Your Mind, Change Your Body, co-author Ann Kearney-Cooke, Ph.D, the director of the Cincinnati Psychotherapy Institute, asks women to pretend to be the body part they’re most dissatisfied with and let it do the talking.

Here’s what one woman’s stomach said:

“My stomach told me, ‘Listen, I have held three of your children and they are one of the joys of your life. You’ve been divorced, but you have a great relationship with your children and their life started inside of me. I’m getting tired of being criticized and put down. You can’t have the stomach you used to have, but without your stomach now, you wouldn’t have those children either.’ I never looked at it this way before.”

“Participants tell me that this exercise helps target ways to be more loving and kind to their bodies,” writes Kearney-Cooke.

Give it a try:

Think of the body part you’re most dissatisfied with. Is it your belly? Your thighs? Your arms? Your hips? Then, pretend to be that part. Take a piece of paper and write down the answers to these questions:

“What is it like to be a body part in Sally’s body?

How does Sally treat me?

What would I want to tell Sally? What do I need from her at this point in my life?”

If you’d like, share your answers below! Feel free to do the exercise for several body parts.

Empathizing With Your Body

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2010). Empathizing With Your Body. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 21, 2018, from


Last updated: 5 Jan 2010
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Jan 2010
Published on All rights reserved.