creative joy, single heart, 2012

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. I’d love to hear from you!

Body image goes beyond loving your body to really loving yourself. Like anything else it’s a process, and I know that self-love can sound intimidating and maybe even abstract.

That’s why I love photographer and blogger Vivenne McMaster’s current series, “14 Days of Self-Love,” on her beautiful blog. For 14 days, a different contributor offers their take on self-love along with an activity for learning and practicing self-love.

Here are a few of my favorite posts in the series (I’m summarized them briefly, but you need to check out the entire posts — they’re amazing):

Take self-portraits. This is a powerful exercise from Valerie Tookes that includes a camera, journal and printer. You take photos of yourself every day. Each day, you pick one image that “gives voice to something about you that day.” Print that image and paste it in your journal. Then complete this sentence: “I love you today because….”

Get to know yourself. As Susannah Conway writes, “To fall in love with ourselves we have to get to know ourselves first. I remember reading a quote somewhere that said a great marriage was one where the conversation never ended. This is what we want with ourselves: the conversation. The getting to-know-you part of the courtship. The intrigue, and then the honesty.”

She suggests the following activities, which have been helpful for her, too: to keep asking the question “How do I feel about this?” about a certain situation or memory; to check in with your needs; and to carve out alone and quiet time to journal, wehther that’s recording your feelings, writing love letters or creating lists.

Create a self-love ceremony. One weekend Stacy de la Rosa took a solo trip to create her own commitment ceremony where she made specific vows to herself. As she writes, “For me it was a way to honor my true self in the same way I honor those I also have commitments to in my life: namely my husband and my children.”

If you can’t take a solo trip, take some time at home to write vows to yourself. Maybe you light a few candles, turn on your favorite music and read these vows aloud — whatever feels the most appropriate and special to you.

Practice radical self-love daily. Andrea Schroeder spells out what radical self-love means, explores why self-love is hard to act on and encourages readers to practice radical self-love every day.

You can also contemplate what radical self-love means to you or adopt her beautiful definition.

What does self-love mean to you? How do you practice it? What do you think about the above tips? 

P.S., I’m absolutely honored to be guest posting on Mara’s Medicinal Marzipan today. I love her blog! I wrote about the power of writing, and I hope you’ll check it out. Let me know what you think.