Moving from Body Hatred to Body Neutrality
Body weight obsession is a national pastime in this country – especially for women. As a result body-bashing – toward others and toward ourselves – can often become the lens from which self-worth is measured. Not good.
These tips will help you to stop hating your body and to start embracing what makes you unique and worthy of kindness and care.
1. Practice Body Neutrality
Did you know that every single thought has the power to change our biochemistry? Yep.
We Literally Are What We Think
So, for someone who has a constant inner dialogue about oneself that errs on the side of being self-critical, this is crucial information.
This area of research is called neuroplasticity and it’s proving that our thoughts are quite powerful. If you want to stop body loathing, but body positivity feels laughable, Body Neutrality can help bridge that gap between body hatred and body love.
When you notice a negative thought pop into you head about your body, acknowledge it’s there, and then take a deep breath. We want to press the stop button on that thought – clear the mind and hopefully calm the body in that moment.
Now, choose a more neutral voice. What could you say to yourself that is less hateful and more neutral toward self?
This research provides a proven tool for dismantling the source of body loathing – which is our negative thinking. Like a muscle you will begin to strengthen your new way of thinking based on what you focus on. Try it – it works!
2. Let The Good Stuff In
Do you accept compliments when they are given or do you dismiss them? Accepting compliments cracks the door open for allowing in the positive instead of always focusing on the negative. A simple ‘thank you for saying that’ is enough to begin moving the needle from dismissing compliments to allowing them in.
In addition to learning to accept compliments when given, make a list of what YOU like about yourself – inside and out. Choose at least one thing. You can build from there when ready, but letting the good in is important for creating a more positive relationship with your body and Self.
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3. Surround Yourself With Positive People
Sometimes we unintentionally surround ourselves with people who mirror our inner critic. Being around people who constantly focus on what they, we, or others are lacking is a serious downer. Think about who makes you feel good, accepted and appreciated for WHO YOU ARE NOW.
Who feels the most supportive in your life? Who ‘gets you’ and accepts and loves you no matter what? And just as important (if not more) – how can you begin being your own best friend and start showing compassion and acceptance toward yourself?
Surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people – or at least showing our well-meaning loved ones on how to support us – can help you along your path toward self-acceptance.
4. Tell Media Messages To “Talk to the Hand”
How much are you buying into media messages around the ‘ideal’ body shape and size? Comparing ourselves to an unattainable ‘ideal’ is crazy-making, not to mention fuel for the fire around not feeling ‘not good enough’. Whether it’s television, magazines, diet ads – we are inundated with the message that thinner is better –no matter the cost to one’s health.
The impact of living in a society that values body perfection for females doesn’t escape many women no matter their age, but instead of joining the crowd why not become more discriminating of what you read, watch and listen to?
We do have some control around what we are exposed to, and because it’s natural to be influenced by what we tune into, why not work to tune out the media messages and tune into a voice that better values and supports who you are today.
5 Take Care Of The Body You Have Today
Hating our bodies doesn’t foster self-care, but instead elicits punitive measures such as dieting and “no pain/no gain” exercise as a misguided attempt to motivate change.Positive change, however, does not come from a place of hate but from a place of self-regard.
How can you shift away from the tunnel vision of weight loss (or changing your body in some way) to a broader vision of what it means to take care of yourself?
The former feels like ‘I need to fix myself’ while the latter feels like ‘I choose to care for myself’. Big difference. And you know what? Positive change only comes from the broader vision of self-care. Self care involves being tuned into your body and mind – and then learning how to honor those cues, instead of ignoring them.
It’s as simple – and not as simple – as that, because if you have been shutting off from your needs then the practice of paying attention takes time. You will find, however, that this is where the magic happens when it comes to lessening body hatred and increasing overall well-being.