Raise your hand if you've ever judged your body for not looking a certain way, doing certain things or for not healing fast enough. I'm pretty sure that you raised your hand. We've all been there and we all do it on a regular basis. When we judge our bodies, it's hard to love them. In this blog I will explain how you can love your body and why you should be grateful that you have your body, every single day of the year.
I remember it like it was yesterday, I was 8 years old standing in the classroom. I had always been a more 'chubby' kid. I developed a lot earlier than my fellow peers and was always a lot bigger. I had always been aware of this but it never really bothered me too much. And then it happened, I turned around at one of my classmates and he said: "Fattie". I asked him what he had said and he said: "Nothing", but I had heard him very clearly. From that moment onwards I didn't feel at home in my body, I knew that I wasn't okay the way that I was. It wasn't only him that taught me that being a certain way wasn't okay, it was the whole class. This class full of kids could be ruthless. There was one girl who got teased really badly because she was also more chubby than the rest of the kids in the class and this has resulted in multiple of my classmates to judge themselves for looking the way they do and they didn't even get teased. It taught us all that we are never okay, no matter what you look like. You always have adjust yourself to what society, or bullies, want you to look like.This class full of children wasn't a class full of 'bad kids', they just represented and repeated what they knew that should be 'normal'.
Throughout all my teenage years I was extremely insecure, found myself very fat and ugly and always judged myself for everything. It wasn't until my early twenties (which I'm still in), that I started to learn that being the way you are is just the way you are and there is no judgement around that. This hasn't been easy though, it has progressed ever so slowly and has progressed together with millions of 'I'm not good enough or worth anything' battles in my head.
Why you should love your body
Before I begin...
Before I begin I want you to know something really important: it's okay to be insecure. Everybody is insecure about their bodies. So it's great that you are here to acknowledge that you are insecure. That is an amazing achievement all by itself! Congratulations!! This means you have the ability to reflect upon yourself and that you are willing to work on you. Awesome!
It takes time
That is one thing I want you to know and remember right now and that is: things don't change in one day. You won't love your body in one day. Hollywood films and series show us that the girl who is struggling, can change things around in just a few weeks and it always shows a happy ending, but what is not shown are the extreme insecurities and struggles that come with that. Those films don't show us that everything comes with time and that there are many obstacles to overcome before you feel more secure. And what is also important to remember, is that once you feel more secure, you won't always feel secure for the rest of your life. This is not a linear proces, it's just like life, a proces that goes like a roller coaster and comes with highs and lows.
So be nice to yourself. Give yourself the time to become more secure in your own body and allow yourself to struggle. Sometimes the internal dialogue just takes over and that's okay. If you feel like you need professional help, please also reach out to your GP or reach out to the organization Better Help if going to your GP is too big a step to take.
All our bodies are beautiful because they give us life
I remember watching Melissa Wells her video Dear Body. I was brought to tears and blown away. Everything she said, I had said to my body. It was as if she was talking about me, saying things about what I had said to my body. I just balled for about half an hour, astonished at the fact that I had treated my body this way for so long. And since then I have said these things to my body again, because I've trained myself to treat myself and my earth suit this way.
Our bodies give us life. Our bodies are the reason we live and get to experience being a human. We are souls living in a body to experience life and learn lessons on this earth plane. How can we ever judge them knowing this? How have we ever been able to judge them and will we judge them again in the future knowing this?
And then one for the women: Our bodies are extremely miraculous as we can actually create a human being! O-M-G! How can we not be grateful for our bodies?
Because society says so
We judge our bodies for the way they look because society, social norms and values, tell us that we have to look a certain way. That is the only way that we will be desired. That is the only way that we will be successful. That is the only way that we can be healthy. That is the only way that we are pretty. That is how we are taught that our bodies are not good enough, because when you look any different than what the norm says that you've got to look like, you can't be successful, pretty, desired and healthy. Let me tell you, that's fucking bullshit. When I look at other women I always think 'wauw she's pretty'. They are always beautiful. But when I look at myself in the mirror I think all sorts of bad things about myself, because I don't look the way that I'm supposed to look. How ridiculous is it that we can see all the beauty in others, but not in ourselves?
I think it also comes from a place of fear. When we are not what we think we have to be, we are afraid that others will judge us that we aren't what we're supposed to be. The thing is, your body looks the way it looks. It's what it is and there is nothing you can do about it to change it, except of course changing your hair colour for example.
So many people feel bad about themselves because they are so called 'fat'. Apparently, having fat on your body means that you are ugly, not desired, not successful and not healthy. This is the reason behind all women always wanting to diet, lose a few pounds or even 10 kgs, because having some extra fat then is socially acceptable, makes you one of these things. But what if I said that having fat on your body might help you survive if you suffer a bad illness?What if I said that having fat on your body is also your bodies way of coping with surviving? What if I said that having fat on your body is your body protecting you? Have you ever thought of that being an extremely positive thing?
It's your body saving you and preparing you for worse days! So hug those rolls on your tummy! They help you live!
Our bodies talk to us
Have you ever thought of the fact that your painful shoulder might be your body telling you that you are experiencing too much stress? That your acne is caused by eating the wrong foods? That your painful menstruations are caused by things that we can change? I always thought of annoying symptoms as 'my body is getting in my way', because of this symptom I can't do X, Y or Z. But those symptoms are your body talking to you. They are telling you something about your lifestyle that is not beneficial for your health. My body warned me about getting close to a burn out by giving me panic attacks. Now every time I feel this feeling of panic coming up, I know I'm crossing my boundaries. My heavy menstrual problems are caused by PCOS, which are caused by EBV. It's my body telling me that I have to change something in my lifestyle so I can heal and experience normal menstrual cycles without too many symptoms.
So instead of thinking: eugh the eczema is coming back again, how annoying. Try thinking: Hey, my body is telling me something. It might be time to discover what is causing this!
Every body is different: Yaay! Let's celebrate!
How boring would the world be if everybody would look the same. Very boring! So let's celebrate that we all look different! Let's celebrate that you look different than your neighbour! It's okay that you look different than your girl friend or cousin! It makes life diverse and so beautiful! So celebrate the body that the universe gave you! You got what you got, you can't change it, be happy with the beautiful gift that is your body.
What you look like doesn't determine your worth
Whatever your body looks like, doesn't determine your worth. You are worth just as much as your class mate or colleague. You are worth it. Yes, take that in. YOU ARE WORTH IT. No matter what you look like, you are beautiful and so worth it. Nobody is any better or worse for looking a certain way, remember that.
How to love your body
You have to work for it and discover the root cause
Before I start telling you how to love your body, I have to tell you that this comes with a lot of emotional work. It is not something simple and, like I explained before, it will take time. I'm going to give you a few tips on how to learn to love your body more, but there also might be some underlying beliefs about yourself that make you think about yourself the way you do. They are the root cause of your insecurities. That might require professional help, only you know what will help you!
Give your body some love in the shower
This is a simple exercise, but when you are in the shower you can grab some organic soap and rub it on every part of your body (except where you aren't supposed to put soap of course). Every time you rub a certain part of your body, you can say thank you and I love you. For example: Put some soap on your arm and say: 'Thank you arm! Thank you for everything you do for me! I love you!'. You can do this for all your body parts.
Make a 'Why I love my body' list
The title says it, list at least 50 things that you love about your body. This might be confronting because you can't think of more than 5 things. If you don't know where to start, start with something small like: 'I love my body because it digests food and I love good food', or 'I love my body because I like my natural hair colour'. You don't have to straight away love the parts that you are insecure about more, but making a list of what you do love about yourself might just give you that extra bit of self esteem that you need.
Stand in front of the mirror, look yourself in the eyes and say I love you
This was such a hard thing for me to do at the beginning. But I can now honestly say that I can look in the mirror without only seeing what is 'wrong' with me. I can now look in the mirror and be happy with my body. It wasn't always like that though. In the beginning it was seriously hard for me to look in the mirror, I've heard that some people can't even look in the mirror without crying. If that is you, I'm here for you. I know how you feel, I feel your pain and sorrow. It also takes time, it's a process but you will get there. I promise you!
Dress yourself for you to love yourself
A great way to get a new look at your body is by dressing yourself by accentuating what you love about your body. Don't dress a certain way because fashion magazines say that suits your 'body type' more (if a body type even exists), but dress a certain way because it makes you feel confident. I love wearing loose shirts with a slight cleavage and tighter trousers around my tummy and butt. The trousers accentuate my waste and my butt (which is very peachy) and the shirt shows my cleavage (which I love) but doesn't show what I like a little bit less of myself. That makes me feel confident and beautiful.
Also, wearing some beautiful underwear can make you feel like you're the queen or king of the world, so treat yourself to some beautiful lingerie!
Like I said, this is going to cost some work, but you can get there eventually. I'm not completely there yet either, but I'm definitely feeling so much better about myself since practicing my self love exercises!
If you have any questions, let me know!