At the height of the summer we’re bombard with messages about how to have the so called “perfect body”, the flawless skin, toned buns, flat stomach, all without an ounce of body fat. For the majority of us, this will never be our reality and thank goodness as its no way to live a life of pleasure and freedom!
We live in a culture with strong messages that we’re not good enough as we are. A culture that perpetuates comparison to what we don’t have and what we lack. At extremes this cultivates self loathing, self harm and eating disorders. Regularly in my practice I work with people whose body image has taken a battering whether through their own perceptions and beliefs or the words of others. Its one of the first things I work on with clients as how we think and feel about our body affects all of our interactions with the world. We can’t be freely enjoying our pleasure if we’re worried about the size of our bellies or the hairs in places we didn’t anticipate them in.
So how do we start to love our bodies?
1. Notice what your telling your self
What do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror? Do you criticise yourself about your body? Do you have particular areas that you always focus on or avoid? Often, we’re on auto pilot and we don’t even notice these internal conversations.
We’re 70% water and as Masaru Emoto found with his water crystal experiments, when the water was spoken to with good words or played lovely music, he always observed beautiful crystals yet if the water was given the opposite, the crystals became disfigured. Just take a moment to imagine what continual self criticism could be doing to the overall health of your body. As Hilly Spenceley of Shakti Tantra once said to me, you wouldn’t put up with criticism like this from your best friend, so why take it from yourself? Become aware of what we’re telling ourselves is the first step to change and transforming this inner dialogue is not only key to self love, its also vital for your health and well being.
2. Take a reality check
My bet is that what you see in the mirror is not what other people see. Body dysmorphia is where a person spends an excessive amount of time thinking about a minor or imagined defect in their physical appearance and it impacts on their quality of life. This is common. I invite you to look in the mirror through fresh eyes and go through all the parts of your body your critical about. Challenge your thinking. On what basis do you think that? Whats an alternative way of looking at this body part? If you can, ask your friends and family what they appreciate about your beauty.
3. Daily mirror work
This practice is profound, if you do it on a regular, ideally daily basis. Imagine that right now one of your radio frequencies is tuned into radio negative but you also have a dial into radio positive. This daily practice tunes you more strongly into radio positive and the signal just grows and grows. Every day look in the mirror and find between one and three things that you like, love or appreciate about yourself and take a moment to say “I like my……” or “I love my….” If you can’t find anything, start with something you appreciate such as “I really appreciate that my heart is beating and that I am alive.” Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you spend these moments sending good vibrations into your body. Even if you do the same body part every day it’ll still have an affect over time.
Sarah Rose Bright