Growing up in the 90s, I was exposed to one standard of beauty. For so long, the ideal body type and size for a woman was just simply petite. Now that I am around the corner from my 30s, I have learned that it is not that simple. People come in all shapes and sizes, and to undermine our individuality is to dishonor who we are and what we bring to the world. It’s time to change the conversation with ourselves and everyone around us.
What is the conversation like between you and your body? Do you encourage it, appreciate it, and honor it for everything it has accomplished? Do you listen to what it shares with you? Do you nourish your body with what it needs? This is the body that has brought you to this very moment in time. It has sheltered your organs and responded to the way you feed and move it to the best of its ability. This body you inhabit has put into motion your thoughts and dreams. If there is any skin on this earth to honor and love, it’s the one you are standing in.
Tuning into this conversation both verbally and non-verbally can shed light on how you truly feel about your body. It can make you aware of the expectations or negative perceptions you have about your body. Think of it this way; how you think about and talk to your body can reveal how you feel about your body, and how you feel about your body determines how you will love, nourish, and care for your body. In the same way that we can encourage and love each other where we are, we can offer the same to our very own body..
Here are five simple practices that we can implement daily to love our bodies more!
LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND SAY 3 THINGS YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR BODY
Say three things you love about your body, and why you love those three things. This is such an easy tool to audibly remind yourself that you love your body. Are those cheeks round because they carry your family’s heritage as though your face is a story? Are those hips the ones that birthed your children? Did those eyes see the most beautiful parts of the world and those feet accomplish taking the place of your hands? For those who are able-bodied and differently-abled, we can all honor and love parts of ourselves.
GIVE EXTRA LOVE TO YOUR LEAST FAVORITE BODY PART
Which part of your body do you struggle to love and appreciate the most? That is the part to put extra love toward! When we don’t love a body part, we can easily neglect and ignore it. Let’s change that perspective and be proud of it. Despite what insecurity we might hold there, we can change the emotional conversation we have with it by saying we love it and by being proud of it. So, those legs, hips, arms, or hands; show them some love!
Become comfortable with the skin you are in. Shut your bedroom door, turn on your favorite song (we recommend ‘Good As Hell’ by Lizzo), and dance naked! There are few things that allow you to feel as embodied and connected to yourself as dancing does, and being naked can allow you to become comfortable and acquainted with your curves. Those curves, angles, and rolls all deserve to be free and honored.
NOURISH IT AND GIVE IT WHAT IT NEEDS
Our bodies are in constant communication with as much as we are with our bodies. When we take the time to listen to how we feel after we eat and move, we can trust and love our bodies more. The more we can trust and love our bodies, the healthier and connected we feel.
CHANGE THE CONVERSATION AND COMPLIMENT OTHERS
Encourage and compliment those around you. It’ll not only remind you to do the same for yourself, but also teach you how. You are strong, beautiful, capable, powerful, and alive! So is the person next to you and the person next to them. Practice this by telling your friends how fly they look in their outfit and that they are slaying that haircut (don’t forget to add claps in between).
Don’t let your body hold you back. Whatever size, shape, curve, or form your body takes is welcome. Don’t let it stop you from being free, being yourself, and pursuing health in whatever way that looks like for you. Give yourself permission to take up space in this world! Bodies come in all shapes, sizes, abilities and colors. There is no one size fits all, and it’s so important that we make space for all of us and our physicality. If we ever decide we want to beckon ourselves into a healthier way of being, it is imperative to remember that authentic change isn’t motivated by shame. We must first love who we are and the body we are in.