I recently asked a teenage client to share three parts of her body that she loved. She paused, looked at me with startled and fearful eyes and replied, “Really?” Yes, really. I could empathize with her reaction because this exercise used to be really hard for me too. Honestly, there are days when it still is, and that is why it’s so important. The real work comes when we start to bring our awareness to the parts of our body that feel difficult to love and change the story.
Let’s face it, this time of year, all the talk is around beach bodies and swimming suits and it can make the most confident person feel sheepish and inadequate. We are constantly bombarded with “perfect body” ideals that are simply unrealistic. That means we need an arsenal of tools to help up talk back to those gremlins that can get the best of us. Our bodies are beautiful and purposeful, no matter our size and shape. Here are my two favorite exercises that help me feel grateful for the body that allows me to be alive and step foot on the beach – because, in essence, that is all we need to do to have a beach body friends! We just need to show up.
Harness the Love
Whether you journal or recite this in your head, I try to find a moment each day to bring awareness to a few parts of my body that I love. It can be fun to journal your answers as you can look back when you need some reinforcement. You can also monitor your progress. If this feels hard, know that you are not alone and remember, any body part counts. Your eyes, your hair, your fingernails or elbows. Start where you are and feel the love.
Truth be told, we all have parts of our body that might feel more difficult to love. Here is where the real work takes place. Each day, during this self-love practice, bring gratitude to a part of your body that you might not like as much. Here are a few examples:
- My legs allow me to walk, run, stand, play with my kids.
- My stomach allows me to digest food providing my body with the nourishment I need to thrive.
- My arms allow me to cook, hold someones hand, wave hello, hug and swim.
It’s safe to say that I am not alone is my inability to wholeheartedly love my body. It’s also true that admitting our insecurities diminishes their power. So, let’s try this out together.
In the comments below, name a body part you love or bring gratitude to one that needs some love. We can do hard things if we do them together!