Happy Motivation Monday/Tuesday!
This week’s topic is how to love your body. Body Love is one of the main four tenants of End With a BANG. I know I have mentioned this before, but I can not stress this enough: you do not have to love your body to show your body love. For some, especially those with chronic illness or disabilities, loving your body can be too daunting of a task to take on. Also, forcing yourself to “love” your body ALL the time can just become another unreasonable expectation to hold yourself to. You don’t have to love your body every day, but you don’t have to hate it either. There is neutral space in between that is perfectly okay to exist in. This is the idea behind Body Liberation.
Loving your body doesn’t mean suppressing how you truly feel either. You need to acknowledge your feelings and to figure out where they are coming from. Are there limiting beliefs you have about your body? Are there outside voices that are impacting how you feel about your body negatively? Is this really about something from your past that is no longer serving you? You can’t address these questions/feelings until you allow yourself space for them to be felt/asked.
In a world where our bodies are constantly seen as a representation of who we are, it’s so important to remind ourselves that we are not our bodies. No one can look at your body and tell how hard you work. They can’t see how talented, devoted, or kind you are. They can’t see your past or what you are struggling with. There is so much more to you than how your body looks. Everyone is worthy of love and belonging regardless of the body they live in. If you find this hard to accept, the first step is to recognize and challenge the beliefs you have that keep you from recognizing your worth.
In my late pre-teens and early teens, I based my worth on the number of people who found me attractive. If someone I liked didn’t find me attractive, I would believe it was because I wasn’t worthy of affection. I would seek out “love” and attention where ever I could find it so that I could prove to myself that I was attractive enough to be worthy of existence. In my late teens and early twenties, I started basing my worth on the longevity of my relationships, because if I could make it work that meant I was a good person worth being with. This led me to stay in relationships I wasn’t happy in far too long. I believed I had to keep up the appearance of perfection and “true love” in order to be worthy of it. I spent too long accepting sub-par affection and commitment from anyone who would give it to me. All of this to say that my underlying belief that what others felt about me defined my worth kept me from enjoying true self-actualization.
When we make a conscious effort to act kindly towards ourselves, we take baby steps toward believing that we are worthy of kindness. This includes how we treat our bodies. I call this process “make a home in our body.” This looks different for everyone. For me, this is buying cute clothes, getting tattoos, getting waxed, or getting my nails done. These are all ways I show my body love. I also have chronic fatigue as a result of my PCOS, which means rest is also a crucial way to show my body compassion. I honestly have a lot of shame and guilt surrounding my need for rest, but I feel being open about it takes some of the power these feelings have over me. I also have a lot of shame and guilt around my relationship with movement. I feel my body yearning to move more, but I struggle to find the balance between rest and movement. I am not very good at setting routines, and I feel I will have the most success if I make movement a routine. I also feel the need to start small, but that is not really my forte.
I share my struggle in the hopes that you know it’s okay to struggle too. You just need to be honest with yourself, because the more you try to hide your struggle the more power over you it has. That is what is at the core of the principle of Body Love. What are some ways you show your body love? And are there certain ways you want to show your body love, but are struggling with?