Last week, I talked about how I started to look for what is beautiful about other people’s bodies instead of comparing myself to them and tearing them down. It’s helped my body image in a big way (and I feel like way less of jerk since I’m not criticizing other people because of my own hate for my own body).
It’s just one of many things I’ve been doing on a regular basis to transform the way I feel about my body. Loving or liking your body is a “practice”. We practice yoga, we practice sports, we practice before giving a presentation or dance recital. And yes, changing how we feel about our bodies or how we feel around food requires creating a practice of sorts. Today I’m sharing the 4th “practice” in my body image toolbox.
The fourth thing I’ve done is that I started to picture myself as a little kid when an urge to say something bad about my body comes up. Sounds a little weird but read on!
I started to picture myself when I was a little kid.
Every time a horrible thought about my body comes up or the urge to pinch, pick apart or tear myself down arises, I remind myself that the person I am saying that about is a little girl named Andrea. Andrea loves books, barbies, coloring and helping her mom in the kitchen. She loves Saturday morning cartoons, roller skating, riding her bike and playing in the woods behind her house with her friends. She’s affectionate, curious and cares about how other people feel. She loves animals and laughing. She’s creative and has a wild imagination.
She’s just a kid.
Would I speak the way I speak to myself to little Andrea if she was standing in front of me?
I wouldn’t dare treat a kid the way I treat my adult self.
Why? Because she doesn’t deserve it.
I don’t deserve it either. We’re the same person.
I want to have higher standards for myself. If I wouldn’t talk to a little kid the way I talk to myself, then I can’t continue saying the horrible things I’ve said about myself.
I now can’t not see myself as a kid when these cruel thoughts pop in my head and it now helps stop them quickly. Remember the kid you were. How innocent, hopeful, kind, ambitious, gentle, unique and whole you were (and ARE!!). How worthy of love and valued you were (and ARE!!).
You deserve better treatment. She deserves better treatment. You are the same now as you were then and you deserve love and acceptance – especially from yourself.
To keep your mind on this idea, try carrying around a picture of yourself when you were little or posting a pic as your desktop background and see if it changes how you think of yourself today. If a picture of yourself doesn’t make you feel compassion or sympathetic, try someone else you care about – a niece, nephew, a friend’s kid – someone else who you wouldn’t dare talk this way to.
Can you have the same compassion for yourself that you would give to a child? Why or why not?
Keep an eye out for the last post in this series (#5) next week!
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