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(Note: This article is a part of our 31-day series, “31 Days to a Whole Body Makeover“.)
I have this tightly-held belief that every woman is by her own divine nature already beautiful. It’s so easy to forget, though. How could we not? As we grow up, we are barraged with messages that we are never good enough, that we don’t measure up to the impossible standard set upon us by society.
As babies, no, even before birth, we are fascinated with our bodies and all of the things we are learning to do every day as we grow. We come into the world loving and adoring our own bodies, amazed with its capabilities and the drive to learn to do more. We are all too anxious to learn to roll over, to sit up, walk, and speak. Somehow, though, as the years go on, we start to listen to the messages passed down from the women in our families about the insecurities they feel about their bodies. We hear our mothers, grandmothers, and aunts express displeasure in their bodies. If they don’t say it directly to us, then we overhear them say it to themselves or to someone else and then we, their daughters, internalize it.
Now, stop for just a moment and really think back to your earliest memories of your life. Think about your mother and what her body represented to you. Can you remember how she smelled? How soft and warm she felt? How she was the only one could comfort you when you were hurt or scared? How you craved to be cradled in her arms when she was away?
Didn’t you think her body was the ultimate in perfection? As though she herself was a divine being?
If the one woman, whom you’ve always perceived to be a goddess, could possibly think poorly of her body, then how could you possibly maintain that your body is beautiful and perfect just as it is? If she cannot see the good in her body, then what does that say about your body, the body she created?
The saddest thing in the world would be to let that pattern of self-loathing (as common as it is) to be passed down to the next generation of girls. Ladies, let us learn true self-love, and be careful not to pass it down to our daughters, nieces, and granddaughters. Let us stop obsessing over the number on the scale, or the calorie count of every bite, but even more so, let us stop allowing the ways we falsely perceive our bodies keep us from being genuinely happy!
We are so much more than the number on a scale, and so are our precious daughters. Doesn’t it break your heart to think about your daughters experiencing feelings of negativity for their bodies? This is why when we speak to ourselves, we need to speak as though we are speaking to our eight-year-old self, or whatever age it was that you started to really come into consciousness about your body’s imperfections. Visualizing that little girl, what would you say? Would you continue to negative self-talk? I hope not, because you deserve so much better than that.
Here are my Tips for Internalizing Self-Love:
Don’t worry about getting “skinny”. This is an unrealistic ideal that sets us up for failure.
Instead, love your body.
Read and learn about your body.
Feed your body what it needs.
Exercise doing something you enjoy.
Wear that swimming suit.
Treat yourself to a massage, facial, and/or pedicure.
Speak only kind words about your body, especially when facing a mirror.
Stop sitting on the sidelines watching; instead, get out there and play with your children. Teach them to love their bodies or they will learn to someday sit on the sidelines, too.
Realize that your loved ones do not see your flaws; they only see you. They won’t remember the things you are self-conscious about, they will only remember you.
Stop caring about what others around you think; do not give even a moment of precious time and energy to someone who doesn’t even matter. Stop letting a glance, stare, or unkind word shadow over your life so as to never see the sunlight.
What do you do to take care of yourself? Anything you would add to my list? Please tell me in the comments below!