“You have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” -Louise Hay
The human body is an incredible thing. It’s capable of achieving what we can’t even begin to fathom. Under the most strenuous circumstances, the human body can survive, thrive and keep us alive. It can endure freezing temperatures, hold hundreds of pounds of weight, birth a child, lose and gain weight, and so much more. And yet, how often do we find ourselves criticizing our bodies and ourselves for what it “can’t” do? We live in a comparison culture, now more than ever, due to the impact of social media. Swipe right, swipe left, double-tap to like, etc. There’s no question that this culture can make it difficult to fully embrace and love our bodies, inside and out. The implications of criticizing our physical body can have lasting scars on our mental and emotional states.
So, what does it mean to love our bodies inside AND out?
On the inside, we see our organs, intestines, vitals and biology being directly impacted by what we consume. Internal love can mean prioritizing our nutrition, checking in on our negative self-talk, and that much needed massage from time-to-time. Try some healthy food swaps to feel better internally. Instead of that cup of ice cream in the evening try a bowl of fruit and yogurt. Instead of nurturing those feelings of guilt related to engaging in self-care remind yourself that it’s just as important as eating, drinking and breathing.
On the outside, we see the image that looks back at us first thing every morning. We see the nose that feels too big or too small, the abs that seems slightly less toned than we’d hope, the wrinkles, laughs lines, imperfect skin, scars, stretch marks, the list goes on and on. Combatting these criticisms with love and compassion can feel much more positive. Instead of “I hate my scar.” Try “My scar is a sign of what I’ve made it through”. Instead of “My laugh lines make me look wrinkly and old.” try “I’ve laughed so hard that my body wants me to be reminded of the happiest times.”
Try these steps to move towards loving your body inside and out:
1) Be mindful of your self-criticisms and judgments
2) Approach yourself with the same compassion that you would a friend or family member.
3) Engage in 1-2 activities daily that promote loving your body inside and out.