Whatever our gender, when temperatures increase, the amount of clothing decreases and our bodies are typically more on display. Many of us feel particularly vulnerable if our bodies are even a fraction shy of the unrealistic, inhumane culturally defined perfect 10.
Your perception and treatment of yourself strongly influences the way others perceive and treat you. Research shows that self-criticism and self-loathing are actually detrimental in helping us make substantial, sustainable changes that will support healthier ways of living. Fear-and force-fueled tactics may produce short-term results, but they don’t anchor the type of long-term physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing we seek.
To free yourself from the destructive cycle of self-abuse, focus on the ways your body serves you—and how you can better serve it. Your answers to the following questions will help reveal additional opportunities to harness the power of respect, curiosity, compassion and gratitude to nurture, encourage and delight yourself in healthy ways—always and in all ways.
True or False
I appreciate that my arms enable me to hold someone I love, that my thighs enable me to run.
I wear comfortable clothes that I really like and that feel good to my body, rather than trying to hide or camouflage my body or following uncomfortable fashion trends.
I consider myself as a whole person, not just as a body.
I do things that let me enjoy my body—dance, play, take a hot bath, walk, get a massage.
I think and behave as I would if my body were perfect.
I notice that the appearance of people I admire is unimportant to their kindness, compassion and accomplishments.
I do things I enjoy and don’t let my weight or shape stop me.
At night, I tell my body how much I appreciate what it has allowed me to do throughout the day.
I exercise to feel good and love my body, not to feel perfect or worthy.
I count my blessings, not my blemishes.
I think of my body as a source of pleasure.
I only wear comfortable clothes that help me express who I am at my core: worthy, wise, creative, powerful and beautiful.
I consider myself the expert on my body, not the fashion magazines, the cosmetics industry or the weight tables.
I am as “in love” with my body as an infant is.
I think of my body as a tool, as an instrument of my life, not just as an ornament.
I show up as my body’s ally and advocate, not its enemy.
I listen to my body and take its needs and wishes into consideration when making decisions.
I refuse to squander my energy in criticizing my body or worrying about my appearance, and instead spend my time on something more precious or productive.
When someone says, “You look great today,” I enthusiastically respond, “Thank you so much!”
We may find ourselves more appreciative of our bodies and ourselves if we aim for lifestyle mastery, rather than mastery over our body, weight, or appearance. Lifestyle mastery is about cultivating our unique gifts, tapping into our potential, expressing ourselves, fostering meaningful relationships, turning obstacles into opportunities and contributing to the greater good for all, in all, through all.
Author’s content adapted under license, © 2008 Claire Communications
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