When is the last time that you saw a naked body? What about the last time that you saw a naked body that wasn't sexualized? Or how about a naked body that looks like yours? How about the last time that you saw your OWN body, completely naked? Hang with me, I'm going somewhere with this......
I have found that many women that I work with are dissatisfied with their own bodies because they think that something is wrong with it. It doesn't look like the bodies we see in magazines, movies, and social media. We are flooded by images of one type of body, and that body doesn't represent most of us. Even if your body does "fit" into the standard beauty model, it's common that women will still pick apart their stretch marks, cellulite, and rolls. I've yet to meet a woman that could tell me that she was happy with her reflection in the mirror. And this my friends, breaks my heart. I am the first to tell you that I don't love everything in that I see in the mirror. But I do APPRECIATE and RESPECT my reflection. This is my wish for you.
So, how do we move past all this body dissatisfaction to a place where we can be our bright shiny selves? If you are new to this self-love and body-love journey, the first step I always recommend is to filter the images that you see. Stop following pages or accounts that make you feel bad about yourself. Scan your social media for diversity of body types. Do you ever see images of fat (I say this with a neutral meaning. Fat is not bad!) women doing awesome things? With the Olympics wrapping up, we just had the opportunity to see an amazing array of body shapes completing amazing feats. What about images of different body shapes and colors and abilities just existing? You know, like an actual representation of our world? Fill up your FaceBook and Instagram feeds with real bodies. Big ones, small ones, happy ones, sad ones, and those that are comfy in their skin.
Once you have your visual consumption under control, I think that it is such a powerful thing to get comfortable with your own body. Here is where I want for you to get naked! If this is too scary to jump right in, that's okay! Take some time to look in the mirror while fully clothed. Just observe. Without judgement, what do you see? Do you have freckles, brown eyes, long lashes, or curly hair? Listen to your thought process and gently bring it back to a place of observation if you hear it start to judge. Do this every day. Do this as often as possible.
Once you feel comfortable seeing your reflection, start to experiment with various stages of undressed. Take a minute between getting undressed and hopping in the shower to gaze in the mirror. Don't rush to get dressed in the morning. Keep reminding yourself to SEE your reflection and disengage from any negative self-talk. This isn't about falling in love with what you see. It is about normalizing your own body. After all, what can possibly be more "normal" than your own being!?
For some, you will get to a place where you see all your beauty and that is amazing! For others, simply being neutral about your reflection is enough. When I first started doing this, I was awestruck to realize how unfamiliar I was with my own body. Remember those Magic Eye books where you had to stare, and sort of blur your eyes a bit to see the hidden image? I would crawl up on the vanity and just sit and stare. Eventually my reflection became something different. Although in this case, the image shifted from perception to reality. I was finally able to see myself as a body that carries my soul around this world. I have two legs, two arms, a trunk that can twist and lift things, and a head that is full of thoughts. None of it is good or bad. It just is. We can talk another day about the importance of being a kind, contributing member in society, but for today, I want for you to learn to be comfortable in your skin. It's a lovely thing.
This process takes time of course, but there is nothing more natural in the world than being comfortable with YOU.
If you would like to join our community of badass women on the same body acceptance path, we would love to cheer you on! Check it out here.