I Don't Hate My Body Anymore
I've always had a complicated relationship with my body. I've carried this discomfort with me everywhere I've gone. I've been conscious of how my shirt fell across my stomach, critical of how my jeans fit after a meal. I've wanted my body to be different, so I could feel different. I've counted calories in secret, avoided looking in the mirror, and exercised obsessively. And when nothing changed, my hatred for my body increased. But I don't hate my body anymore. What happened? How did I get here?
Don't Hate Your Body, Learn to Appreciate It Instead
Your body is your home for life. While you're busy with school, work, and friends, your body is constantly working to make your life better. Think of the involuntary processes going on inside of you right now. If you want to stop hating your body, you must begin to appreciate your body. Note that this is different than showing appreciation for your body. You can show appreciation without truly appreciating it.
There are two exercises that have helped me to appreciate my body:
- Look in the mirror. And really look at yourself, for a minute or two. This was hard for me because I hated the emotions that surfaced. When I forced myself to look in the mirror, I couldn't run from those feelings. I had to confront why I was feeling them. I learned that I was placing nearly all of my worth on the shape of my body. Ironically, I found my worth in non-physical attributes while staring at myself in the mirror.
- Write a letter to your body. Make this an apology letter, if you need to. How might you have hurt your body over the years? How have you overlooked or ignored your body? How will you move forward to let go of your negativity toward your body? These are some questions to get you started. I was hesitant to do this, especially since it felt strange writing to my body. But I was shocked at the relief I felt after writing that letter.
When I notice myself starting to criticize my body, I turn to these two activities. I'd recommend repeating them often, as your relationship with your body will continue to change. In the beginning, you might not have many positive things to say about your body. That's okay. Focus on developing a neutral relationship with your body over a negative relationship with your body. After that, a positive relationship can emerge.
If You Still Hate Your Body, Don't Give Up
Sometimes you may feel like you're making no progress because your inner critic simply will not shut up. Don't be disappointed; there's a lot of media out there screaming that your body should look a specific way. Taking steps to appreciate your body is an accomplishment in its own right.
What do you do to develop a more positive relationship with your body? When did you stop hating your body? Tell me about it in the comments.
Clawson, A. (2021, June 30). I Don't Hate My Body Anymore, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, November 28 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/mentalhealthforthedigitalgeneration/2021/6/i-dont-hate-my-body-anymore