You know you’ll love your body after you’ve lost weight, or toned your legs, or fixed your breakouts. Right now, you’re not loveable, but once you’re the right size, shape, or color, it’ll all fall into place.
The habit you have of promising to love your body after you’ve achieved your goal is so common.
It’s also silly.
How on earth can you expect love, change, or growth to come from hate or negativity? That’s like expecting a rose to bloom in a cave. Remember that childhood song, “First comes love… then comes marriage… then comes the baby in the baby carriage!”? I think we had it right there – first comes love, before any other changes or goals, first comes love.
We have to love ourselves first, have a positive body image, and then make progress from that place of love and acceptance. But, as anyone who’s ever tried this knows, it’s way, way easier said than done.
Here’s one way to actively and consciously improve your body image.
You are loveable right now
What you need to know is: You are loved right now. In this body, as it is, what it weighs, with its symptoms and imperfections. You do not need to change to be loved or to deserve that love. Right this very second, you are fine as you are, and you are loved.
Yes, you might be unwell or in pain. But, that doesn’t make you unloveable or unworthy.
Try believing that, even if it’s just for 30 seconds.
Or if that’s too much, try pretending you believe it for a second or two. Or imagine what it might be like to believe that.
It doesn’t mean you don’t want to change, it means that you find yourself worthy and valuable no matter what.
To get more of this feeling, try this step-by-step body image self-love practice. It’s not difficult or complicated, but it can be tricky to get comfortable with, and even harder to master. The more you do it and the more you feel it, I promise, the more positivity you will bring to your body image, and therefore your whole self.
Body self-love morning ritual
- Stand in front of a mirror, somewhere private. Full length if you can.
- Be as naked as you can. For some people, you’ll be ok being totally bare, while others might really struggle with this. That’s ok – push yourself, but not too far. If you want to wear just your underwear, or a tank top, or even if you have to start off in a t-shirt and shorts, go for it. As you get more comfortable with your body, you’ll hopefully be able to remove clothes until you can go at it naked. Naked is the goal here.
- See as much of your body in the mirror as possible. Just look at yourself.
- What thoughts come up here for you? What body areas do you focus on or avoid? Don’t force or judge here, just look and listen for a minute.
Now for the active part
Place your hands on each major body section and focus on being grateful, loving, or at the very least, neutral about that body part. Under no circumstance are you to pinch, grab, jiggle, sneer, or have any other un-loving behavior towards your body.
Focus on generating a gentle warmth, or glow, as you progress.
- Rest your hands on your head. You can lightly stroke or massage if you like. Feel love for your head, look at it, smile at it, reassure it (yeah, I know it sounds kooky, but it feels good, trust me). Don’t rush, but when you feel done, move your hands on to:
- Your face
- Neck and shoulders
- Belly (you might need extra time to focus here – there can be a lot going on)
- Bring your attention slowly back up your body, look yourself in the eyes, smile, and tell yourself whatever it is you need to hear. I love you. It’s going to be ok. You are awesome. You’ve got this.
Do this every morning (or twice a day) if you can. Even if you feel like you’re ‘lying’ to yourself about the self-love, do it anyway. Body shame and hate get you nowhere, and fake it till you make it is a totally legit strategy on this one!
Up your body image game
If you’re ready to up your self-love game (and I’m going to try this over the coming weeks), you can give Ayurvedic self-massage a go. It’s the same process as above, but you use sesame oil (and I’m betting you can use coconut oil to great effect too – or grab the olive oil to get started) to massage each body section. Then you take a shower, but don’t soap the oil off, just rinse and let the oil nourish your skin. You focus the loving energy as you massage, for a double hit of awesome.
I don’t think I have enough time to do the oil massage every day, but I might do it on workout days (three times a week), and maybe do spot massage on other days, for areas I have trouble loving. That’s not a strategy I’ve read about, but I’m making it a thing.
There you go: quickie Ayurvedic self-massage. Pick the area of your body your struggle most to love and just massage that.
Done. It’s now an accepted practice.
This morning ritual helps you to love your body more. We all need and deserve love, especially from ourselves. This is an area I’d like to explore in more depth here on the blog, so please let me know if there’s anything you’d like to hear about.
You can download the free Live the Whole ‘Fall in Love with Yourself‘ ebook – it has lots more strategies to get your self-love flowing.
Tell me: Do you have anything you do to show you love yourself? What do you do to actively improve your body image?