Happiness comes from embracing the authentic beauty of our bodies and here’s how!
We’re all exposed to the bombardment of images of women’s bodies, from television, movies, the internet, billboards, packaging and magazines — young, predominately white, thin, hard, flawless faces and bodies.
The images with which we’re assailed to sell us things are not authentic. They’re manipulated, photoshopped and radically changed — eyes made bigger, necks longer, skin smoother, legs thinner and on and on.
The ideal is a fantasy. In my opinion, we should view these as odd and fetishistic works of art, not representations of real people. We should abstain from comparing ourselves or anyone to them.
Instead, we look in the mirror and see flaws, imperfections as unforgivable failures to meet the ideal — spots, dimples, discolorations, wrinkles, rolls, cellulite, hair, what else? We then collapse our “lack of beauty” with lack of something else we want in our lives. We tell ourselves that if we were thinner, curvier or whatever, then we would find love, get that job and feel good about ourselves.
We feel discouraged and shamed. We look at ourselves from the outside, passing judgement. We look at the surface. We then look outside ourselves for the answers, solutions. We’re further alienated from our inner voice, our intuition and our curiosity. We do not trust ourselves.
Why does it matter?
Women spend hundreds of millions of dollars buying products, gym memberships, special clothing and undergoing surgery. The results? — still feeling less than the ideal. What else could that money fuel? Women in politics? A change in our maternal care system? Free education? Returning the arts to our schools? Daily joy?
Women waste millions of hours fretting, feeling badly, complaining, tearing themselves/others down, researching and recovering from surgery. What could we do with all of those hours if we were focused on what we really desire: connection, community and possibility?
“As above, so below”, the micro mirrors the macro: I see and feel the connection between each woman’s body and the body of mother earth herself. Women are sold on their imperfections, then we stand by as we’re sold on the imperfections of the planet — the need for chemical fertilizers, for ripping off mountain tops, for carving ugly scars to extract oil. Healing our personal relationships with our bodies and bodies of all women simultaneously reconnects us to our mother and inspires celebrating, respecting and protecting her.
Women who seek loving peace and acceptance of their bodies discover an internal well of confidence and courage. They experience powerful self-love that radiates out into their relationships, work and community. After all, how can we love others when we don’t love ourselves?
1. Prime your brain.
Your brain doesn’t perceive reality with a capital R. It’s more like a filter, a computer in which we enter a program and the program executes. For example, you learn a new word. You swear you’ve never seen it and no one uses it. Then, all of the sudden, it’s everywhere. Your brain wasn’t primed to see it so it didn’t. So prime your brain for beauty — your own and the beauty others. Ask yourself “What will I learn about my beauty today?”
Want to be thought beautiful and feel beautiful? Start by smiling. People experience us as beautiful when we smile, we feel more beautiful and we also calm our nervous systems and release those happy chemicals that give us a boost. Plus we exercise our muscles — mental and physical!
3. Replace negative self talk with positive self talk.
“My thighs are fat and ugly” changes to, “My thighs are strong and support me beautifully in my life. I am grateful for my thighs.”
“What’s wrong with me?” changes to “What’s right with me?”
And “I look old” becomes “This is what wisdom and experience look like,” or “I see wisdom and experience in my face.”
- Commit to one of the above practices for the next two weeks.
- Create reminders, post-its, phone alarms, whatever works to jog you out of the habitual.
- Be compassionate and persistent — habits of thought and action aren’t changed overnight. But they can be changed with intention and desire.
- Stay connected to your vision of inhabiting your body, your life and your relationships with full acceptance and joy. The world actually needs you to.
This guest article originally appeared on YourTango.com: 3 Simple (and Free) Ways to Fall in Love With Your Body.