Try this out.
- Write a list of words that describe your body, both good and bad. Include anything and everything that comes to your mind, and keep going for at least 25 adjectives. Are you “strong,” “short,” “disproportionate,” “sexy,” “huge,” “clumsy,” “stocky,” or “delicate”?
- Next to each word, put a + if you feel that it’s a positive attribute, and a – if you feel that it’s a negative attribute.
- Now, examine your negatives. Next to each negative,write the reason you feel this adjective applies to your body. Be honest, and take your time doing this. (You can feel free to do this for the positives, too, but this is mainly meant to reverse ingrained negative body thinking.)
When forced to articulate your reasoning, you’ll see how much you’re unconsciously exaggerating negative perceptions of yourself. For example, let’s say you wrote “wrinkly.” What’s your reasoning? Are you seriously and deeply creased all over your body? Do passersby yell, “Raisin!” at you, and then scamper off, laughing? Say you wrote, “out of shape.” Are you comparing your current body to a body you once had? Or the body of someone else? Are you so out of shape that you can’t climb a flight of stairs, or lift a bag of groceries, or walk your dog?
I realize I’m being a bit extreme … but, um … so are you, in all likelihood. When we start body-bashing, we get caught up in a torrent of emotions without even ATTEMPTING to apply any logic. Sometimes simple reasoning, some thoughtful writing, and a healthy dose of eye-opening honesty can begin to erode years of willful misunderstanding and denial. Yeah, you’ve probably got a few wrinkles. You might not be built like Halle Berry. That makes you YOU, not inadequate, ugly, weird, or bad.
Next time you catch yourself ragging on your own beautiful bod, think hard about your reasoning. Can you talk yourself out of it? Outfox your instincts, and see uniqueness and value instead of sub-celeb physicality? It’s no silver bullet, but it’s a start.
Image courtesy leah.