You should touch yourself

You’ve got this body.

You’re supposed to love it, or respect it, or at least accept it. You’re supposed to be positive and feel confident at any size. You’re supposed to not care about your weight or belly rolls and know that you are worthwhile no matter your size.

Only…

You don’t.

You desperately want to be one of those women who just lives her life and feels great and doesn’t give a damn about what the haters think.

But you’re not.

Try as you might, you just can’t get past the fact that your body doesn’t look the way you want it to or fit in the clothes you’d like to wear or match the pictures in the magazines.

Knowing you should love yourself no matter what you look like, and actually doing it, are two different things.

HOW, then...HOW are you supposed to feel better about yourself?

Here are three ideas that really helped me shift my thinking about myself and feel infinitely more peaceful and confident about my body:

  1. Focus on the way your body feels rather than the way it looks. Notice what kinds of exercise feels best. Notice what foods work well for you. Notice how you might stretch or move or relax in order to feel your best in your body. Figure out how to feel your best RIGHT NOW.

  2. Surround yourself with images of people in different sized bodies. Stop fantasizing about being thin and admire all the beautiful shapes you can find. Start to idolize beautiful, confident women regardless of their shape and size.

  3. Fix your relationship with your own body. It’s not just a sack of disappointment that you have to drag around all day. Your body is the mechanism that allows you to experience the world. Treat it well. Start to respect it. Get to know it. Explore it. Massage it.

The most effective, tangible way I learned to appreciate and love my body (yes, LOVE it!) is through self-massage. This is an ayurvedic technique that is supposed to be helpful with relaxation and releasing old emotional trauma. The concept is that you actually store past experiences and emotions in your tissues, and massage can help release them. When I heard that, it really resonated with me. So I started massaging myself before bed and developed a whole new relationship with my body.

I have a rose-scented oil that I absolutely love.  Before I go to bed, I strip down to my underwear and sit on the edge of the bed. I always make sure the lighting in the room is relaxing and everything is nice and quiet. Music would be a nice touch, also.

I don’t have a special technique or pattern--I just pick some parts of my body that feels like it could use some attention, and massage it for a few minutes with the oil.

What happens is that you start paying attention to all your parts--even the parts you don’t love, that you avoid touching or looking at...that make you cringe. The parts that you instinctively suck in or cover up or try to minimize become the focus of your loving attention, and you can’t help but start to respect them.

I started to feel incredibly sorry for my body. I felt guilty and sad for all the times I’ve criticized it or tried to change it or  hid it out of shame. I thought about all the ways my body has served me--all the miles it has run, the children it has carried, the love it helped create.

Then I started to love it. I started to feel like it is mine. It is my unique space to inhabit and experience the world. It is part of my identity. It IS me.

We get so disconnected from our bodies when we hate them and want to change them. They start to feel like burdens, shackles. But they’re all we’ve got. They’re just trying to do what we want. They can’t help the way they look. Your body is on your side. Your body is YOU.

And you’re fine. You’re unique. You’re incredible. And your body is your partner on this journey. Wishing it was different just takes time and energy away from living your amazing life. It is a different experience to move about the world as a confident woman, unapologetically.

You’ll be amazed when you first experience the liberation of presenting yourself to the world as a whole, perfect person and expecting and receiving every ounce of respect you deserve. Not making excuses for how much you eat, or promising whoever will listen that you’re starting a new diet, or apologizing for the space you take up in the world.

When you feel confident and amazing, that is how people treat you. When you feel ashamed and insecure, people respond to that as well. If you find that people are always commenting on your body or criticizing you, examine your expectations for yourself. When your energy shifts, your experience in the world will change. I promise.

So go get some good massage oil and do something for yourself. It may just change your life.


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Teddey HicksComment