Updated: Aug 17, 2021
The first thought that goes through your mind is what you've been conditioned to think. What you think next defines who you are.
My first thought when I saw this picture was there’s no way I am posting this picture because I look rather large. This was my first initial thought BUT my second thought was you were so happy that day and felt radiant and full of light & love. The latter thought is far more important to me than my outward appearance. If I’m glowing and happy to me that’s true BEAUTY.
Just because I’ve done a lot of work around changing my mindset on how I see myself that doesn’t mean there aren’t moments where negative thoughts crop back up. It’s not that once you do the workaround body respect and acceptance that these thoughts stop altogether...but they do decrease in their frequency and the amount of energy and time you give to them.
It’s truly all about how much energy we lend to the negative/judgment/self-deprecating thoughts, whether or not we CHOOSE to believe those thoughts, and what we choose to do next.
One of the most helpful tips that I still use to this day is coming from a place of curiosity and compassion when these thoughts arise.
In the past, I would spend an incredible amount of time berating myself and basically giving in to the negative thoughts. I truly thought that criticizing myself would motivate me to be more restrictive with my diet and alter my body in order to meet some unrealistic expectations I held about how my body should look. I’d allow these thoughts to consume me and dictate how I behaved and what my mood was for the rest of the day.
I despised feeling this way. I despised my body and how I felt in it. I craved peace and comfort, but I didn’t know how to find it.
No one has ever learned to love their body through hate. There is no way to become satisfied with our body through negative, critical, and judgmental self-talk and motivation. One of the first things I taught myself and now have the pleasure of teaching other women is that in order to heal we must be willing to let go of our inner critic. I know how scary this can feel and that you may be thinking that without your inner critic you’ll become complacent and unmotivated. The truth is using your inner critic (self-hatred) as a motivator only works temporarily and for a very short period of time before you begin feeling hopeless and eventually giving up.
The first step is to begin silencing and eventually getting rid of the inner critic. We must change the inner voice from critical to neutral, neutral to accepting and accepting to loving.
To start it’s really important to choose neutral statements that are true to you. For example, it’s unrealistic to expect that you would go from saying; ‘I hate my body’ to ‘I love my body’. Most likely that isn’t going to feel true for you which makes the statement easier to disregard and stay stuck in old thinking patterns. Instead, choose a true neutral statement and build from there. For example, if your negative thought is ‘I hate my body’, a neutral statement to replace it would be ‘My body is functional’ or ‘I have a body’. There is zero emotion attached to these statements which helps to remove the intensity of the feelings that arise with negative thoughts.
I encourage you to start here. Start by making two columns on a piece of paper. In the first column, write down 3-5 things your inner critic is constantly saying. In the second column, next to each negative statement create a true and neutral statement to say instead. Next, anytime you have those negative thoughts, and that inner critic voice is getting loud you have new/neutral statements to say instead/directly after. This doesn’t change overnight and is something that you must practice and the more frequently you do it the easier it becomes and eventually, those neutral statements become your way of thinking about your body.
Please remember that being kind to yourself doesn’t mean letting go of your goals or wanting to change. It’s realizing that you are human, and you are not perfect and that’s ok!