Love Your Body. 4 Steps to a Positive Body Image

Beauty is more than body measurements, thigh gaps and cheekbones. It always has been. I, for one, never agreed to any rules that suggested it was otherwise. But I have at times found myself caught up in the propaganda.

How would your life be different if knew that you were beautiful? Not just knew it, but felt it so deeply and so fully that you didn’t even know it was a matter of choice. What if it was built into your bones and as much a part of you as your DNA?

Time to make it happen because we deserve nothing less …

  1. Fake it ‘til you make it.

    Act as though you love who you are – bumps, curves and all. How would you stand? How would you move? Assume the confidence. Even if you don’t believe it at first, act as though it’s true. Eventually your mind will catch up and believe in it for real. Honestly. Some of the most remarkably beautiful women have curves and cellulite (think Marilyn Monroe, Adele). What they have in common is confidence (which is astoundingly different to arrogant or conceited) and there is nothing more beautiful than that. Try it. There’s absolutely nothing to lose.

     

  2. Stop avoiding and start enjoying your body.

    Avoidance breeds avoidance. Your body is the only one you have and deserves your nurturance, pampering and protection. Get to know your body and embrace all of it. Spend some time naked. Lay around listening to music. Look at your naked body. Touch it, pamper it, be kind to it. Own your bumps, curves and dints with grace and affection – and don’t let anybody, especially you – sell you the idea that your less than for having them there. 

     

  1. Self compassion.

    Be kind to yourself in the face of disappointment. Treat yourself the way you would treat a best friend. You deserve the same kindness and respect. Research has shown that the more self-compassion you have in response to disappointments in your life, the more likely it is that you’ll have a positive body image. The compassion will spill into the way you treat your body. 

     

  1. Ditch the witch.

    Lose the critic in your head who smack talks your body. Accept your body – all of it. Look at what you can do because it works damn hard for you, not the least of which is in keeping you alive. You wouldn’t keep somebody around if they were rambling on about the way you look all the time. They’d be miserable company and you would know you deserve better. You can’t get away from yourself, so best make it a happy union.

Loving the skin you’re in isn’t easy if you’ve spent a lot of time being down on it. Embrace your body because of your curves, not despite them. You have always been enough. We don’t have to agree with the messages of a paper thin photo shopped world that would have us believe that bodies should be catwalk skinny. It’s a manipulation and it’s time to decide it’s a lie. We are fine – no, so much more than fine – phenomenal, capable, beautiful – exactly the way we are.

For ways to nurture a positive body image in kids and teens, see here.

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‘Brave’ doesn’t always feel like certain, or strong, or ready. In fact, it rarely does. That what makes it brave.♥️
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#parenting #mindfulparenting #parentingtips
We teach our kids to respect adults and other children, and they should – respect is an important part of growing up to be a pretty great human. There’s something else though that’s even more important – teaching them to respect themselves first. 

We can’t stop difficult people coming into their lives. They might be teachers, coaches, peers, and eventually, colleagues, or perhaps people connected to the people who love them. What we can do though is give our kids independence of mind and permission to recognise that person and their behaviour as unacceptable to them. We can teach our kids that being kind and respectful doesn’t necessarily mean accepting someone’s behaviour, beliefs or influence. 

The kindness and respect we teach our children to show to others should never be used against them by those broken others who might do harm. We have to recognise as adults that the words and attitudes directed to our children can be just as damaging as anything physical. 

If the behaviour is from an adult, it’s up to us to guard our child’s safe space in the world even harder. That might be by withdrawing support for the adult, using our own voice with the adult to elevate our child’s, asking our child what they need and how we can help, helping them find their voice, withdrawing them from the environment. 

Of course there will be times our children do or say things that aren’t okay, but this never makes it okay for any adult in your child’s life to treat them in a way that leads them to feeling ‘less than’.

Sometimes the difficult person will be a peer. There is no ‘one certain way’ to deal with this. Sometimes it will involve mediation, role playing responses, clarifying the other child’s behaviour, asking for support from other adults in the environment, or letting go of the friendship.

Learning that it’s okay to let go of relationships is such an important part of full living. Too often we hold on to people who don’t deserve us. Not everyone who comes into our lives is meant to stay and if we can help our children start to think about this when they’re young, they’ll be so much more empowered and deliberate in their relationships when they’re older.♥️
When we are angry, there will always be another emotion underneath it. It is this way for all of us. 

Anger itself is a valid emotion so it’s important not to dismiss it. Emotion is e-motion - energy in motion. It has to find a way out, which is why telling an angry child to calm down or to keep their bodies still will only make things worse for them. They might comply, but their bodies will still be in a state of distress. 

Often, beneath an angry child is an anxious one needing our help. It’s the ‘fight’ part of the fight or flight response. As with all emotions, anger has a job to do - to help us to safety through movement, or to recruit support, or to give us the physical resources to meet a need or to change something that needs changing. It doesn’t mean it does the job well, because an angry brain means the feeling brain has the baton, while the thinking brain sits out for a while. What it means is that there is a valid need there and this young person is doing their very best to meet it, given their available resources in the moment or their developmental stage. 

Children need the same thing we all need when we’re feeling fierce - to be seen,  heard, and supported; to find a way to get the energy out, either with words or movement. Not to be shut down or ‘fixed’. 

Our job isn’t to stop their anger, but to help them find ways to feel it and express it in ways that don’t do damage. This will take lots of experience, and lots of time - and that’s okay.♥️
The SCCR Online Conference 2021 is a wonderful initiative by @sccrcentre (Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution) which will explore ’The Power of Reconnection’. I’ve been working with SCCR for many years. They do incredible work to build relationships between young people and the important adults around them, and I’m excited to be working with them again as part of this conference.

More than ever, relationships matter. They heal, provide a buffer against stress, and make the world feel a little softer and safer for our young people. Building meaningful connections can take time, and even the strongest relationships can feel the effects of disconnection from time to time. As part of this free webinar, I’ll be talking about the power of attachment relationships, and ways to build relationships with the children and teens in your life that protect, strengthen, and heal. 

The workshop will be on Monday 11 October at 7pm Brisbane, Australia time (10am Scotland time). The link to register is in my story.
There are many things that can send a nervous system into distress. These can include physiological (tired, hungry, unwell), sensory overload/ underload, real or perceived threat (anxiety), stressed resources (having to share, pay attention, learn new things, putting a lid on what they really think or want - the things that can send any of us to the end of ourselves).

Most of the time it’s developmental - the grown up brain is being built and still has a way to go. Like all beautiful, strong, important things, brains take time to build. The part of the brain that has a heavy hand in regulation launches into its big developmental window when kids are about 6 years old. It won’t be fully done developing until mid-late 20s. This is a great thing - it means we have a wide window of influence, and there is no hurry.

Like any building work, on the way to completion things will get messy sometimes - and that’s okay. It’s not a reflection of your young one and it’s not a reflection of your parenting. It’s a reflection of a brain in the midst of a build. It’s wondrous and fascinating and frustrating and maddening - it’s all the things.

The messy times are part of their development, not glitches in it. They are how it’s meant to be. They are important opportunities for us to influence their growth. It’s just how it happens. We have to be careful not to judge our children or ourselves because of these messy times, or let the judgement of others fill the space where love, curiosity, and gentle guidance should be. For sure, some days this will be easy, and some days it will feel harder - like splitting an atom with an axe kind of hard.

Their growth will always be best nurtured in the calm, loving space beside us. It won’t happen through punishment, ever. Consequences have a place if they make sense and are delivered in a way that doesn’t shame or separate them from us, either physically or emotionally. The best ‘consequence’ is the conversation with you in a space that is held by your warm loving strong presence, in a way that makes it safe for both of you to be curious, explore options, and understand what happened.♥️
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#mindfulparenting #positiveparenting #parenting

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