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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I’m so excited for this! I’m coming back to Perth in February for another parent talk on 'Strengthening Children and Teens Against Anxiety'. Here’s the when and the where:

⏰ 6:30-8:30pm | 📆 Wed 22 Feb 2023
📍 Peter Moyes Anglican Community School, #mindarie

For tickets or more info google:

Parenting Connection WA Karen Young anxiety Mindarie Perth

💜 Thanks to @ngalaraisinghappiness for hosting this event.

#supportingwaparents #parentingwa
Let them know …

Anxiety shows up to check that you’re okay, not to tell you that you’re not. It’s your brain’s way of saying, ‘Not sure - there might be some trouble here, but there might not be, but just in case you should be ready for it if it comes, which it might not – but just in case you’d better be ready to run or fight – but it might be totally fine.’ Brains can be so confusing sometimes! 

You have a brain that is strong, healthy and hardworking. It’s magnificent and it’s doing a brilliant job of doing exactly what brains are meant to do – keep you alive. 

Your brain is fabulous, but it needs you to be the boss. Here’s how. When you feel anxious, ask yourself two questions:

- ‘Do I feel like this because I’m in danger or because there’s something brave or important I need to do?’

- Then, ‘Is this a time for me to be safe (sometimes it might be) or is this a time for me to be brave?

And remember, you will always have ‘brave’ in you, and anxiety doesn’t change that a bit.♥️

#positiveparenting #mindfulparenting #parenting #childanxiety #heywarrior #heywarriorbook
The temptation to fix their big feelings can be seismic. Often this is connected to needing to ease our own discomfort at their discomfort, which is so very normal.

Big feelings in them are meant to raise (sometimes big) feelings in us. This is all a healthy part of the attachment system. It happens to mobilise us to respond to their distress, or to protect them if their distress is in response to danger.

Emotion is energy in motion. We don’t want to bury it, stop it, smother it, and we don’t need to fix it. What we need to do is make a safe passage for it to move through them. 

Think of emotion like a river. Our job is to hold the ground strong and steady at the banks so the river can move safely, without bursting the banks.

However hard that river is racing, they need to know we can be with the river (the emotion), be with them, and handle it. This might feel or look like you aren’t doing anything, but actually it’s everything.

The safety that comes from you being the strong, steady presence that can lovingly contain their big feelings will let the emotional energy move through them and bring the brain back to calm.

Eventually, when they have lots of experience of us doing this with them, they will learn to do it for themselves, but that will take time and experience. The experience happens every time you hold them steady through their feelings. 

This doesn’t mean ignoring big behaviour. For them, this can feel too much like bursting through the banks, which won’t feel safe. Sometimes you might need to recall the boundary and let them know where the edges are, while at the same time letting them see that you can handle the big of the feeling. Its about loving and leading all at once. ‘It’s okay to be angry. It’s not okay to use those words at me.’

Ultimately, big feelings are a call for support. Sometimes support looks like breathing and being with. Sometimes it looks like showing them you can hold the boundary, even when they feel like they’re about to burst through it. And if they’re using spicy words to get us to back off, it might look like respecting their need for space but staying in reaching distance, ‘Ok, I’m right here whenever you need.’♥️
We all need certain things to feel safe enough to put ourselves into the world. Kids with anxiety have magic in them, every one of them, but until they have a felt sense of safety, it will often stay hidden.

‘Safety’ isn’t about what is actually safe or not, but about what they feel. At school, they might have the safest, most loving teacher in the safest, most loving school. This doesn’t mean they will feel enough relational safety straight away that will make it easier for them to do hard things. They can still do those hard things, but those things are going to feel bigger for a while. This is where they’ll need us and their other anchor adult to be patient, gentle, and persistent.

Children aren’t meant to feel safe with and take the lead from every adult. It’s not the adult’s role that makes the difference, but their relationship with the child.

Children are no different to us. Just because an adult tells them they’ll be okay, it doesn’t mean they’ll feel it or believe it. What they need is to be given time to actually experience the person as being safe, supportive and ready to catch them.

Relationship is key. The need for safety through relationship isn’t an ‘anxiety thing’. It’s a ‘human thing’. When we feel closer to the people around us, we can rise above the mountains in our way. When we feel someone really caring about us, we’re more likely to open up to their influence
and learn from them.

But we have to be patient. Even for teachers with big hearts and who undertand the importance of attachment relationships, it can take time.

Any adult at school can play an important part in helping a child feel safe – as long as that adult is loving, warm, and willing to do the work to connect with that child. It might be the librarian, the counsellor, the office person, a teacher aide. It doesn’t matter who, as long as it is someone who can be available for that child at dropoff or when feelings get big during the day and do little check-ins along the way.

A teacher, or any important adult can make a lasting difference by asking, ‘How do I build my relationship with this child so s/he trusts me when I say, ‘I’ve got you, and I know you can do this.’♥️

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