The relationship we have with ourselves, including our body, is the most important yet undervalued relationship we will have in our lives! It really is the foundation for all our other relationships in our life.
So, may I ask you…How is your relationship with your body? Is it holding you back from living your best life?
And if I was to ask you ‘How much does your body weight and shape influence how you feel about your body?’ What would your answer be?
Or, ‘How many minutes or hours a day do spend thinking about food, body image, your clothing or how to change your body?’ What would you say?
What else of life’s beautiful moments and experiences have you missed out on because of how you feel about your body?
When it comes to body image challenges, the struggle for many is real.
The feeling of low self-esteem and self-confidence, insecurity, feeling judged, not fitting comfortably into clothes, comparing ourselves to others, and the constant pressure to live up to society’s toxic and unattainable ‘beauty’ and ‘thin ideal’ standard can be crippling for some people.
Our individual relationship with our own body is personal, based on each of our unique life experiences. But one common factor for each complex body relationship is that each one started off as a ‘blank canvas’.
No one was born disliking their body or thinking there is something wrong with it, or that we need to change anything about ourselves. This is something we learn and somehow, over time, many people start to become self-critical. They feel their body is ‘not good enough’ and it can impact everything in their lives.
The truth is it doesn’t have to be this way. And if this may feel like you, please know that although it’s something you may have learnt, with the right support you can unlearn it too.
A great start is to understand that body image refers to the way you see your physical self – your body – and the thoughts and feelings that are associated with this perception. It’s not actually how you look, and the way you see yourself is not necessarily the way other people see you.
Another great reminder is that body diversity is essential to our existence, and all bodies regardless of gender, age, size, shape, colour, composition, or ability, are unique, incredible and beautiful. Yes, ALL bodies are GOOD bodies.
SO, WHAT IS BODY IMAGE WORK?
Body image work is about addressing the relationship that you have with your body.
It’s not about changing your body. It’s about changing your mind, your thinking and your actions.
The work involves understanding your own body image story, identifying your beliefs about your body, unpacking them and then reframing your relationship with it to be one that is more positive.
The goals of body image work are – firstly, get to a place of acceptance, then to neutrality, then to respect. To shift your perception from one of critical self to one of compassionate self.
Body image work doesn’t resolve overnight, it is not linear, there is no ‘cookie cutter’ style solution. It is a complex ‘journey’ – because we are all unique and our stories are shaped by multiple factors including different life experiences and belief systems.
Ask yourself how do you WANT your relationship with your body to be? If it’s not where you want it, then perhaps it is time for a journey to transform the way you see yourself and create space to re-learn to feel comfortable and confident in your own skin.
Let’s build a movement where we all embrace being diverse humans with diverse bodies – with all our diverse natural human body features! It’s time to take back our bodies and accept and appreciate our bodies for what they are – a precious formation that give us life.
It’s time to stop looking AT your body and start living IN your body.