In part one of this article, we focused on drowning out the naysayers and setting firm Boundaries. We also spoke about commitment, acceptance, ditching judgment, knowing your body, and being grateful for your body. We are back today with small ways you can begin a love affair with your body.
Today we are featuring five final ways to begin a love affair with your body.
Love and accept your current body while focusing on the body you want.
When we are unhappy with our bodies, it becomes the focus. I am sure you have heard the phrase “what you focus on multiplies.” And I believe that is true. So if you focus on all the ways you dislike your body, you will never love your body. And if you focus on the unhappiness, you feel when you look at your body. Then, you will bring more sadness for your body into your life. Beginning a love affair with your body takes a conscious commitmen; is it easy? No, but decide now that your body deserves to be loved and start working on it.
Start small, look for the little things you love about your body right now, and focus on them instead of letting your mind wander to what you want to change about your body. Instead, let it wander to what you currently love about your body. This will feel strange at first, but give it time and practice. Beginning a love affair with your body is a day-by-day, moment-by-moment thing. Take it one step at a time.
Challenge your body
Believe it, or not our bodies love trying new things—we do not realize that because we do not often try new things with our bodies. We have a preconceived judgment on what our bodies are or are not capable of doing.
You must be bold and challenge your body—it will amaze you and show you how well it can perform outside your comfort zone. In addition, it will cause you to see your body from a whole new standpoint on what it is capable of.
Reframe exercising make and make it about feeling good
I am not too fond of the gym, which is not exciting or fun, and I have never had any desire to go [although I have a few times]. But I love to move my body, and I love it even more, when I feel good after.
I have dabbled with Yoga, Pilates, Kickboxing, and a few other things over the years. And after my last surgery in 2016, I wanted to commit to moving my body again. So I turned to yoga, not to work out but as a spiritual practice—it helped to calm the distress and anxiety I felt every day. Finally, after a month of daily practice, I felt calmer. But I needed something fun that made me sweat and feel good afterward. So I discovered Soulcycle, and I fell in love.
I was horrible at first. I was offbeat in every class for the first month, and I could not do the movements on the bike, but Liz [our first instructor] was kind; she supported and encouraged me. Then I met Noa, this large tattooed man that was so gentle and encouraging. I got good, really good, and I love every moment. After that, I gained the confidence to try other instructors.
And we finally ended up in Junior’s class—his classes were challenging, and he made us work harder than ever, but at the end of the class, we knew we gave it our all, which felt darn good. I committed to Soulcycle for almost four years because it was fun and made me feel good. But more importantly, there was a community of 20 women who rode together three times a week [two days at 5:15 AM]. We rooted for each other and supported each other. Were our bodies perfect? No, but we felt freaking good about ourselves, and that mattered.
So find something fun that makes you feel good; if that is the gym, go for it. The point here is when you enjoy the exercise you are doing and feel fabulous afterward, you will do it more often. Forego intensity to feel good, and you will be more consistent and one step closer to loving your body.
Be affectionate with your body.
In part one I talked about how affectionately I treated my body, from how I cleansed it to how I clothed. When we are insecure about our bodies or hate them, we often overlook positive attributes.
I realized that I was dressing my body in a shabby way—with oversized clothing meant to cover up what I did not like. But instead, I was making myself feel worse. I no longer cleansed myself with the same attention and sensually I did before. Instead, I was rough and aggressive.
I knew I was struggling with negative body image, and then one day, early in May, I got dressed for my cousin’s wedding. Still not confident and in the middle of making yet another negative comment to myself as I got dressed, I looked in the mirror and saw my curves, which were freaking fabulous.
I stopped abruptly and stared at my beautiful curves. People pay for curves like this, I thought. I spent more than five minutes exploring my body as if it was a piece of art, and then I began to dress with intention, admiration, and attention. It was a beautiful experience. I bottled that moment.
I do not do that every time I get dressed, but I have since challenged myself to be intentional and attentive whenever I am dressing to go out. There is so much love for myself and my body whenever I have this experience, and it feels incredible. I think my body is getting the attention and love it deserves.
My goal is to be expressive with my style in this new body and to dress with intention and attention every time I get dressed.
I urge you to give your body attention, dress it with intention and be affectionate every time you get dressed. And if your budget affords it, go out and intentionally buy a few things for this body.
Dancing is magical when you are having body image issues. It is incredible and fun to dance by yourself without judgment. My body feels free and uninhibited. And I move in ways I had forgotten I could.
I make sure the music makes me want to move, and then I allow my body to move any way it wants. Then, I breathe; I sometimes cry and feel everything I am feeling.
I love reggae or soca for my solo dance sessions, but lately, I have been experimenting with belly dancing music. My friend Viv loves hip-hop music. Choose music that makes you want to move. It does not matter if you believe you can or can not dance. It is said that emotional pain gets trapped in our bodies. Dancing is a beautiful way to release and begin a beautiful love affair with our bodies.
Practice the Art of Beautiful words
Every word you speak is prayer, so make sure they are beautiful. For example, when you talk to yourself about your body, use kind words and lovingly say them.
Speaking ill of your body to yourself or others will only further distort how you view your body. I can tell you how fabulous your body is and that it is perfect just the way it is, but that will not make much difference until you believe it is. So ditch the self-criticism, judgment, and negative self-talk and focus on lovingly saying kind things to your body. For example, if you love your armpits, compliment them speak lovingly to them until you fall in love with another piece of your body, then repeat.
We sometimes believe complaining brings us results, but it tears us down even more. So complaining about your body will not make you happier, slimmer, sexier, or healthier, and it sure will not help you love your body. Only kindness will help.
I was passionate about beginning a love affair, and I am excited about maintaining that love affair. I am not where I want to be on this journey, but I am fully committed. Whenever I read a new article about body love, I write down suggested tips, and here are five.
Here are six additional ways to begin a love affair with your body across the Internet.
- Connect with social media accounts that show bodies that look like yours.
- Do one act of self-care every day.
- Audit your social media feeds of anything that makes you feel bad about your body.
- Take sensual selfies
- Contemplate body neutrality [ I have tried this and have embraced this concept instead of body positivity].