The Secret to Finding Peace with your Body
There is nothing more annoying than being around someone judgmental and whiny.
You know the type. They are constantly finding fault with the world. The waiter is too slow. Their husband is too touchy. Her pants are too tight, and so on.
What we do not realize is that we are often that person towards ourselves.
I was a prime example of this negative complaining, and it was all focused around my body image. This inward look was consuming my life.
I have learned from experience that there is nothing more awful than living with your own worst enemy.
What about you? Are you beating yourself up right now?
What kind of relationship do you want to have with yourself?
Your relationship with yourself is the most important. Do you want to live with someone who is beating you up, criticizing you, or bringing you down in your life? Or, do you want to live with someone who is your friend, who is generous, who is caring, and who is ultimately supporting you?
What a waste of time I spent on shaming myself in the name of self-improvement.
Do not get me wrong; growing, searching, and wanting to be a ‘better person’ is admirable, but not at the expense of loving yourself.
Fortunately, I realized that through self-love I could heal myself.
I was taught the powerful lesson of stopping judgmental self-talk. I had no idea how unkind and downright rude I was to myself. I was constantly, picking at myself and finding fault. We can always look in the mirror and find something we do not like about ourselves.
The challenge is to see these ‘negative’ aspects and love ourselves anyways, or at the very least find neutrality with the situation.
For example, I used to hate my arms. I was bloody mean to my arms. I would ferociously lift weights. Looking at my arms made me cry and vehemently covet women with thin svelte strong arms. My arms and shoulders were “like those of a football player,” I would say. Then it hit me that my over-the-top negativity was not only was cruel, it actually didn’t even work.
Find out what works by having a coaching session with me or taking my course.
Life responds to love.
Why would my arms listen to me if I wasn’t loving them? Instead I was talking negatively about them and even beating them up.
I decided to create a new relationship with my arms.
To my amazement, I felt a shift. When I went to the gym to work out, I would work them out from a place of love. I would talk to them, saying “Oh, my gosh! You’re so strong. Thank you for how strong you are!” I even told my arms how sorry I was for being so mean to them. I stopped comparing my arms to everyone else. I simply put all my attention into loving myself. Sooner or later, the size of my arms had nothing to do with my serenity.
The Power of Positive Body Talk
The National Eating Disorder Association reports that negative body talk is a critical risk factor for the development of eating disorders, and those who have already had an eating disorder.
In many cases, negative body talk is the primary cause of relapse.
Research shows that body dissatisfaction leads to eating less fruits and vegetables and having decreased activity. Also, talking or thinking negatively about yourself for three to five minutes will significantly increase body dissatisfaction, causing misery, and possibly leading to an eating disorder. Fortunately, the opposite can be true as well.
Positive body talk can work wonders for our health, and our lives. When we like ourselves, we take better care of ourselves. Energy goes where attention flows. Changing your thoughts, beliefs is something that takes effort, focus, and conscious care. It is also critical to know that this change will not happen overnight. You will have to slowly move into more positivity, but the destination is worth the journey.
Here are 3 steps for reversing a negative self-talk pattern and swapping it out for a positive one.
Step 1: Become aware of your thoughts
The first step to stopping negative self-talk is being aware of your thoughts.
Negative thoughts can become auto-pilot.
You may not even realize the magnitude of crap you are spewing on yourself daily.
When you slow down to witness these thoughts running wild, I am certain you will be ready for a positive change. Self-criticism is not only occurring because of what you are seeing in the mirror. It’s happening, because you’ve created a pattern that every time you look in the mirror, you’re saying something negative about yourself.
These mindless thoughts have programmed in your brain by you-know-who…you!
Some of these thoughts are your beliefs you inherited from family members or a childhood nemesis that casually mentioned how ugly you look in dresses. Fortunately, you can decide whether to believe these comments or not.
You do not have to let the critical talk rule you anymore.
You are a grown adult.
You can vote.
Therefore, you get to choose how to speak to yourself. By slowing down and investigating where these thoughts come from reclaim our power.
You are no longer a victim to a belief.
You have the power to choose.
Step 2: Don’t Say It
The next step to nip negative body talk in the bud is not allowing any negative thoughts to come out of your mouth.
ZIP it! Yep, ZIP THE LIP! You have heard the saying,
“If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.”
Many of us can adhere to this principle for others, but when it comes to self critical trash talk, you may think you are allowed to be mean to yourself. Well, you are not, and I am telling you to stop picking on yourself.
When you speak negatively about yourself, you are perpetuating the epidemic of negative body image. Your self-talk keeps the negativity going.
You cannot control what your friends say, but you can control your own words.
Sure, it may be uncomfortable when your girlfriends are all talking negatively about themselves, and you are not.
Do not worry, you can handle the discomfort.
Put on your big girl panties and take responsibility for your attitude by…
- Staying quiet
- Changing the subject
- Injecting a positive idea or affirmation.
I am not saying that having conversations about your body is off limits. However, I challenge you to take those conversations to a deeper level.
Stop the complaining and become present with the real pain behind the mask.
Have a conversation with someone that can hold space for you around the feelings that you are having about your body.
These conversations are best had with a coach, therapist, or a good friend.
Step 3: Change the Game
In an effort to stop comparing yourself to other women, play another game.
Start appreciating everyone’s body.
Walk around the grocery store or park seeing beauty in all shapes and sizes, ages, heights, weights, thin, fat. ALL OF IT.
Set out to find beauty in all women around you.
When I played this game, I was dumbfounded at my own judgments of other women.
I would silently ridicule the woman wearing a half shirt with her belly roll hanging out.
Full of guilt from my criticism of other women, I vowed to honor all bodies.
Not only was I always comparing myself to other women, I noticed how I was only seeing one version of beauty.
Society has told us what beauty is supposed to look like, but those are simply lies fabricated to sell products.
Through this realization, I looked around in awe of the beauty that surrounded me in every form.
Now through appreciating, I get to send waves of love and acceptance to all of those around me.
In the process I feel better about myself, and those around me also share in the positive vibes.
By celebrating women, you can take your power back.
By doing this, your acceptance of yourself can shift.
You will begin to retrain your brain.
You will see beauty everywhere.
Over time, something will change: You will look in the mirror and see your own beauty smiling back at you.
Share in the Self-Love Journey
Try applying these steps for a week, and notice what happens.
Let me know what changes you see. Seriously, email me [email protected]
I want to hear about your experience with some of the same exercises that have helped me greatly!
As creator of Love Your Body Love Yourself, Marla Mervis-Hartmann assists women in finding a “YES!” to that question.
After years of struggling with her own dysfunctional body-relationship Marla has transformed her experiences into services to help women discover honor and find appreciation for their bodies.
As a professional Marla, has been featured at TEDx Salinas. She was the leading body image expert and Reiki Master at Journey Malibu, a Drug/Alcohol rehabilitation center.
Marla has followed her passion for women’s health down many paths of study including women’s sexual wellness; postpartum care; Restore Your Core educator; Tantra teacher certification; Yoga teacher training, and massage therapy.
This collected body of knowledge shines through in her offerings of Love Your Body Love Yourself. In all of her work, Marla is devoted to empowering women to feel good about themselves and to live the life they desire.
She lives in Maui with her husband and son where she works full-time as a professional coach, speaker, facilitator and Living Light Reiki Master and Teacher.