Do You Give Your Body Sincere Compliments? Start Now.

Image via SoulKissesTV

I’ve enjoyed the book Inspired Style recommended by Pam of Over50Feeling40. One of the essays, by Oreet Mizrahi, encourages the reader to “Love Your Body, Love Your Life.” Two sterling ideas, I say.

Of course we want to love our bodies, but we have a lot of negative programming to work through. If you’re over 40, you’ve experienced years of negative self-talk and “perfect” media images. We’ve lived through decades of comparing ourselves to other women and “falling short”. (And women’s magazines always astound me with articles about how to lose ten pounds in ten days, juxtaposed with recipes for quick brownies.)

We learn very early to criticize ourselves and to focus on our so-called shortcomings. I hated my fine, curly hair until my 40’s! I thought my pale, pale skin was a flaw. I trash-talked my upper thighs. These thoughts never, ever made me feel any better, but they did make me part of The Club.

So I eagerly absorbed the essay by Ms. Mizrahi, an image consultant, and gleaned the following advice. If you want to love your body:

  • Change your focus. Close your eyes and imagine all the different parts of your body. Focus on a feature you really appreciate. (Long, slim neck). Keep focusing on it until you start to feel more positive. Choose, as a result of this exercise, to shift your focus and concentrate on the feature(s) you love.
  • Talk with gratitude to your body. Stand in front of a mirror and say aloud what you are grateful for. Thank your body for all it’s done and continues to do for you. Appreciate your body not as a collection of “flaws” in this moment, but as the marvelous vehicle that has carried you everywhere.

  • Use all your senses to love your body. Use color, fragrance, movement, music, massage to energize and please your body. Buy flowers, take a long bath, pet the cat, step away from the computer. Indulge in one perfect chocolate. Treat your physical self like it deserves good things.

There are many other ways we can re-program ourselves to like, even love, our bodies. We can start right now by just catching the negative word before it leaves our mouth, and replacing it with something kind, or at least neutral. “My upper thighs are so . . . interesting.”

Bonus: Here is a wonderful article about How to Make Love To Your Body Everyday!

Is this something you’ve struggled with? Are you doing better with this in recent years? Has blogging helped?

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patti

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  10. I've been skinny as a stick and flat as a washboard since I was little. And people seemed to think it's rude to make fun of the big girls, but it's fair game to ridicule skinny ones! I've learned to embraced my flat chest and curvy hips now, at least I have something at the back if none at the front, haha!

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  11. Patti, you had me at Do.  I was just telling my husband tonight how disappointed I am that I have let myself gain 10 plus pounds since I retired from my job/career in the medical field last Feb.  I have just recently begun to excercise more regularly but I don't give my body nearly the credit it deserves.  Thank you for this information, it is so helpful and useful.  I am going to begin thanking my ample bottom first.  Dawn Suitcase Vignettes xo

  12. Very important messages!  Life can change on a dime so I try to love the 'flaws' today.

  13. I've been dealing with some chronic off and on pain/discomfort for about the past year, including weight gain and shifts in body shape. So it's definitely been a challenge to look at myself everyday and dress my body. However I think the pictures help me remember that despite my pain, my body does not look like a mess of bruises and lumps.

    I dress in only the most comfortable to me fabrics, I'm even switching up to lace or fabric bralettes instead of foam+wire bras whenever I can. It's taking some mental changes to adjust to the difference this makes in my silhouette, but I read this really good blog post (http://thehairpin.com/2011/01/the-tyranny-of-the-t-shirt-bra-do-you-live-in-fear-of-your-own-nipples) that made me feel better about this very personal choice of change.

    The feedback and support from so many people everyday also helps a lot. Blogging is one of the most positive things I've ever done.

  14. Y'all have given me the COURAGE to:
    A) take my picture full body
    B) post it on the internet for all to see

    If I never lose another pound (and I'm changing my eating habits for health not weight loss) it doesn't MATTER anymore. This is who I am and if I can't hide it I'll DECORATE IT!!!
    I'm just the super-sized version of AWESOME!!!

  15. I think that the way you're dressing is what Sally of Already Pretty would describe as dressing according to your personal figure flattery priorities. Women dress dress to enhance or conceal large busts, short waists, long legs, any manner of things. I've certainly been happier since I figured out what works for me. I do not consider that women who do so have a negative body image.

  16. i used to hate taking pictures or looking at pics of myself.  but after blogging i'm getting comfortable with it.  i also know how to pose 🙂  but it's true, sometimes it's hard to love our bodies.  it's been tough for me after having kids because i've always been heavier since then.

    Claire

  17. I'm not sure where I fall on the body image-perspective continuum. I talk a good game about how we should all accept ourselves and everyone has beauty, but am I living it? I am perfectly happy with my body and don't wish for it to be any different. However, I cover my legs because they are covered with cellulite and varicose veins, and I cover my upper arms because the loose jiggly part is rather distracting. This makes me think that I must have some ingrained negative thoughts about those parts not being youthful, smooth, and toned.
    As usual you've given me much to think about!

  18. Of the three suggestions this author makes, the one I do most consistently is to lift up prayers thanking the Creator that my body works–my legs, my arms, my hands.  My mother has suffered through so many bone problems that I am intensely aware of this.

    I really like the third suggestion and need to practice it far more…

  19. Blogging has helped a lot. Taking near-daily photographs of myself, and then just flagrantly putting my totally imperfect self out there, knowing full well I'm going to get the occasional drive-by creep, has really made a difference in my self-perception. I don't know that I'm going to make it to totally loving how I look, but I'm getting much better at not hating it, and being able to see more that I like than I dislike.

    I'm finally totally OK with my height, though! Cross that one off the list. 🙂

  20. Aahh, there is so much to work on here, Patti, at least for most women I know. We are innundated with rules about how we are supposed to look, and it's really difficult to be immune to those messages.
    I do think blogging has helped me tremendously – it lends a different perspective, hearing from other people who don't know you, who don't have to say anything at all, but choose to compliment you. I have gone through my adult life with a set of "truths" about my body and appearance (big thighs, short legs, flabby arms, big nose, etc etc – the list goes on, so boring really…) that blogging is helping me to challenge.  It's been an eye-opener. And a confidence-boosting joy. Still working on it though! xx

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