This transition to showing more skin can evoke anxiety in even the most confident of women. Studies show that 80-90 percent of women, and a growing number of men, dislike their bodies. As long as our bodies are cloaked in layers, we can often ignore any nagging feelings of insecurity. But once bathing suit season is in full-swing we are forced to face our near-naked bodies.
For many, the physical body is a source of shame, embarrassment, and discomfort. In this culture, if women aren’t a size 2, and if men don’t have six-pack abs, they often consider themselves to be lacking in the category of physical attractiveness. In a culture where physical beauty reigns supreme, body dissatisfaction is rampant, contributing to everything from acute eating disorders to mild depression and anxiety. The diet and plastic surgery industries feed off these feelings of inadequacy, netting billions of dollars annually as people seek to shape, tone, nip, tuck, slice, and dice their physical bodies into perceived perfection.
The fact is you can begin loving your body today, whatever its size and shape. It is from this place of self-love and self-acceptance that you can begin to make healthy changes that will support your body, mind, and spirit.
If you are like most people, you dislike the body you live in. You might dislike it a little or dislike it a lot, and at the very least there are substantial areas that you wish were different. You may live constantly in the too-old, too-fat, too-flabby, too-flat-chested, too-short, too-tall, too-whatever-else, believing that the body you are born with and the body you have developed is just not that great.
As long as you live with this mentality, the ability to make healthy choices often eludes you. You live in a silent war with yourself: either making healthy choices and not getting the results you want, or making unhealthy choices and berating yourself for your poor decisions. Whichever camp you fall into on any given day, your relationship with your body is characterized by frustration and angst instead of peace and love. The refusal to accept the present moment and condition you find yourself in makes it impossible to create the future you want.
What many people don′t know is that the path to healthy, beautiful bodies begins with love. It is only when you accept the body you have that you can create the body you want, a body that is strong and healthy, a body that will serve you well throughout your life. The prevailing myth in this culture is that when you have the beautiful body, then you can be happy and satisfied. Instead, the opposite is true: when you accept and enjoy your body, then you can begin to make healthy choices and create the body that will serve you well.
This doesn′t mean that you can or should create the waif-like body that is plastered on magazine covers; rather it means you can create the healthy body that is right for you given your genetics, lifestyle, activity-level, and dietary preferences. It means that you can develop a loving, nurturing relationship with your own body that will allow you to become the glorious and beautiful person you are meant to be. The fact is you are intrinsically beautiful and your body a living miracle. Sadly, your judgments prevent you from experiencing this.
Here is a five-step process to help you begin loving the body you have today:
Step 1: Be willing to change
This is an essential ingredient to discovering your beauty: be willing to learn to love your body. You might not know how, but you must be willing to explore the terrain.
Step 2: Identify and detach from your negative thoughts
Our negative thoughts keep us trapped in suffering. We tell ourselves we are not thin enough, tall enough, young enough, fit enough. Learn to identify these thoughts; notice when you speak to yourself in negative ways. Once you begin to notice these negative thoughts, you can begin to detach from them and create more constructive thoughts that will heal your body and your mind.
Step 3: Connect with your inner silence
Learn that you are not your thoughts. When you learn to connect with your inner silence you discover that you are not your thoughts, rather you are the thinker of your thoughts. When you connect to this inner silence you will begin to experience the joy, love, abundance, and beauty that you deserve.
Step 4: Befriend your body
Your body is a living miracle. It lives always and only to support you in your life’s quest. Your body has an innate intelligence that allows your heart to beat, your skin to rejuvenate, and your hair to grow without any thought on your part. Cultivating gratitude toward your body is an essential component of healing.
Step 5: Live your purpose
We are all here for purpose and on purpose. Negative thoughts about not being good enough often keep us stuck in negativity, dwelling on inadequacy. This drains our energy and prevents us from living our purpose and destiny. Learn to love your body and befriend it as your greatest ally in your exploration of your life. Refuse to settle for mediocrity – learn to love your body and live your dreams! From the place of love and acceptance true healing can and will occur.