I love my body. I really do.
Admittedly I have less body image issues than most people I know because I have had to make peace with my body early on in life.
At age 11 I became a target of bullying because of my bad acne, geeky glasses, permed curls, and baby fat. When I continually questioned the cruelty I experienced, I realized that we have to be more than what we appear.
Since I now look so much better than I did when I was a teenager, I have little to complain about, and I appreciate all that my body does to support me. Yet truth be told, even if we already think we love our bodies, surely, we can continue to deepen this relationship with ourselves.
Here I’ll share with you seven suggestions of my own on how to improve your relationship with your body.
1. Exercise a bit daily.
Exercise lifted me from depression more than once. I make it a point to exercise a little bit every day—even if it means putting on some music and doing a quick dance in the shower. Movement reacquaints us with our bodies. When I use my body more, I live in me better. I believe when you invest time and energy into your body, you cannot help but love yourself more.
2. Break goals down.
By breaking down seemingly unattainable goals and feeling that I am reaching for the impossible, I make sure I avoid overwhelm, pace myself and not bite off anything bigger than I can chew at a time. Rather than try to lose weight, I focus on gaining health. Instead of believing it was difficult to have a deep loving relationship with my body, I choose to love the container of my soul—a little bit more each day.
If you had a best friend who was complaining about their body, would you stop them at their tracks? Treat yourself as you would your best friend. I have caught myself joining in on conversations where friends were whining about this or that part of their body—it’s just so easy to join in sometimes! But it only results in vicious thoughts that may lead to a downward spiral. Instead I avoid this ‘herd mentality’ and just smile.
Our nervous system is more often than not already taxed. Deep breathing can help re-oxygenate the cells of our body, regulate our heart rate, blood pressure and re-align our hormones. I started by breathing deeper every time I caught myself feeling stressed, and now conscious breathing has become habitual. You may wish to place your palm on your stomach as a reminder to breathe deeper by expanding it until the proper way of breathing becomes second nature.
Us Chinese cook, boil or double boil all our food. I did not learn to love eating salads until recently. For a while, I had to force myself to eat salads because they are so good for me, but now I love them! If we are what we eat, how many times are you spending on deciding where and what you eat? When your body receives the nutrients it requires, then it is happy.
What food makes your body happy? Is it already something you eat regularly?
What you wear is going to be next to your skin—your biggest sex organ. Wear clean clothes and the sexiest underwear you can afford—because you deserve to feel your best in every way. Buy only clothes that make you look and feel great. If you don’t feel great in it, you’re not going to wear it often anyway. The more luxurious and sensuous you feel in them, the better. The better you feel, the better you show up in the world.
I tell myself this three times a day, “I love you, Martha.” I used to feel awkward about it, but kept at it until it became more natural. I still do this because each time I do, I feel a surge of energy run through my body. More power to you if you look at yourself straight into your own eyes in front of a mirror.
Our body changes as we go through different life stages. Therefore, our relationship is not a constant, but rather a dynamic and evolving one. Loving your body at where you are at will only make it easier to be aware of, adapt, accept and embrace whatever life brings.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Dr. Martha Tara Lee
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: thomasrousing at Flickr