I don’t know about you, but I haven’t always had the best of luck with those so-called “body-positive affirmations.”
They never seemed to do much for me, especially back in the days when I felt anything but positive about my body. Can you relate?
Like you may already know I battled binge and emotional eating for well over a decade. A lot of those 10+ years were spent battling the post-binge emotional wreckage.
I woke up regularly in a binge hangover. I was in a massive brain fog. I felt exhausted, bloated, and gross.
My hands were swollen, my eyes were puffy, and I felt as bad as I looked. (Maybe even worse…) It makes me want to throw up even now thinking about it.
And honestly, the last thing I wanted to do in those post-binge moments was to look in the mirror and repeatedly say “I love my body.”
The worst part was that the more I needed those body positive affirmations to help me, the less they actually worked.
I understand the intention behind body positive affirmations is a beautiful one. But sometimes, in the real world, forcing yourself to love what you see in the mirror is like pouring fuel on the body-hate fire.
Today I’m talking about how to heal your body image in those moments when you can’t quite “love your body.” We’ll talk about what to do when those body positive affirmations aren’t doing it for you, and the simple yet amazingly powerful thing to do instead!
So what do you do when body positive affirmations fail, and how do you love yourself as you are right NOW without faking it?
I honestly believed that if my body didn’t look a certain way, I wouldn’t have what I wanted in life. My dreams would never come true. I’d never have the job, the friends, the relationship, the life I wanted…unless I looked like an Instagram fitness model.
This was, of course, based on illusions. It came from outside conditioning. It wasn’t at ALL my deepest and highest truth.
But when I lived in that headspace, my deepest truth wasn’t in charge. My fears were in the driver’s seat.
Then I discovered affirmations, and I thought they might be my saving grace. So I jumped in with the body positive talk in hope of an overnight miracle…
I understood how affirmations worked, in theory. I repeated the happy words over and over again, just like you were supposed to, hoping to smash the body hate.
But sadly, at the time the words just felt like empty words. That’s because I knew I didn’t believe a single word I was saying.
Turns out there was a huge gap between hating what I saw in the mirror “loving my body.”
And I had no real way to bridge it.
So what did I do to get to that new space of genuine body love?
Eventually, I discovered a new path to body love. Instead of pushing for an all-or-nothing attitude with these affirmations, I decided to try an incremental approach.
I decided to put down the sword, stop the body war, and move from body loathing to body love–ONE small step at a time. Each day I took one small step to show my body that no matter what, I was going to love and care for it.
That started with dropping the forced body positive affirmations for something a lot more achievable.
I focused on the one smallest doable step I could take each day to feel just a little more empowered in my own skin. I turned my attention to healing my body image with slow, consistent acts of love and care.
Little by little, I reminded myself that no matter what, my body deserved to be cared for. It deserved to be loved. Even when I was frustrated, impatient, and angry with how I looked, I didn’t need to withdraw love and care. In fact, I needed to show more love and care.
It was all about unconditional love for my body, even if I didn’t always like how my body looked.
So what does this “unconditional love” thing mean, exactly? Here’s an analogy…
If you caught last week’s post, I talked about how crazy my cat has been acting since we moved into a new house. She’s been a little bit wired. She definitely didn’t like my trying to give her a cameo appearance in last week’s video, and she reacted like cats often do!
But here’s the thing–even though I didn’t like her behavior, I still loved her. I still took care of her. She’s got my unconditional love and care, even if I don’t like what she does every moment.
Now, I’m not exactly saying that your body is like a pet! But what I am saying is that when you love and care for someone, you may not always like what they do, but you always love them. You show up for them.
This goes for your relationship with YOU, too!
You can show your body unconditional love even if you don’t like your size. You can show your body that you care even if you’ve got a little cellulite or a bit of weight in the middle right now.
In other words, you don’t have to have a perfect body before in order to start shifting your body image.
I started with small loving actions every day to show my body that I cared. It took some time, but I created a partnership with my body. Slowly but surely, my body began to trust that I would always love and support it.
Eventually, I began seeing external proof that these acts of love were working! My body started to release weight. I started to feel amazing.
All it took was treating myself with consistent care, nurturing, and love.
So if those highly touted body positive affirmations aren’t working for you, try this…
Check-in with yourself. Observe the thoughts you’re actually having about your body. If they’re mean or unsupportive, don’t judge them.
Then, give yourself an internal hug. What can you do to remind yourself that you deserve love, and caring just as you are now?
Remember, you ARE deserving of everything. You’re deserving to be on Social Media. Or wear shorts if you want to. You deserve to go on that date. You deserve to have a nourishing meal. You deserve to be in the world, living your life.
Your size, your reflection in the mirror, or the cellulite you may or may not have doesn’t change that at ALL.
Even if this is hard to believe, take it one step at a time.
So then next time you feel triggered by how you look in a picture or in the mirror, remember this. You may feel overwhelmed. You might not be ready for an all-out body positive affirmation session. But you ARE worthy of love and care.
So what do you think? Have you ever gotten fed up with body positive affirmations failing you? Have you tried the alternative we talk about here, and how did it work for you?
Leave me a comment–I’d love to know what you think about this simple little method!