When you look in the mirror what do you see? Do you see the bags under your eyes from lack of sleep? Do you see the lines on your forehead that seem to now be permanent fixtures of your face? Do you see the extra 20 or 30 pounds around your mid-section that wasn’t there 10 years ago?
We are our own worst critics. Judging myself was my favourite pastime… okay maybe not my favourite but it was on constant repeat you would think that I enjoyed it by how much time I succumbed to it.
I am all too familiar with the icky overwhelming feeling of shame. In fact, it’s been my go-to for years. Bypassing feelings of guilt and heading straight down the tunnel of “I’m not enough.”
Shame is the lowest vibrating emotion. You may have felt its unpleasant feeling wash over you.
When it comes to body shaming the messages are far and wide. The constant messages that our bodies aren’t good enough unless they are “bikini ready.” But what we’re really telling ourselves is that our bodies aren’t good enough as they are.
What I’ve learned is that changing your body from a place of shame doesn’t rid you of shame. Even when your pant size or the number on the scale decreases that doesn’t magically mean that the shame you have felt around your body will naturally disappear. Shame is deep-rooted.
For me, ending body shame has really come down to confronting my inner mean girl. That voice in me that criticizes every inch of my being. One of my favourite quotes reminds me that she doesn’t get a say anymore and when she tries to speak up I pull up this Theodore Roosevelt quote.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…“
As I read this quote, I am reminded that the part of me that judges, ridicules, and criticizes everything I do, my inner mean girl - SHE DOESN’T COUNT. “it is not the critic who counts” because when it comes down to it, my inner meal girl is on the sidelines. She’s not the one showing up for the work, for the healing or for taking care of this magnificent body.
How to Overcome Body Shame:
Confront your inner mean girl. Who is she? What is she trying to accomplish? Is she helpful? What do you want to say to her?
Monitor who you follow on social media. Do the messages or photos that they post, trigger your shame spiral? It’s okay to unfollow and intentionally choose to fill your social media with more positive body accepting messages.
Meet yourself where you’re at. It’s okay to be unhappy with your body right now. Telling it that you love it will probably feel like a lie at this point. But maybe you’re willing to like it.
Practice gratitude. Though I know how hard it can be to be grateful for a body that you feel ashamed of. I bet there are still at least 5 things you can be thankful for about your body, for instance, it keeps your alive, it allows you to move, it carries you, it turns food into useable energy, and it protects you.
Reach out to someone who can practice empathy. Maybe that’s a friend, a family member, a therapist or a coach. Empathy is the way to combat shame.
Go watch some Brené Brown. As a shame researcher, she knows what’s up. If nothing else feels within reach right now. Just watch this video.
What to do next...
Any questions? Leave me a comment below.
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