By Jessica Basken aka Rivermoon
Are you a hater? Yeah, you. With the body.
As the owner of a body, I sympathise. I know what it’s like to feel ugly. I know what it’s like to cringe when I’m touched and to get upset when I see my reflection in a shop window. I’ve experienced all kinds of hate for the body I live in. That hate has taken me down some extremely dark paths: most of which happened years ago, but there’s still a twinge of it that lingers under my skin and every now and then, it will pop up as if it’s trying to prove that I’m not quite good enough.
Luckily, over the years, I have collected a number of tools that I keep under my belt to help me get out of those funks. Whenever I hear self-criticism echoing through my bones, I pull one of these tricks on it’s ass. With a little attention, the criticism starts to dissolve so that I can feel groovy in the skin I’m in.
The following isn’t simply a short list of quick fixes to temporarily feel better. Rather, they are tools that I have used to help shift the destructive habitual patterns (that I lived with for so many years) in order to create healthy positive ones. Every time we tell ourselves something, whether it is good for us or bad for us, we reinforce that idea of ourselves within ourselves. So, the more I tell myself I’m worthless, the more I believe it.
The more I love myself up, the more lovable I feel. So, love the shit out of yourself! It may very well be your only lifetime to do it.
1. Stop hanging with people who are constantly putting themselves down. Nasty self-talk is just as contagious as a snotty nosed kid. Ever been in the middle of a self-trashing conversation? This may be less common with men, but with women, it is prominent worldwide and no one involved walks away from those conversations feeling awesome about themselves. What about having intelligent conversations that leave us feeling great? Put yourself in the company of people who treat themselves well and you will start following suit.
2. Mirror meditation. You’ve obviously seen a reflection of yourself in the mirror. But have you ever really looked at yourself? I’m not talking about looking at yourself to decide whether you look good or bad or whether or not something needs to be changed. I’m talking about sitting in front of a mirror, looking yourself in the eyes and simply seeing yourself looking back at you. Don’t allow your eyes to wonder to bits and pieces that you want to emotionally shred apart. Simply look into your own eyes. It will feel awkward and uncomfortable at first because most of us aren’t used to that kind of intimacy with anyone – including ourselves – but often really good things come out of awkwardness and discomfort. If you can manage doing this for even just a couple of minutes, you may see what a profound experience it is to see your own reflection in the absence of judgement.
3. Dance in the dark. (Thank you Lady Gaga and Bruce Springsteen!) Close the blinds, turn off the lights, blast your favourite jam and move in a way that feels beautiful. Who cares how you look. There’s nobody watching you anyway. Tune in to how it feels rather than trying to impress yourself or anyone else and dance to simply celebrate being alive.
4. Gratitude showers. This is so easy! When you soap up in the shower, each time you wash a body part, consider what it does for you and say thank you. For example, ‘thank you legs for walking me around all day everyday’ or ‘thank you hands for helping me to do my work’. This body is freaking amazing! Have you ever thought about your body that way? So often we ridicule it and treat it like a dumpster. Your body deserves to be seen for what it is: an incredible instrument that does it’s absolute best to keep you alive and healthy. When you start to look at your body that way, you will start to realize that it deserves only your gratitude.
5. Stop talking shit about other people’s bodies. Next time you think about judging someone for the way they look, think again. Not only is it juvenile, but the way you think about others is a reflection of the way you think about yourself. Look for something good in everyone you meet. Start sending out positivity and you might just start to feel it come right back to you. The most beautiful people I know are those who see the beauty in everything and everyone around them.
Sip a little more from Jessica’s medicine:
➵ The Science Of Not Giving A F*ck