|Image via SoulKissesTV|
I've enjoyed the book Inspired Style recommended by Pam of Over50Feeling40. One of the essays, by Oreet Mizrahi, encourages the reader to "Love Your Body, Love Your Life." Two sterling ideas, I say.
Of course we want to love our bodies, but we have a lot of negative programming to work through. If you're over 40, you've experienced years of negative self-talk and "perfect" media images. We've lived through decades of comparing ourselves to other women and "falling short". (And women's magazines always astound me with articles about how to lose ten pounds in ten days, juxtaposed with recipes for quick brownies.)
We learn very early to criticize ourselves and to focus on our so-called shortcomings. I hated my fine, curly hair until my 40's! I thought my pale, pale skin was a flaw. I trash-talked my upper thighs. These thoughts never, ever made me feel any better, but they did make me part of The Club.
So I eagerly absorbed the essay by Ms. Mizrahi, an image consultant, and gleaned the following advice. If you want to love your body:
- Change your focus. Close your eyes and imagine all the different parts of your body. Focus on a feature you really appreciate. (Long, slim neck). Keep focusing on it until you start to feel more positive. Choose, as a result of this exercise, to shift your focus and concentrate on the feature(s) you love.
- Talk with gratitude to your body. Stand in front of a mirror and say aloud what you are grateful for. Thank your body for all it's done and continues to do for you. Appreciate your body not as a collection of "flaws" in this moment, but as the marvelous vehicle that has carried you everywhere.
- Use all your senses to love your body. Use color, fragrance, movement, music, massage to energize and please your body. Buy flowers, take a long bath, pet the cat, step away from the computer. Indulge in one perfect chocolate. Treat your physical self like it deserves good things.
There are many other ways we can re-program ourselves to like, even love, our bodies. We can start right now by just catching the negative word before it leaves our mouth, and replacing it with something kind, or at least neutral. "My upper thighs are so . . . interesting."
Bonus: Here is a wonderful article about How to Make Love To Your Body Everyday!
Is this something you've struggled with? Are you doing better with this in recent years? Has blogging helped?