Does this sound familiar to you? Have you ever judged your body for not being “good enough”? Have you ever come across thoughts like:
“I’m not toned enough”
“..too..” you name it!
Ever happened? Or happening on a regular basis? Happening every day? Does it make you feel alone and disliked when those kind of thoughts pop up? Does it frustrate you or make you sad?
If yes, you are not the only one. Studies have shown that up to 50% of women are not happy with their bodies. Which is a lot. A LOT – and definitely enough to evaluate what it is that would bring more awareness into the challenge of finding happiness within your own skin.
It is invitingly easy to criticize yourself, which is most likely also the reason why it is so common and why we easily fall into the trap without noticing.
We tend to be our own worst critic and it takes a considerable amount of awareness, observation, time, work, and patience to stop being so harsh on ourselves ~ especially when it comes to our bodies.
We are so quickly trapped in measuring ourselves to what is being communicated to us as “ideal body” through media, social media and advertisement.
We have been programmed subconsciously to think that we can be happier, more successful and that we are more worthy when we fit into a certain picture of beauty, body, and shape.
But if those self-deconstructive traits are so inherited and have such a deep foundation in our brain, how can we get out of them?
Here is what you can do to tap into a less judgy, and more loving self-critic:
Notice the triggers
- First of all, notice what usually triggers those thoughts. What are you doing when they appear? At what time of the day? Who are you with? What is surrounding you? What are you watching?
- Can those triggers be replaced with a positive input? Can you create a surrounding that makes you feel better? For example, to read a book instead of watching this triggering TV program? To go clothes shopping where they have considerable sizes and not sell clothes that seem to be produced for teenager?
- Can you avoid the triggers when you are having a sensitive day?
- Reflect on where the information that implies that there is something “wrong” or “not good enough” with you, comes from and check it’s validity – how true is this really?
Hold on & Pause
- Don’t judge when you judge – it’s okay, it’s human. Try to soften your brain and wherever you are feeling this in your body and don’t make it worse by cursing yourself for having the thoughts.
- Try to notice your mind when it is going down the rabbit hole again judging yourself and pause. Pause, take a deep breath, let the thoughts pass with any further judgement and consciously choose a new thought that serves you better
Recognize the feeling behind the feeling
- Look at the emotions that are behind that judgement. Is it fear of not being good enough for someone/for the society? Is it disappointment because you try your best but you are still “failing”? Is it overwhelm because you don’t know how to change it? Sadness because you are seeking for a different “truth”?
- Notice those emotions behind it, give them space, acknowledge them and ask yourself what it is that you would need to know right now for it to feel better.
Feed your brain
- In those “monkey mind” moments, shift your focus from the outlook of your body to the function – this method is called function over feature. For example, if you find to yourself nagging about your legs being too strong/thick/short, tap into the awareness of their glorious features. They are here to make you walk, to see the world, to move around, to give you hold, to jump, to dance, etc. Become clear about all those muscles working in this magnificent perfect synchronicity for you 24/7. The fascination that they grow and shrink according the amount of movement or attention you provide them with.
- Develop the habit of saying “thank you” to our body – we definitely don’t do this enough. Say it out loud or think it when you get up in the morning, when you take the stairs, when you walk some steps. The more gratitude we cultivate, the less negative emotions are possible. And the more acknowledgement your body – or better your brain – receives, for the little things it does to support you, the more compassion you can develop towards it.
- In moments of self-sabotage, ask yourself how you would respond to your best friend, if she was speaking this way about herself. Notice the difference and try to tap into the more kind, more compassionate voice of yourself being your own friend.
Be persistent. Actively training the mind and repeatedly shifting the focus works. This sounds easy but it’s not. It takes time, consistency and a lot of self-observation. But when you stick with it and regularly take your mind back to where you want it to be once it drifts into monkey land, then you will get there.
Take the journey, dear one, keep it up, and you will be rewarded with feeling better within yourself.