Can I be totally honest here?
I don’t particularly feel like embracing my body today. I can’t be bothered trying to be accepting or positive or self-loving.
I’m tired. Exhausted. Emotionally drained. Hormonal. Upset. Angry. Grumpy. Bloated. Lumpy. Frustrated. And all I want to do right now is jump in front of traffic. I don’t feel beautiful, pretty, whole or worthy.
But THAT ^ right there, is exactly why I NEED to embrace my body today.
Have you ever had similar moments of feeling so fed up, so tired, so completely OVER trying to embrace self-love and self-acceptance?
If you have, it’s okay.
Because self-love is a journey, and not always an easy one at that.
In those moments, it may feel like the best thing to do is to wallow and to mope and to stand in front of the mirror and pick yourself apart. In moments like that, your inner critic thrives. That’s its time to shine and it eagerly awaits those moments because it knows that’s when it does its best work.
In a weird way, it can feel like you’re denying a part of yourself if you try to actively stop yourself from picking apart your flaws in those moments.
But, here’s the secret: it’s not about stopping yourself. It’s not about denying those feelings of worthlessness and putting on a full face of makeup and pretending that you feel so damn pretty.
It’s not about forcing yourself to soldier on.
It’s about honouring your self-care needs, being in tune to what your mind and body need from you to feel better, and honouring that.
On the crappiest of days where nothing is going right, where negative thoughts run rampant and swirl around inside your head and the only way you can think to stop the thoughts is to curl up into a ball and block out the world… THOSE are the days that you need to show yourself the most kindness, the most compassion and the most acceptance.
I’m not gonna lie to you – self acceptance and self care is straight up HARD, sometimes. When you’re not in the best place mentally, it can feel awkward and weird and like it’s not working…
But those are signs that you need to focus on your mental health more than ever, not signs to give up.
The next time that you’re having an incredibly low body image moment where nothing is working and lying face down on the floor whilst drinking merlot and crying about your thighs seems infinitely more productive than trying to work on self-love, try this instead:
1. Don’t try to fight against the grain. If your mind and body are tired and you’re overwhelmed with feelings of wanting to sit and do nothing, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Your body cannot function in a constant low simmer of adrenalin and stress. You’ll burn yourself out and flood your brain with cortisol, which will result in incredibly low feelings, low self-esteem and the desire to not even want to try and get up. If you’re feeling exhausted, your mind and body are telling you that they need rest. Honour that.
2. Assess the environment that you’re in, and how it might be impacting your self-esteem. Are you spending time with people who are trapped in toxic cycles with food, exercise and their own bodies? Are you consuming a lot of entertainment media that evokes negative responses within you? Are you feeling jealousy or preoccupation with someone in your life? If any of these situations are the case, you may want to consider pulling back on those situations for a while to allow yourself the breathing room that you need to recover your self-worth.
3. Resist the temptation to seek external validation. Seeking reassurance from others may seem obvious, but it’s counter productive and sets you up for a vicious cycle wherein you begin to rely on external validation (like compliments, comments, likes and followers on social media, presents and sexual affection from partners) to feel good about yourself, and when you don’t receive it in the dosage that you’re used to, this triggers the onset of a negative self-esteem moment. It quite literally sets you up to become dependent on it, like a drug.
Instead of fishing for compliments or followers or affection when you’re having trouble loving yourself, take it as a golden opportunity to look within yourself and find that validation that you seek from others within yourself. It’s been there all along, and it’s there and waiting; ready to nourish you from within.
4. Revisit your self-care strategies and ask yourself if they’re still as effective as they once were. If you’ve got a series of self-care tactics that you use on an ongoing basis (which you should have, by the way), sometimes these tactics lose their shine a bit. This doesn’t mean that those tactics are bad or that we’re in a worse position – it simply means that those tactics aren’t as relevant as they used to be, or that we need to give those tactics a break and add some variation into our self-love practices.
If you find that your current self-care strategies just aren’t cutting the mustard anymore, dig deeper – why aren’t they working? Are they too intensive, or not intensive enough? Do they subtly reinforce contradictory notions on self-worth that you’re trying to avoid? Are you only going through the motions of your practices?How to embrace your body when you don't want to Click To Tweet
Remember, we’re all human and we all have days of poor self-esteem.
No matter how confident someone seems on the outside, rest assured they too have days where they cringe as they look in the mirror and their clothes all seem wrong and they just can’t be bothered trying to get out of their funk.
Please know, whenever you’re having one of these days – you deserve to take care of yourself.
We all do.
Want more advice like this? My book, Inside Out, was written just for you. It’s jam-packed with 140 pages of proven psychological strategies, activities and prompts to help you feel body confident and self-loving, even in a culture that profits from women’s insecurity!
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