Body Image. Such a HOT TOPIC, and one I could probably speak about for the rest of my life. I could simply say that EveryBODY is beautiful (and it is) but I know that I for one, upon hearing those words, think, ‘Here we go again…blah blah blah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Tell me again that my body is beautiful..I still don’t believe it’. So what do we do about this?
As one of the 97% of women who find faults with my body daily, I have spent way too much time pointing fingers and playing the ‘blame game’ on Society, and men in particular for my self loathing. And while I don’t dismiss the issues that continue with media and body image, I realize that playing the blame game will get me, personally, nowhere.
Tonight I stood naked in front of the mirror (yep, I did) and thought: ‘We all have visual preferences, including me. That’s okay. I can accept that.’ And while I stood, hating my body for a few minutes, I also thought ‘I think I’ll start loving my body for what it gives me and does for me. If I want to change my body for other peoples’ sake, that would be wrong. If I want to make changes for MY sake, because I KNOW what my best is and I want to feel healthy and strong, that would be okay.’ If I don’t want to make changes, that’s okay too. I am doing the best I can. I am loving life and choosing to love myself’.
Below I have included a short Art Activity you can do to bring awareness about how you truly feel about your body and what changes (if any) you may wish to make about how you FEEL about your body. This could get emotional. If you feel like it may be too emotional, either don’t do it or have proper support systems in place. I understand the severity of Eating Disorders as well, and would recommend that anyone with an eating disorder not do this activity, period, unless it is somehow directed as part of a recovery program from a health care professional.
Okay, I’m about to get Vulnerable. These are works I created back in 2014 about how I percieved my body and how I would LOVE to percieve my body. I’m going out on a limb here sharing this with you, but hey-you’re worth it. We all are.
The pages I wrote on are from Leonie Dawson’s Shining Life Workbook 2014 Edition (Just received 2016 virtual copy-SO EXCITED!) I am totally plugging Leonie Dawson right now, but I’m cool with that because she is one of my heroes and has been a huge catalyst in moving my life forward.
For now you can print a PDF from the Internet (google body outline PDF) or simply sketch your own. (Sorry, haven’t built my tech. skills that far yet to create PDFs).
Anyhoo, here goes:
So as you can see on the Page Titles, the Process is simple: Colour In, Collage, Fill With Words. THIS IS A VERY SIMPLE EXERCISE THAT ANYONE CAN DO.
Now, if you are looking for Self Improvement in terms of your Physical Condition you can simply stop here and do the exercise above (grab a piece of paper and some colouring tools). If you want to add more detail, get some magazines and start collaging.
I am going to recommend one more step in the creative process though: Either on the image you just created or on a separate piece of paper, write, draw or collage:
- What you are currently DOING that affects your health either positively or negatively.
- What you CAN do to affect your health positively and aim for what you want. (Even if it’s just the teeniest, tiniest little detail like drink one more glass of water each day. Setting an intention and PUTTING IT INTO ACTION, no matter how small is getting your momentum going). P.S. I found a nice little App that reminds me to drink water every hour. Love it!
BUT.. I feel there is a very important piece of the puzzle here: Starting from the INSIDE OUT.
I know, I know…easier said than done, right? Well, if you’re stuck, here is an inspirational video most of you have probably seen if you ever use YouTube. Love this video. Love, Love, Love. Relatable, Inspiring and Empowering.
Two things in particular stand out for me when I watch this video: 1. Be Nice To Ourselves and 2. Put Good Things Into Our Bodies. Oh! And of course, “OWN IT”! Can you do it? Can you do those two things? If you need more, here is a post I found on-line:
The video addresses #6 and #9 from this list, but you see, there is a lot more you can do to change your mindset regarding your body. (Oh, and yes the video specifically addresses women, but I know body image affects men too).
As I read over the list above, it still feels quite generic-oh, I’m supposed to REMIND myself that true beauty is only skin deep. But HOW do I do that when I am feeling absolutely UGLY, when I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning, when people are calling me names, when all I see in the media are ‘PERFECT’ Bodies.
The answer, my Darling, is baby steps. You CAN change your mindset and take control of your thoughts. I will be introducing more art and movement activities to help you do just that. Truth is, we are going to have good mindset days and bad mindset days, but never give up. If an ugly thought comes creeping in, hit your STOP button (you can literally have a place on your body that is your STOP button) and immediately say the OPPOSITE of the negative thought. Eg. ‘Ugh, my thighs are so HUGE’. Say “I believe my thighs are just right for my body”, OR “I have thighs! Thank God! Life sure would be different without them.” (Consider this your SAVE button).
As soon as you start to accept it, you can change it in a healthy way IF YOU CHOOSE TO. But if you’re hanging on to pipe dreams of your perfect body in desperation, chances are things are likely to remain the way they are, because really what you are focusing on is what you DON’T want. And what you FOCUS on is what you get. But if you can learn to accept what you have, you can move forward with a positive mindset, and make small positive changes towards what you do want.
So, did I reach my goals of how I wanted to feel about my body? I guess that’s a matter of Perception 😉 I do NOT have a 6 pack, my skin is a little dry still, I’m not toned and my teeth are not perfectly white. But I DO have fitness goals and I HAVE taken small steps over the past year/year and a half to do nice things for my body: Cut down on coffee, drink more water, use coconut oil, reduce sugar intake (refined sugar cut out almost completely), cut down on meat intake, stay active doing things I enjoy etc. In the meantime, I am not obsessing over my body, but I am aware when I slip into unhealthy habits. I do not love myself completely every day (let’s be honest), but I am on a path to self-love; unconditional love, and so can you be.
Sending Loads of Love to EveryBODY!