3 Ways to Remember Your Body is a Good Body
How often do you think of your body as good, or something that you appreciate? Does even thinking about that feel hard to do?
In our culture, it doesn’t seem like this is something we’re encouraged to think about very often. Far too often, we’re told about all the things “wrong” with our bodies that we’re supposed to get rid of or cover up in some way: wrinkles, gray hair, larger waistlines, thicker arms or legs, etc.
But our bodies are truly wonderful and wondrous, something I was reminded of last week at my church. The service included a section where we affirmed our bodies, and after we touched different parts of our bodies (heads, throats, hearts, bellies) and said something nice about it, we ended with the refrain: “My body is a good body.”
It gave me a nice feeling, that reminder that although my body doesn’t match our society’s ideals of beauty, it’s still a good body.
If this is something you struggle with, here are 3 things you can do to try to remember that your body is also a good body.
Notice and reframe negative thoughts
Noticing how you think about your body is a good way to start, especially if you notice negative thoughts coming up. They could also be negative thoughts about someone else’s body if that person doesn’t fit our society’s beauty standards.
You may not say what you’re thinking, but the fact that you have the thought still impacts you because it reinforces any negative ideas you might have about your body or those of others. So take a moment to see if you can identify where that thought might have come from.
Perhaps it was something people said when you were growing up, or something you heard on TV or saw on social media. It might even be something a friend or family member said to you.
Even if you don’t know where the thought came from, try to turn it around and reframe it.
For example, maybe you feel self-conscious about the way your arms look, and you have the thought that you hate your arms because they’re too big. When you notice the thought, you could turn it around by saying or thinking something like, “My arms are good arms. They can give hugs and lift groceries and do what I need to get through the day.”
Pay attention to what you wear
It can also help to make sure you’re wearing clothes that you like, fit well, suit you, and you’re comfortable in.
You may be tempted to squeeze yourself into smaller sizes to prove that you can, but it’s not a great strategy. You’ll be uncomfortable, and you may have an accidental rip because the clothing is too small. You also won’t be fooling anyone else who sees you wearing it.
Or you might try to go in the opposite direction and wear larger clothes than you need in an attempt to hide your body. But the clothes won’t look good on you because they’re too baggy, and they may feel awkward with that extra cloth moving around.
It’s much better to wear pants, skirts, shirts, jackets, etc. that fit you well and that you like. You’ll feel more comfortable in them, and knowing that you like the clothes will make you feel more confident and at ease.
I’ve had my own experience with this. Last summer, I wrote about clearing out my closet, and I’ve really appreciated not only knowing that the clothes I have will fit, but I’ve realized how much better I feel when wearing them. Since I know they fit, and I know they’re clothes I like, I don’t have to spend time thinking about it during the day, and that gives me more time and energy to focus on other things.
Focus on what your body can do
And while it’s very easy to get caught up in thinking about what you can’t do, try flipping that around and focusing on what your body can do.
Pay attention to something as simple as picking up a glass or a fork. Think about how amazing it is that you have the dexterity to grasp objects that way and manipulate them to do what you want. If you play an instrument, consider how wonderful it is that you can move your fingers or hands over something else to create music.
Or think about your feet. Since I broke my ankle two summers ago, I still pay a lot more attention to my feet and ankles and don’t take them for granted. I’m often amazed when I think about how many places they’ve taken me, how far they’ve gone, and the astonishing engineering that goes into these parts of our bodies that support us and carry us around.
Everyday things like giving hugs, walking to the car, speaking to a loved one, hearing someone’s voice, eating and digesting food to give you energy – these are all things you can only do because of your body.
Your body is a good body
No one’s body is perfect, no matter what magazines or movies try to tell you. But that’s okay. Your body is still a good body.
I know it can be hard to remember that when society gives us so many reasons to think otherwise, but it’s true. So notice when you have some negative thoughts and put a more positive spin on things. Wear clothes you like and that fit, even if that means buying a larger size.
And if you think about all the wonderful things your body can do – and keep telling yourself, “My body is a good body” – you may find that you believe it.