You look in the mirror only to look away in disgust, “My hair is ugly, my body is ugly, I’m fat, ahh I’m just plain ugly.” Words like this are spoken amongst our children, teenagers, women, and yes, even men! Imagine if these words were spoken to you everyday of your life or even worse, you spoke these unkind words to yourself. As a dietitian who previously worked with our military, I’ve seen this body dystrophy more times then I can count. Military servicemen are required to maintain strict weight guidelines or risk being discharged from the service. I saw day after day how someone’s appearance became a measure of their self worth. Imagine if these words were spoken to you everyday of your life, or even worse, you spoke these unkind words to yourself. After a while you will start believing what you hear!
Body acceptance is one of the most important things needed in raising a healthy family. We need to first teach ourselves how to embrace and accept what our bodies looks like so we can teach our children to accept their own bodies. Body acceptance is a pretty big challenge, but it is not impossible to overcome.
If you don’t think how you talk about your body effects your children then read on. I once taught a class to a group of girl scouts on “Eating the Color of the Rainbow.” When I asked the group why they think it’s important to eat different food from the rainbow a little girl raises her hand and says, “To get skinny.” I replied, “No, it’s not about getting skinny.” She replies, “Well, my mom is fat.” The mom of this little girl was in the room and looked mortified, but my heart sank. How could a little girl say something like this about her mom? It took a night of reflection to realize that this little girl didn’t come up with those words herself, she only repeated what she has heard most likely everyday.
If you can relate to this in anyway, you need to work on finding your unconditional worth, love and growth. Unconditional worth is not the same as self esteem. Self esteem is a learned behavior while unconditional worth is your self-love. It’s what you were born with, it never goes away, but is often is reshaped due to outside influences. If you’re needing to learn body acceptance it’s important to learn to dig deep and bring back that unconditional worth that is deep within you.
Here are a few steps:
1. Learn to tune out outside chatter. Don’t allow other people’s opinions define you.
2. Don’t compare yourself with things that you can not control. Your body may not be designed to be a size 2!
3. Stop criticizing yourself! Learn to embrace who you are. Practice everyday saying 10 nice things about yourself.
4. Forgive Yourself. Mistakes don’t define you.
5. Take care of Yourself. This could be the reason that people who exercise and nourish their bodies feel better about themselves.
Learning to accept yourself the way you are can be pretty challenging and you can’t expect it to happen overnight, BUT it’s not impossible. When you find that self worth that has been hiding, it will open up the opportunity for your self-esteem to flourish. With self worth will come body acceptance and lead to the changes you have been looking for!
How can you overcome your poor body acceptance? Feel Free to Comment Below.