I Said to My Body: “I Want to Be Your Friend”
Take these small steps to get closer to loving yourself.
And I said to my body, softly, “I want to be your friend.
It took a long breath and replied, “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this.”
~ Nayyirah Waheed ~
Having a positive relationship with your body is one of the most challenging and important things to master when it comes to experiencing self-love. Being able to appreciate your body, be kind to it, and be comfortable in your own skin all drives happiness and fulfilment in so many ways.
Somehow, perhaps luckily, this isn’t something I struggled with when I was younger (or at least don’t remember struggling with). However, it’s something I started to struggle with in the second part of my 20’s.
Maybe it was because I felt more judged when I entered the adult world or because my stick skinny teen body had turned into somewhat foreign womanly curves. Maybe it was partly because I was in a toxic relationship where my body was mocked or because there were people in my life who continuously talked about dieting.
Either way, none of those things justified the way I treated my body or how negatively I spoke about it. I distinctly remember when I met my husband four years ago, I was barely able to accept compliments from him. I literally laughed in his face in disbelief when he called me beautiful. But he wasn’t joking. He was serious. Why was it so hard for me to understand that?
The way he showered me with compliments (and still does) made me realise I had to build a more positive relationship with my body. I knew I had to start loving it and nurturing it the way he did. I wanted to have more good moments than bad ones, and more good days than bad ones. I wanted to fully love myself, inside and out.
So, for a year or two, I made it my mission to work on loving my body better. How? By following these “rules”:
1. Treat exercise as a way to nourish your body, not punish it.
It’s meant to keep you healthy and fit, both physically and mentally. It’s not meant to be something you do because you feel you’re not good enough. Find a type of exercise that works for your body and mind. Find something that gets the feel-good endorphins going and make sure it’s something you really enjoy. For me, that’s riding my horse, doing stretchy yin yoga or going for a walk in the park.
2. Recharge your body (and mind).
Treat it like the sacred temple it is. Nourish it and nurture it. Take long hot baths and get regular massages. Get a good amount of sleep every night and take power naps if you can. Treat yourself to facials, manicures or some reiki – whatever works for you! It’s a lot easier to feel good about yourself when you feel well rested and well cared for.
Because a smile really is the most beautiful thing you can wear. It’s also the best thing to wear if you want to feel good. When you smile, you release all kinds of happy hormones into your body which naturally bring your positivity up. This, in turn, fuels your confidence and self-worth, making it easier for you to see yourself in a more positive light. Really make the time to do things that make you smile, hang out with people who make you laugh, and do things that fill you with joy.
I encourage you to practice these rules of bodily self-love as much as you can. But that’s not the only thing I encourage you to do. I also have one specific piece of homework I want you to do right here right now.
1. Pick up a piece of pen and paper (not your phone, iPad or laptop – I seriously mean pen and paper!).
2. Write down the numbers one to ten down the page.
3. Then finish this sentence, ten times over with a new response each time:
One thing I love about my body is…
Take your time with this. Even if it feels hard, keep doing it. You can do it. Just keep at it until you get that list done. For inspiration, here is what my list looks like today:
1. One thing I love about my body is my bold, blue eyes.
2. One thing I love about my body is my sexy, womanly curves.
3. One thing I love about my body is its ability to control a horse when I ride.
4. One thing I love about my body is my thick, luscious blond hair.
5. One thing I love about my body is its ability to hold the plank pose.
6. One thing I love about my body is its strength to push through challenges.
7. One thing I love about my body is its ability to feel deeply.
8. One thing I love about my body is its intuitive ways of telling me the truth.
9. One thing I love about my body is the way it moves when I dance.
10. One thing I love about my body is the way it recovers from a day.
Now it’s your turn. Pick a quiet moment today to write down the things you love about your body. And feel free to go beyond the ten points if you want. If it’s flowing then go with it. You want to be your body’s friend.