Happy New Year to all my readers! 2014 was a year of personal and professional challenges, but through some significant and regular counseling work of my own, I feel that I’m finally learning how to love myself through all of life’s storms. In keeping with what I’ve learned, I wanted to encourage all of you to be gentle with yourself this year, not just in the resolutions or goals you set for yourself, but in how you talk to yourself as you measure your success in reaching those goals.
This morning I wrote several personal goals, but the first one will be the most helpful to me in the short-and long-run: “Continue to be kind to my body by honoring its needs for hydration, nutrition, and rest AND by not tolerating body shaming and body negativity.” I say “continue” because I’ve made some progress in the past few weeks and want to grow from there. One of the most powerful activities I’ve incorporated into my daily routine is something I read on the Health At Every Size blog a few months ago. It seems pretty hokey and is really hard to do at first, but here’s how you do it: Before you get dressed, stand in front of a mirror (full-length is preferable), and say, “I love you” to your body. Yes, that’s right. Stand naked in front of the mirror and tell yourself, as sincerely as you can, “I love you”. The first time I did this, I was blown away by how moving it was. I can’t remember ever being so loving to my body. I spent particular time on body parts that I have typically only criticized. I felt silly, but did it again the next day, and the next day, and the next. Imagine my surprise when I realized a few days into this activity that I hadn’t been obsessing about my weight and shape as much. This was a big feat, given my usual self-loathing at the holidays. I also find that the more I say, “I love you”, to my body, the more I want to show it love by staying hydrated, eating less sugar, and resting when I need to. So, my goal in 2015 is to continue this wonderful practice and find out where it takes me.
I hope, no matter what your resolutions are for 2015, you’ll begin to foster some self-compassion…one day at a time.
Peace, joy, and health,