There is a strong correlation to how positively one views themselves to how well established their health and self-care is. Many of us strive for a healthy lifestyle and forget to start within. In today’s society body shaming is common and what is looked at as beautiful, fit, or thin has spiraled into distortion. This distortion has become increasingly influential and for many of us a reflection of our self-worth. How we feel about our bodies is in direct correlation to how we interact with our bodies; meaning our self-care habits and our health.
Here’s the basic principle of it all; Having a healthy perception of our bodies translates into unconditional love and care, and in contrary when we carry an unhealthy perception and feel negative about our bodies, we don’t feel deserving of health and good things. When we feel negative, we create negative habits to cope, or self-loath. This is a cycle that many of us face and is almost a natural automatic response to our negative thoughts and perceptions. Although it may be a natural response, we have to ask ourselves if it is a healthy one? And dose our current perception of our bodies translate to a healthy lifestyle? In order to properly care for our bodies, we have to have develop a deep love and care for them.
Working as a personal trainer over the years has brought me into the deep thoughts of women and men trying to establish a happier healthier life. I’ve worked with clients who have faced feelings of insecurity towards their bodies. Some who would stand in front of the mirror grabbing their waist line, pulling on their skin stating, “I want this gone”. These moments have shown me where mentality and self-perception can be our biggest enemy. I gave these clients my whole-hearted advice; “look at yourself and find something you love about your body”. Many struggled with this exercise as it was something out of the norm from our regular routine, but it was the most strengthen exercise for their journey.
Our self-view is developed in context of the world that we live in. When it comes to body image this sometimes means our self-view is developed in comparison to those around us. It may be difficult to change a long-held perception, but when we take a look at why we carry a particular perception and where it developed, we often find it lacks reality. It is generally known and agreed upon that today’s society projects unrealistic expectations and perfectionism on body image. Societal scrutiny and media platforms have further perpetuated unrealistic body image. When we try to measure up to the platforms of expectations, we predispose our self to developing negative behaviors. These behaviors can range from extreme dieting, eating disorders, steroid usage, and general preoccupation with low self-worth. Despite our knowledge of the increasing distortion the media plays on our body image, we still find ourselves allowing comparison to be the theft of joy. Comparison highlights our perceived shortcomings. It can breed low quality thoughts surrounding our bodies reflection and ultimately diminishes our self -worth.
This issue here is that low self-worth translates to low self-care. What we need to do is only compare ourselves to ourselves. Our bodies are our bodies. They are unique and one of a kind. Your authenticity is beautiful and the best version of you, will always be you. When we become less occupied with our indifferences and start to celebrate our greatness, we develop a strong foundation of confidence towards our bodies’. This is the place where we find our health blooming. This is the place where we find self-acceptance and love.
Another great way to develop a heathier perception of your body is to find appreciation for your body physiologically. Every second our bodies are working at a microcellular level to keep us alive. Whether our bodies are fighting disease, infections, fatigue, or an air born virus our bodies are continuously putting forth the energy to keep us happy and wholesome. Stop to think about what your body has done for you. Has your body fought through the flu season? Kept you on your feet for hours of work? Made it through child labor? Ran a half marathon? Completed a detox? Healed after a surgery? Your body may have its own personal accomplishments and survived multiple challenges, or you may be someone in perfectly good health who has never faced any physiological hurdles. Wherever you and your body have been, it is important to take a moment open our hearts with gratitude for our amazing human nature. Your body has shown you unconditional regard for survival. It has kept you going with every heartbeat. What’s not to love?
This type of gratitude towards our bodies can offer us a new mindset. A mindset of appreciation. A mindset that wants to give our bodies back the unconditional love and care it has given us. As most of us know love is a verb. It is not just an emotion, it is something that involves action. A great way to show your body you care is through our Nutritional choices. Our nutrition is the fuel for our bodies to operate. Eating easily digestible foods and meeting our vitamins and minerals allows our bodies to function at an optimal level. When we look at our nutritional choices to be the love we give back to our bodies, it becomes our own desire to fuel it properly.
One of the best ways we can show our body love and care, is by do nothing at all. Yes, you read that correctly. You may have gathered after my emphasis on nutrition that I would suggest you show your body love through exercise. Exercise has so many health benefits and we were mad for movement, however rest is needed for our health and often neglected. In today’s world being busy is good and pulling all night-errs to complete work is cool; having a jam-packed schedule means your important. I personally have a hard time understanding why we over value occupation and undervalue the importance of rest and relaxation.
The body and mind are one but can often have different needs. When it comes to our to do list and responsibilities we tend to lead with our minds. Our bodies get fatigue and we continue to push through. This is a good mentality if you are running a spartan race, but on a daily basis it is not the healthiest way to operate. Pushing your body to its limits with no rest can cause stress and a multitude of health concerns. Chronic stress and fatigue can lead to a weakened immune system, hormonal imbalances, and digestive issues. Giving yourself a break can be one of the most loving things you can do for your body. Cancel your plans, postpone your meeting, mop the floors tomorrow. Giving your body rest is giving your body love.
Loving your body is a project that starts in the mind and ends in the heart. It is a project that will help you develop a healthier life and more meaningful connections to your self-care. In order to change our self-care and develop healthy habits we have to change the way we feel; we have to change our perception of self. We must shift from a place of scrutiny and overdrive to a place of love.