“I can’t always control my body the way I want to, and I can’t control when I feel good or when I don’t. I can control how clear my mind is. And I can control how willing I am to step up if somebody needs me.”- Michael J. Fox
We talk at length about emotional self-acceptance around here, but today I would like to focus on an area of self-compassion that many of us struggle with: our bodies.
Insecurities about our physical selves start early. According to nationaleatingdisorders.org: “By age six, girls begin to express concerns about their own weight or shape. 40-60% of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about becoming too fat.” Body image insecurities tend to persist throughout adulthood and can lead to self-destructive behaviors and eating disorders. And this self-image problem is certainly not relegated to girls and women. Boys and men also feel shame and are self-critical about their bodies. Oftentimes hate for one’s body is actually a product of deeper emotional hurt.
With greater awareness of how we treat ourselves comes greater responsibility to treat ourselves well. This means eliminating harsh self-judgments! Over the past several weeks, we’ve discussed six steps to trading a self-critical attitude for a self-compassionate attitude:
acknowledging that we want to change.
becoming aware that we put ourselves down.
catching ourselves each time we are self-critical.
becoming our own nurturing self-parent.
learning where the self-critical messages originated so that we can challenge them.
picturing ourselves as children.
While Steps 1-6 require the hard work of emotional self-exploration, Step 7 asks you to put that work to use by replacing negative judgments with loving thoughts. This step is really about “reprogramming” your brain. What do I mean by that? Continue reading →
We’ve arrived at Step 3 of letting go of harsh self-judgments: catching yourself in the act!
Once you have decided to change and become aware of your harsh self-judgments, you can begin to catch yourself in the act. Once you catch yourself, you can begin to stop yourself by assertively rejecting the self-critical thoughts and behaviors.
What positive affirmations do you use to reject harsh self-judgments and practice self-compassion?
Stay tuned next week for Step Four: Becoming your own self-parent. And be sure to take a look at Steps 1 and 2 if you missed them. Happy Friday!