Body Talk

It occurred to me recently, I am not very nice to myself at times.

The way I criticise myself, my body, characteristics and how I contribute to society can be just plain mean.

In my opinion I’m not ‘beautiful enough’ ‘strong enough’ ‘kind enough’. All this negative talk cementing my deep belief that ‘I am not enough’.image

Its a biggie and a belief I continue to challenge.

The way I treat my body when it doesn’t do what I want it to. Last year I attained some new injuries, my reaction was dismay. My action was to reject my vulnerable body parts. The language I used towards myself was abusive. ‘My bloody back is killing me!’. My hip is f**ked. Rather than accepting and nurturing…like a friend who is having a hard time of it.

All this negative association, rejecting the parts of ourselves we don’t like or the parts which don’t work as we would like. Labelling them as ‘bad’ or ‘malfunctioning’.

imageThis brings me on to my ‘hot topic’. How we as women relate to our bodies, especially the parts of ourselves we see as imperfect, ugly, malfunctioning, old…etc etc.

Many of us make a daily mantra of standing in front of a mirror assessing and scrutinising ourselves. Crushing our spirit and vibrancy every day! I am a prime suspect….it took me until the age of 34 to accept a compliment gracefully. If ever given one my response would be ‘shut up!’. I really felt that uncomfortable with it. For a while I had to fight against this knee jerk response but now I can actually accept it say thank you and let it sink in.

I have been noticing how my friends and fellow womenkind criticise ourselves on a daily basis. Our dimpled thighs, flabby arse, saggy neck…even fat fingers…fat fingers!!! Seriously! We all seem to have target areas on our body that we cannot connect with or just plain detest.

My hope for this blog is to shed some light on this topic. I’m fairly certain most of us use this negative language unconsciously.

So I ask you to try a few things…

1) Start to notice when you use this kind of negative language. Both internally and out loud. You would not use this abusive language towards another so why to yourself?

2) When you notice the usual ‘I hate my fat thighs’ (or whatever is your preferred area of disdain) come up, see if you can turn it around…how about your thighs being curvy, womanly, shapely. See if you can change your language just a little bit…step by step.

3) Think of 3 things you love about yourself….write them down…let them sink right in. Do this whenever you feel the need.

4) If accepting a compliment is tricky for you see if you can work on that…the next time you receive one wether it be for your physical beauty or otherwise. Accept it, say thank you and let it sink in.

We could begin the discussion of how and why we have these opinions of ourself. Societies pressure to be more than perfect and ageless. Our mothers own insecurities passed down to us. The possible list is long, so for now, regardless of the whys and hows Im trying to own this desire to put myself down. Own it and challenge it…daily.

If this resonates with you id love to hear your comments below.

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Photography by Barbara Suss Photography

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18 thoughts on “Body Talk

  1. Very true words Sophie, I am one of those people who scrutinise myself daily whilst standing in front of a mirror in my undies! Always picking at the bits I want to change because they aren’t ‘perfect’. Even when people are always telling me “you look great since you took up running” etc etc…… Its madness that we are so harsh on ourselves when actually we both most probably have bodies that a lot of women would love to have?!? Maybe we could never be totally satisfied with what we’ve got?…….

    • Hi Claire…I think your last comment is the one, being satisfied, embracing and loving what we have/are in all aspects of our lives has to be the key right?! So much harder to desire what we are not. Thanks so much for reading :-).

  2. Sophie, a young lady was chatting with me on FB just now about how critical she is of herself and how she finds it so difficult to accept compliments! And I saw in a little box on the left hand corner of my screen at that moment, that you had posted this link! She is reading it now. She will be discussing it with me again after she reads your blog. Its working already. Thank you so much for starting this. Its sure to help a lot of us ladies.

  3. Wow..did I need to read this today! Thank you Sophie…now I just need to try and not beat myself up for beating myself up! Haha…seriously you nailed it. Learning to see ourselves through the eyes of unconditional love..what a beautiful mindset!

  4. What a wonderful blog Sophie. Written from the heart and so inspiring. For me I think the media has the biggest part to play as we’re constantly surrounded by images of beautiful, ‘perfect’ women. Even though we know most of them are photoshopped and airbrushed until they barely resemble the original, there’s still a deep-seated belief that that’s how we SHOULD look. But, yes, I think we can all help turn this around, little by little, starting with ourselves. Thanks again for sharing x

    • Thank you so much for your comment. Yes it does seem to be a huge factor in why we feel so pressured to attain impossible level of ‘perfection’. I guess it is up to us to redefine what beauty is so we can all give ourselves a break! 🙂

  5. Hi Sophie
    Just read your blog how true it is i always say my legs are like tree trunks at the top as they are so big .As always and a lot of use I often only see the negative side of my body .But I am working on it and am learning through the help of a friend I am learning to love myself .But find it realy nice to know how people like us feel and know we can do somthing about it .Your words have helped to strengthen what I am trying to do .
    Thank you

    • Hi Shelia,

      Thankyou so much for your message. The more I share and talk about this the more I am realising how much we all do this. Just a thought that came to me reading your comment. Tree trunks are strong, their roots grounding us connecting us with the earth feeding the tree. Tree trunks are amazing!. Xx

  6. Thank you for this post. I understand because I used to have the same attitude towards my body. It was just my mind and Yoga has been of great help to change what was really a wrong perception of myself.

  7. I think it is useful to remember that maybe, just maybe, there are other things more important than what can be seen on the outside: health, kindness, honesty, all those.
    I mean, if you are to be judged by someone for your looks, such a shallow person should not be given much importance anyway.
    So yeah, that’s how I began the journey to loving myself 🙂

    • Totally agree. My blog is focussing more on how we judge ourselves rather than being judged by others…a very good point though, thank you…so glad you are on that loving journey 🙂

  8. Very nice blog post. As a teacher I see so many young girls have body image issues, going through crazy dieting fads or trying to starve themselves all of this leading to other issues with their health and education. All of this before their body has even reached maturity! We have in our mind a mental image of what we want (or rather think we want or even worse what we think others want) our bodies to look like and the disparity between this mental image (which is usually an impossible ideal) and what we see in the mirror is a source of despair/frustration/anger/depression. The trick here is that we lock ourselves into a pattern whereby we think “If only I had this body I would be happy”. But unfortunately that ideal body being an image in our head we can never reach that goal and “be happy”. Hence we are forever chasing an ideal that does not actually exist.

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