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Body Image and Mindfulness

Updated: Jan 11

Most of us have experienced the desire (or urge) to change our bodies in some way or another.

When we feel dissatisfied with our bodies (which most of us do – as there is A LOT of money which goes into telling you that our bodies are not good enough), and so we want to fix them. We believe that if we could just change our bodies in some way, we would be happier and more fulfilled. However, the truth is that trying to "fix" your body is a surefire way to set yourself against your own instincts.

We are taught to ignore our bodies and also to hyper-focus on them. It's a trap. We are told that we need to have a particular body shape or size in order to be accepted by society. We are told it is not our body image which is the problem, but our body which is the problem. We are told that we need to constantly monitor what we eat, how much we exercise, and how our bodies look. All of which often includes looking for external validation and other people to give us permission to feel OK. We are encouraged to compare ourselves to others and strive for an often unattainable ideal. But probably more importantly is to not be as we are, as we are told, that we must MUST change.

But the truth is our bodies are not something to be fixed and manipulated. They should not be changed or altered to fit a certain ideal which we are sold is correct over ourselves. Our bodies are an integral part of who we are, And when you lose the joy? The presence and the appreciation of your now body. It is almost impossible to feel respected and honoured. And frankly, safe, When you are constantly berating the thing you roam around in.

When we try to fix our bodies, we are essentially telling ourselves that we are not good enough as we are. We are saying that we need to change in order to be worthy of love and acceptance. This is a dangerous and damaging message to send to ourselves, and it can have severe consequences for our mental and emotional health.

Rather than treating your physicality like a home improvement show, you may be better off learning to tune into our internal cues and trust your instincts. Our bodies are incredibly intelligent and have a wealth of knowledge to offer us. When we learn to listen to our bodies, we can better understand our needs and make choices that support our health and well-being. Deciding your body needs to boot up and behave. It is like putting sound insulation in all of these messages.

Maybe the overhaul you have been searching for to make you feel happier is learning to recognise and respond to the signals, and noticing the life you are living is just as important as the vision you have of the future. Because it is with this that we are able to identify how we can find contentment, and perhaps even sometimes happiness, in our here and now.

Given the options of feeling happy today, with the possibility of happiness in some distant realm, it seems like an odd decision to get ourselves confused in; But this is precisely the quandary we pose ourselves, where we make our bodies reprehensible now in the chance of some respite later.

So if you're tired of feeling like your self-esteem is just another thing on your to-do list, working out gentle ways of appreciating what your body is now and all of the things it does to protect you may not be the worst starting place.

Image of a human stomach in clothes


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