I recently discovered an exercise that has had great benefits for me. It has helped me to embrace and love my body and who I am to a greater extent. Here is the process:
First, I get really comfortable. This may be sitting in a big cozy chair, laying down flat or whatever is most comfortable.
Then I close my eyes.
I start with my feet and allow myself to be aware of them, feel them, and focus on them.
As I am focusing, I actually have a conversation in my mind with my feet. I thank them for serving my body so well, and tell them how much I love them.
When I am finished, I move up the line to my ankles, legs, knees, etc. until I have had a conversation with each part of my body. I can include as many body parts as I want. It is sometimes great to even include internal body parts, if I feel so directed.
Sometimes, I get to a body part, start to express gratitude and love, and then feel like I am expressing something that is not true. When that happens I look inward. What am I feeling toward this body part? Why am I feeling that way or what happened to cause me to experience that emotion? I really dig deep to unearth everything. Then I frame statements to change the emotion, experience, or belief. For example: When I went through this exercise, everything was going well until I got to my thighs. I could not bring myself to express gratitude or love for them. I focused inward and I pictured myself around 5th or 6th grade sitting in an assembly at school, looking down, and seeing my thighs pressed against the chair and judging them as fat. I even remember looking at the person next to me and comparing my shorter, stockier thighs to their longer, thinner ones. Remembering this experience helped me to reframe my feelings with the following statements: “My thighs are perfect for my body. I love my thighs. My thighs serve my body.” Then I took a deep breath in and imagined these statements taking the place of that negative experience. As I breathed out, I imagined the negative experience and all attached emotions leaving me. I was then able to continue with the exercise.
This exercise can be repeated again and again and each time I may find something new that my body wants to get rid of.
Are there any exercises you have done that have helped you to love yourself more? I would love to hear what has worked for you.