I’m guilty of it too – of not being nice to myself.
For a long time I used self-deprecating humor as a way to get laughs. I would joke about my ‘fat ass’ and be the first to giggle about my multiple bellies.
Then one day I got sick of it.
I guess you could say that putting myself down no longer served me.
I wanted to love my body.
… and no amount of exercise or healthy eating changes could make that happen… yet.
I was miserable with how my body looked. Actually that’s not true. I was unhappy with how my body felt, which in turn, warped how I felt about my looks.
That was the turning point for me.
I started to be nice to myself.
- I stopped saying mean things about my body (to myself & others).
- I would smile in the mirror and find something good to say.
- I began to love & respect myself.
I no longer felt disgusting, which led to me wanting to do nice things for my body (like eating better, exercising, and rewarding myself with spa treatments.)
Here is a simple Active Imagination Exercise that one of my business coaches taught me to talk to (and hear) my inner voice.
It works for other aspects of your Self as well.
The point is to view your inner voice, or your body in this case, as if it is a person standing in front of you, separate from yourself, and you have a conversation with them.
How To Get Started:
1) Be somewhere quiet(er), and get comfortable.
- Sometimes, for me, this means I am laying in bed just after waking up.
- Sometimes I am sitting on the couch, lamp shut off.
- Other times I sit or lay on the floor, letting my body settle how it feels most comfortable.
- You can even do this sitting in your chair, in your office, with the door closed, feet on the floor, hands in your lap.
- A slow steady breath in.
- A controlled exhale out.
I do this as many times as it takes until I feel calm and relaxed. Some days it is just a few breaths and I’m there. Other times it takes me a few minutes to get into that space.
3) Listen to the noise.
- Cars driving by.
- Birds chirping.
- People murmuring.
Take in all the busy-ness.
4) Listen to the stillness.
In between the noise, there are pockets of quiet. Find them.
- It’s like moving the dial on a stereo to fade the music from the left speaker, to the right.
- Imagine turning down the bass, and bringing up the treble.
- Just let your ears do the tuning.
5) Begin the conversation with yourself.
- You may choose to write or type out the conversation.
- You may choose to speak out loud.
- I personally like the quiet & stillness of just thinking the conversation in my head.
What feels right for you? I don’t think there is a right or wrong way – do what feels authentic for you.
This was the dialogue I had with my body this morning, so you can see how it works:
Me: Good morning, Body.
(Then I be quiet, and listen for what the response is – don’t force it. Just listen.)
Body: Good morning, Leanne.
(Oh good! My body is awake and ready to talk!)
Me: How do you feel today, Body?
(Stay quiet, listen for response…it may take a few minutes, or the answer may come quickly.)
Body: I feel strong.
(I’m pleasantly surprised! I was not expecting that answer.)
Me: That is really great to hear that you feel strong because I have a lot to do today. What do you need me to do for you today?
(Again, quietly I listen…)
Body: I need you to stay hydrated today. It makes me feel weak when you don’t drink enough water.
(I blush a little, feeling guilty that I make my body feel that way.)
Me: I’m sorry I do that. I can drink more water today.
At this point, instead of listening, I start to run down the list of things I could be doing to treat my body better, all the tasks I need to get done today, all the appointments I have to prepare for… and it gets really loud in my head.
…and I realize I’m holding my breath and my butt is clenched tight with stress…
(…quiet space again)
Me: What else do you need me to do?
(…listening without judgement…)
Body: Don’t get too busy and forget to eat. It makes me cranky.
I remind myself that the point of the conversation is to find out what my body needs TODAY.
Not yesterday, not tomorrow.
Just RIGHT NOW.
And all my body asked of me was to be hydrated and fed.
It didn’t yell at me.
It didn’t call me names.
It didn’t drag me over the coals for all the bad things I’ve done to it.
My body lovingly, and quietly stated what it wanted from me for today.
(Back to quiet, ready to hear what else my body had to say…)
Me: Ok Body, I promise to drink water and remember to feed you today. What else would you like me to know?
Body: I really appreciate the quiet space you made to talk to me today. It makes me feel loved.
(I blush again…my body is so sweet & nice, not angry or hateful for my past transgressions…)
Me: You’re welcome. I love you. Thank you for supporting me as I build my business.
Body: I love you too.
And with that, I felt complete and understood the conversation was over.
I opened my eyes and was ready to start my day.
I had no idea that my body was so kind and forgiving.
I should really be nicer to her.