I have a friend who is one of the most generous, kind, and hilarious people I know, but for the first year we knew one another we hated each other. We were in law school together, training to be barristers, and I don’t if we hated each other because of all the competition, because we had such different personalities, or if we just couldn’t see the other’s value while we were on the course. After the course finished we ended up on a work trip together, and realized that we got on really well. Since then, we’ve developed a deep friendship. She brings joy to my life constantly and is there to support me in the worst times.
I have had a similar relationship with my body. I spent over three decades fighting against my body and didn’t stop to think why. I never took the time to focus on how much stronger I am when I work with my body instead of against it. I didn’t have a hallelujah moment with my body the same way I did with my friend, though. My new relationship with my body took time and understanding from both of us but now I see my body for its strengths. I see how it can help me live a better life for longer. I don’t treat my body like a temple–I treat it like a friend. I see its flaws and love it anyway. I compliment it, I take care of it, and sometimes I give it treats. Since I changed my attitude toward my body it has rewarded me with some of the most amazing experiences.
The journey from enemy to friend with my body took years. It started when I began running in my early thirties. There was no dramatic shift but I started to pay attention to what my body was telling me. If my body wanted hydration or fuel than I drank or ate. If my body needed a rest day then I took a rest day and didn’t shame my body by calling it lazy. At the same time, I began to notice that if I believed my body could do something, then it usually could. I would believe my body could finish an 8 mile run and it could. I think we all get that it’s easier to accomplish something when someone believes you can and I found it worked the same with my body. I began to focus on my body’s positives. I realised how strong I was, and though I still wanted to be a skinny girl at this point, I began to see the beauty in my large, strong body.
I also started to compliment my body. It may seem silly but to someone who hated their body for so long this was revolutionary to me. My thoughts would go something along the lines of “I may be a fat cow but my calves are really shapely and I like them.” It’s amazing how looking toward the positive can snowball and lead you to see more and more positives. I used to really struggle with receiving compliments but as I started to give them to myself it became easier to accept them from other people. Now if someone tells me I look great in a dress I often respond with something like “Thanks, it makes my butt look amazing!” Not only do I believe the compliments from others, but I also add in one of my own. I’ve noticed this has also motivated me to give genuine compliments more often to others. I like to believe this will create a positive environment where we can focus on our own and others positives more.
Have you ever tried noticing your positives and giving yourself a compliment? I know it’s not easy but I’m going to challenge you to give yourself a compliment every day this week and see how you feel at the end. I’d love to hear how you get on with this challenge. Please get in touch in the comment section below, through email, Instagram, or Facebook.