Years ago, when I got divorced, I moved into a small apartment. Alone. I didn’t think I’d be there long, so I never really unpacked. I didn’t hang the art that I loved, didn’t paint the one ugly yellow bathroom wall, didn’t make myself comfortable. Maybe I felt I didn’t deserve to be comfortable, because divorce, is not a comfortable place.
My sister-in-law took me aside. Make this your home, she said. It doesn’t matter if you’re here for a week or ten years, you need to feel at home everyday of your life. And it was great advice. It’s never good, and doesn’t make any sense to feel like an outsider in your own space.
I do the same thing when I gain weight, I treat my body like it’s someplace I’m visiting, but don’t want to hang around too long. Problem is, I really don’t know how long this temporary situation may last. It could be a matter of months, or it could be years.
I bet you’ve done this same thing. You keep thinking you’ll drop those extra pounds in no time, so you keep a closet full of clothes that are one or two sizes too small and get by with those few items that you can still manage to squeeze into.
Well, for me, this has caused me a lot of stress. Getting dressed can become a major ordeal when you have a closet full of nothing to wear. But it’s getting old and it’s not really working for me anymore. So I’m going to make this body my home. I’ve made up my mind to love it, in this moment, for all that it is, all that it does, and I am going to treat it with the respect it deserves. And that includes dressing it in a way that is comfortable, flattering, and doesn’t cut off my circulation!
Going from resenting our body to accepting our body requires us to make a few changes and think a bit differently. Below are 6 simple things we can do that will allow more room for self-acceptance and contentment.
- Buy clothing that fits. Don’t worry about the size on the label. Labels, numbers on a scale, mirrors and photos that don’t truly reflect our moving, living, ever-changing, wonderful selves. When clothing fits properly, it can flatter, feel comfortable, and make you feel self-confident. So, loosen up that waistband, get a roomier jacket, and breathe.
- Use daily affirmations. Every morning, look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are beautiful. Or, Today I am perfect, just as I am. Or, I am healthy, happy, and have an amazing life. Make up your own. Just make sure it is positive, filled with love, and be consistent.
- Fall in love – with yourself. Look in the mirror and say to yourself, I love you. Go ahead, say it, I love you. It might feel awkward, narcissistic, and strange at first, but do it anyway. You might laugh. You might cry. But this is a breakthrough moment. And telling yourself that you love you is powerful medicine.
- Move your body. Appreciate how it twists, bends, performs tasks, takes you from here to there. Dance in the kitchen, wrestle on the floor with your kids, walk the dog, play hopscotch, rock a hula hoop, scrub the tub, anything, just move.
- Quit comparing yourself to others. By now most of us know that beauty magazines, celebrities, and other unrealistic and unattainable body images that we’ve been force fed for so long, are not real. But when we see them on a regular basis, we can feel that everyone but us has a perfect body, great hair, and a Calvin Klein model of a boyfriend to die for. They don’t.
- Pay attention to how you talk about your body. Do you sit around with friends and whine about how fat you are, how much weight you’ve gained, how you found new cellulite on places you didn’t even know could harbor cellulite? Don’t trash your bodies as a form of social interaction. Remove from your vocabulary the words fat, diet, hate, ugly, disgust, and any other negatives you might use when describing your body. Watch how your mood, your energy, and maybe even your body, might change.
So, no matter where you are, in a house or apartment you don’t love, a size of clothing that you’re not happy with – or wherever else you may be in your life that doesn’t feel like it’s a place you want to stay, it is where you are at this place in time. So for now, embrace it and make it yours. Because, like they say, there’s no place like home.
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