For years I avoided mirrors, deflected compliments, even deleted tagged photos of myself on social media, all because of my shame and insecurities. I was at war with myself. The enemy, my body.
When things weren’t going well in my life, my body was to blame. I didn’t make the dance team in high school. I blamed my body. That guy never called back—my body was the reason why, so I thought. “If only I were thinner, I’d be more successful, more popular, and I’d finally meet my soul mate.” It never ended. No matter what size my body, whether I was 40 pounds underweight or 40 pounds over, I always felt unworthy.
Can You Relate?
Maintaining a strong self-love practice—i.e., one that helps you feel aligned with your true self—can sometimes feel less like a necessity and more like a chore. We all know taking care of ourselves is important, but sometimes no matter how hard we try, self-sabotaging habits, guilt, and shame will set in.
[Read: “3 Ways to Find Your Way Back to Self-Compassion.”]
The problem was never my body or its physical weight; it was my belief about it. I believed that the way I looked was more important than how I felt, so pain stayed with me for years. But all that changed when I made falling in love with myself, regardless of my physical size, my full-time mission. One of the tools that helped me the most was reciting affirmations.
Affirmations are powerful and positive healing phrases that help to retrain the brain. Whenever my inner critic tries to take over, I catch it by flipping the damaging voice to one of more love and compassion. So, a thought like, “You are such a failure. You will never get it right,” can turn into “You are doing the best you can, and you are enough as you are.” Much healthier and more loving, right?
I think we can agree the world needs more love, compassion, and kindness right now. Let’s start with ourselves.
Go-To Body-Love Mantras:
- The only approval I need is my own.
- I appreciate my body and accept it for what it is.
- I am not damaged or wounded. There is nothing wrong with me.
- Self-love is not about how I look or what I do—it’s about how I live.
- I have unique gifts and talents that the world needs.
- How I feel is more important than how I look.
- I am vibrant and in picture-perfect health.
- I speak kindly to myself. I am my own friend.
- My body is my sanctuary. I treat it kindly with love.
- I love my body because of what it has overcome.
- I am compassionate with myself. It takes time to heal.
- I appreciate who I see in the mirror.
- I retreat inward for inspiration.
- Self-love is a practice I show up for daily.
- I love and accept me.
- I honor my body’s needs.
These affirmations for self-love and care are from Shannon Kaiser’s book The Self-Love Experiment.
Along with affirmations, try these three exercises for being kinder to yourself.