Updated: Sep 11
Your self esteem affects not only how you feel emotionally but your physical health as well. If you had abuse in your past, you may not have a good relationship with your body, and self esteem therapy could help you repair that. Also, grief and minority stress can make you neglect your body.
How you treat your body? Do you treat it lovingly, or do you take it for granted? Do you have a loving relationship with it, or do you put it down, get frustrated with it, or ignore it? Do you want to love your body more, so you feel confident? Sometimes we have experiences in life that separate us from our own bodies, and it’s hard to get back into our bodies and fully inhabit them.
Self esteem therapy helps you identify unkind self-comparisons to others
Do you look at magazines, pictures online, or images of perky young models and think you should look like that? When you compare yourself unfavorably to people you see in magazine and on television, you are not even comparing yourself to a realistic picture half the time. Many of those models are airbrushed or altered through AI to look perfect; or they are very hungry teenagers or young people who spend all day on their appearance.
You may spend money and time on your appearance and that's up to you, but at a certain point you will probably feel dissatisfied because you don't look like the image. All these things that you do to your body and that are done to you affect your relationship with your body. You can’t necessarily help what is done to your body in the past, but you can avoid victimization as an adult more readily. You can start to change the way you physically and emotionally interact with your body. Here are suggestions to be kind and loving to ourselves.
Self Esteem Therapy Changes How you See Yourself
First, you can change the way you look at your in the mirror. Instead of picking apart everything that you don’t like and focusing on that, you can instead look for things that you at least find neutral, if not pleasing. Maybe you don’t like one part of your body, but you really like your hair or your eyes.
Spend some time looking at the mere inches focusing on those parts that make you feel neutral to pleasant. Try to love what’s already there and if it’s hard, keep at it. You only get one body, so you might as well try to enjoy being in that body is much as possible.
Notice the chatter in your mind when you do this. If you’re picking yourself apart and criticizing yourself, try to set that aside for the time being. You can always go back to it later, but for now this is not necessary and is actually counterproductive. Just like that time in front of the mirror become a loving time.
Gratitude Leads to Loving Your Body More
Second, express some gratitude towards each part of your body for what it does. This can be hard, especially if you have a chronic illness or pain that doesn’t seem to remit for very long. However, it’s essential to also acknowledge the parts of you that work in the parts of you that are helpful. You might start with your feet and thank them for holding you up or from moving you from point A to point B. Alternatively, you can find a part of your body that is working the way you want it to, and thank it for all the things it allows you to do.
If you’re in a wheelchair and you don’t use your feet, thank them for being there and for completing your legs. You can find at least one thing to be thankful for each part of your body, even those parts that have pain or disability.
They’re all part of you and they’re all essential to who you are. Thank your mind and brain, your torso, etc. Notice what comes up as you do this; do you encounter resistance? If so, allow that resistance to be there and inquire within; what is it trying to tell you? Allow it to be there to keep going anyway. In time, if you keep doing this, your resistance will quiet down and diminish.
Self-esteem therapy changes how you talk to yourself about your body
Third, make a practice of writing down what you say out loud and to yourself about your body. If it helps, carry a notebook around where you can write down what you say. You can also use the notes app in your smart phone if you don’t have paper and pencil handy. Chances are some of what you say will be unkind. When you notice yourself complaining about your body, insulting it, comparing it to others, or in any way talking badly about it, imagine that you’re talking about someone you deeply and tenderly love.
What would that person feel or think if they heard you saying such things about them? Would they still be your friend, lover, etc.? Would it hurt them deeply? But they still want to even know you?
Do you feel proud of your body and yourself? Try it out with self esteem therapy!
Then consider that you are saying that to yourself and that up until now, you are largely unconscious of the way you are talking to yourself. Hopefully, in time it will pain you considerably to hear yourself talk that way. It will be so uncomfortable that it will gradually fall away and be replaced with something more neutral or even something loving.
These are just some ways to start a different dialogue and relationship with your body. Self esteem therapy can help you change that internal dialogue and how you treat and love your body. If you have other ideas about changing your relationship with your body, I would love to hear from you. I’m always interested in learning something new.
If you have trouble making peace with yourself and your body, call me for self esteem therapy at 661-233-6771.