Last week I heard something that could have changed my life if I’d heard it earlier.
We were at our kitchen table having dinner with two of our favorite dads and their two young daughters. As the girls were playing, the grown ups were catching up on life, parenting, business, self-acceptance and all that good stuff.
I found myself leaning in when one of the dads shared that in their household they have a strict policy of no one comments on the girls’ bodies.
I truly believe if this had been a policy in the house I grew up in, that things would have turned out very differently. The constant commentary on my body really reinforced that my size, shape, makeup (or lack their of) was the most important thing. The constant talking about starting, breaking or restarting a diet, comparing my shape, weight and size with my siblings’, and putting so much emphasis on how I looked versus what my body could do, how I was feeling, or what I was accomplishing led me to monitor myself through the same lens.
Can you imagine how different your life would have been if you grew up in a home, school or environment where no one commented on your looks, but instead on your progress, your accomplishments, your dreams, or your passion instead?
Then take the same approach for your own self-talk. What if every time you were body bashing, comparing or hating your body, you simply said No; that is no allowed in my house and changed the subject like you can change the channel on the television. Simply hear it and say change or cancel. Whether you have to do it once a day or once every few minutes, each time you do it you will be weakening the pattern and rewriting your destiny.
Loving yourself isn’t about changing yourself. It is about changing the thoughts you have about yourself.
Here are the new rules I’m implementing:
- Don’t comment on other’s bodies. Out loud or in your own head.
- Don’t allow negative self-talk. Change the channel. Ask yourself: What does this have to do with my happiness?
- If someone comments on your body, try a reply like: My appearance is the least interesting thing about me.
- If you want to compliment someone, dig a little deeper and praise their effort, such as: Wow, it seems like you are really working hard on your project! or praise their progress: I heard you are doing great in school / on the team / on your latest project.
Let’s be more aware of how often we talk to each other about our bodies. We think that comments like You’ve lost weight, She’s bigger than her sister, and I need to work on my abs don’t matter, but think about the comments you heard about your body when you were young. Still think it doesn’t matter?
Let’s do better! It’s our time.