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The Destructive Power of Negative Body Talk and How to Overcome It

Apr 17, 2008
How often do you look in the mirror and say to yourself:

"I'm so fat!"

"My butt is way too big."

"My thighs are flabby; I definitely should not be seen in a bathing suit."

"My hair is flat; why can't I have hair like hers?"

"My nose is too large. I wonder how much plastic surgery costs?"

How do you feel when you have these Negative Body Thoughts? Inadequate, worthless, like a failure? Every time you engage in Negative Body Thoughts, you reinforce a sense of not being good enough.

Negative Body Thoughts can also be aimed at others. When you meet other people, do you ever think:

"She's thinner than I am, so she is more successful and more beautiful."

"She should exercise more; I bet she doesn't belong to a gym."

"I have a smaller waist-line than she does, so I am slightly better."

We constantly and chronically compare ourselves to other women, sizing up our self-worth by our relative body size.

This Negative Body Talk is particularly cruel and hurtful among children, teens, and adolescents. Young women grow up learning that their self-worth is directly related to their clothing size.

In order to change how we feel about ourselves, we need to change how we talk to ourselves. If we want to feel vibrant, energetic, and creative, we need to view ourselves with love, compassion, acceptance, and understanding. If we want our daughters to grow up feeling strong, confident, and worthwhile, we need to teach them how to talk to themselves in positive ways.

Here are some tips for changing your body talk:

- Become aware of your habitual thought patterns. Most of us don't even realize what we are thinking most of the time. Train yourself to observe your thoughts and their influence on your wellbeing.

- Once you become aware of your thoughts, take steps to change them. Whenever you notice a negative body thought, gently redirect your attention to a positive body thought instead. When you notice yourself criticizing your body or other people's bodies, replace the criticism with something positive.

- Learn to meditate. During the process of meditation you turn your attention inward and focus on your breath or a mantra. Through meditation you will learn to witness your thoughts and over time you'll be able to replace your negative thought processes with more positive ones.

Refuse to participate in negative body talk! If you notice your friends talking negatively about their bodies or anyone else's, refuse to participate! Instead, talk about what is beautiful, meaningful, and worthwhile in everyone you know.

If you're a parent, teach your child positive self-talk. Teach her how to affirm her body and herself with her thoughts, words, and actions. She will reap the benefit for her entire lifetime!

When you learn to talk about your body and yourself in a positive light, you will slowly cultivate a relationship with yourself that is full of love, joy, enthusiasm, and vitality. Decide today to make positive body talk a habit and to teach your children how to love and appreciate their bodies too.
About the Author
Sarah Maria is a body-image expert and personal empowerment coach who helps people love their bodies no matter how they look. She leads workshops and works one-on-one in consulting sessions to assist people in overcoming hatred and dissatisfaction with their bodies using holistic healing and spiritual principles.
Get her FREE e-book: "5 Steps to Loving What You See in the Mirror"
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