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Body Acceptance: Loving the Skin You’re In

The idea of body acceptance sounds so simple, and yet we know it isn’t. Shifts in behavior over the new year are testament to that. Gym memberships soar. Renewed healthy eating commitments are strong. 

As we look forward to days at the beach and lament overindulging during the holidays, it’s high time for body scrutiny. 

Here I will ask you to just stop. Stop with the scrutiny. Stop with the comparison: to others and to some version of yourself from the past. Stop with the self-criticism. Stop disliking whatever aspects of your own body that you have decided aren’t good enough. 

It’s time for an attitude adjustment. It’s time to start loving the skin you’re in. 

Step Away from the Mirror, and the Scale, and Look at What Really Matters

It is understandable to want to look nice, to look good. But what does that mean, really? And why do so many of us believe that there’s some standard form that we must fit in order to believe that we do look good? 

Put another way, why is it so tough for so many of us to like the way we look? To accept and even be happy with the body we move in all day every day? 

One clear reason is that the messages that come at us regularly tell us that we shouldn’t be happy with how we are today. Those messages say we’re too big, or too small, or not tall enough, or don’t have the right proportions. And on it goes. 

But here’s the thing: you, each one of us, can take a step back and set the standard for ourselves. We can each decide that our own body is A-OK, even great. There is no universal law dictating the look we should aspire to. 

So I encourage you to take a moment to consider: What if I decided that I look good, today, just as I am? What if I dropped the chatter about six-pack abs, bigger this or small that? What if I stopped believing there was something wrong with with cellulite, stretch marks, and wrinkles? Because, who says? Who makes the rules? Why can't you just started appreciating the body you have and all the amazing things it does? 

The reality is, you can. So, take a breath and try. 

You Can Love the Skin You’re In and Still Want to Improve Your Wellness

There is always room for improving your wellness, and your body is continually shifting and changing. So it is a good thing to want to stay on top of your health and fitness. 

That does not mean you should embark on a journey of never liking where you are at. It often feels as if we believe we need to be dissatisfied with how our bodies are today in order to want to improve them for tomorrow. 

The reality is that you can actually have both: satisfaction today and satisfaction tomorrow. 

You Can Be Not Totally Happy with Where You Are Today without Beating Yourself Up

Alright, so what if you’re not quite ready to fully embrace body acceptance today? Well, maybe just stopped focusing on it. Give yourself a break. You can hang out in neutral. Just because you aren’t ready to love the skin you’re in doesn’t mean you have to hate it. Just be.

Said another way, if you aren’t happy with where your body is today, that doesn’t mean it’s time to ratchet up the negative self-talk. A desire to make some changes to your body composition doesn’t need to spiral into anything more than, Hey, you'd like to put some energy into that part of your life.   

Your Body Is Unique to You

Something important to keep in mind: your genetics are yours and yours alone. While your body may shift and change over time, there are certain shapes and features that are what they are. Your feet are whatever size they were meant to be. Your height, too. And the way you’re shaped is in many ways the way you will always be shaped. 

That is true for you and it is true for every single other person on the planet. 

We each then are given the opportunity to love and accept this unique vessel or not. And the beautiful thing about that is that you actually do have the power to accept yourself just the way you are. We all do. 

It Can’t Ever Hurt to Try

To repeat, for many of us, body acceptance is simple but not easy. And it's not just a one-time deal: your body will continue to change over all the years of your life. And as we’re all aware, the collective voice of our culture doesn’t have particularly nice things to say about older bodies. 

So get to practicing. Give it a try. The better you are at it today, the easier it'll be tomorrow. Start with just a few minutes, and decide to like the skin you’re in. It’s OK if you don’t really believe it at first. 

Because at some point, you’re bound to feel a shift. A joy and relaxation in understanding that it’s OK to like yourself just as you are. You’ll realize you can make the rules and you can actually let yourself love the skin you’re in. 

It up to you to decide.

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