Saturday, March 04, 2006



How do you feel about your body? Very few people are satisfied. If you were abused as a child, particularly sexually abused, odds are you feel as if your body is separate from YOU. Odds are you overeat or under eat or generally try to pretend it doesn’t exist. You may even feel as if your body betrayed you.

Our bodies and our minds are connected. Often the outward appearance is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. The less we like ourselves, the less likely we are to present a pleasant appearance to the world.

I could talk about emotional healing and about how if we do that we can come to value and appreciate our bodies and learn to take care of them. But lots of people talk about that. I’d like to take it from the opposite perspective. If we take care of our bodies, we will feel better about ourselves.

Think about it. If you got a flattering haircut, put on clothes that made you smile, got regular exercise so that you had lots of energy, wouldn’t you feel better inside?

What I am suggesting is that it is possible to make your body your ally. It is possible, by doing what may seem superficial to make the internal you feel much better as well.

I’m not advocating huge, instant changes. I’m advocating small steps that add up to something powerful.

1) Look in your closet and choose a few things you love that you can wear any time you want or need to feel good. (Think how powerful it would be if EVERYTHING in your closet made you feel that way!) If you don’t have anything you love, go find something! If you haven’t got much money, check thrift or secondhand shops. Sometimes there are wonderful clothes there for not much money.

2) Look in your refrigerator and cupboards. Do you have healthy foods at all? Are they healthy foods you love? If not, make a list of foods that are healthy that would feel like a treat to you. Gradually add more and more of them to your meals and odds are you will find yourself eating less and less of things that are not healthy.

3) Get a pedometer. For a while, just observe how many steps a day you take. Then, gradually add more steps. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Just add a few more steps each day until you are up to a significant number. (The ultimate goal is 10,000 steps a day but any extra steps will help you get healthier and happier.)

4) If there is exercise you love, find time to do it. If you don’t like exercise, find something that’s fun that maybe isn’t generally thought of as exercise. All that matters is: Does it get you moving?

5) Smile. Every day do at least three things that make you smile. The more we find genuine reasons to smile the healthier we will be. Literally.

6) Get a flattering haircut. Doesn’t have to be expensive. If you don’t like one, it will grow out and you can try a different place next. I’ve paid $50 and gotten wonderful haircuts and I’ve used coupons and paid $8 and gotten good haircuts. I’m not saying it isn’t worth it to pay more when you can afford it, I am saying that not having much money isn’t a reason not to try.

7) Every day wear something that makes you smile. It can be your clothing, it can be a piece of jewelry, and it can be make up or hair accessories. But choose something that makes you smile. Ideally, everything you wear will make you smile. But at least make sure that something you wear does.

If you take care of yourself physically, it will have a profound impact on your emotional health. If you have ever been neglected or abused physically in ANY way, it is a powerful affirmation to yourself that you do not deserve to have that happen. It is a powerful affirmation to yourself that even if no one took care of you when you were a child, now YOU can and will take care of yourself. YOU can and will keep yourself safe and happy NOW.

Sending safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),

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