After being discharged from eating disorder treatment, I floated somewhere in pseudo-recovery for a few years before I discovered intuitive eating and Health At Every Size. Something that kept me in that state of pseudo-recovery was not having any concept of body kindness. Positive affirmations have been the daily watering I need to keep cultivating body kindness.
Here’s the catch. You gotta believe ’em. And that means you have to find affirmations that make sense to YOU. For me, writing ‘you are beautiful’ on my bathroom mirror was not helpful. Doing this was though.
Another thing? Your positive affirmations don’t have to be body specific. I love the Psalms and many of the things I repeat to myself come from the Psalms, often set to music.
This post is not a how-to. What helped me might not help you in the slightest. But, that being said, here are a couple things I’ve found helpful, calming, and healing:
- Create a body positive Pinterest board. Kylie (@immaeatthat) inspired me with her board and I started off by pinning from her board. (You can check out my board here.) If you keep a journal, you can make a page of positive affirmations in your journal too! Laying in the grass with my phone and/or journal collecting positive affirmations was one of my favorite forms of self-care last summer.
- Choose one affirmation a week to focus on. I like to write one at the beginning of my weekly schedule in my bullet journal. It’s a place I refer to often, so I’ll be sure to see it at least once a day.
- Choose a time of day to say it/think about it. Or maybe for you, it’s a place, not a time. Maybe you want to write it out on a notecard and tape it to your mirror for whenever you brush your teeth. You do you.
Structured use of positive affirmations like the above is well and good. It helps. But if you’re like me, you rarely remember your positive affirmations when you actually need them.
You repeat them in the morning over coffee.
And then a few hours later, you feel miserable after the catastrophe that is jean shopping. Or seeing so-and-so’s new diet/exercise regimen on Facebook.
Several hours of misery later, you (and by you I mean me) remember, oh yeah, body kindness is a thing.
For times like that, this helped me; give it a whirl if you want to: every time you have a bad body image thought, replace it with a positive affirmation. You’ll probably forget sometimes. And it will probably feel fake at first. That’s okay. Sometimes, the action has to come before the mental shift.
Just how a plant needs more than water to grow and thrive, body kindness needs more than positive affirmations to flourish. Praying and growing spiritually, connecting with others who embody a positive body image, and learning more about IE and HAES–I needed all these things too.
But positive affirmations are gentle first start to nurturing and rooting yourself in body kindness.
Questions for YOU: Do you use positive affirmations? What are your favorites?
Linking up for Thinking out Loud!