Ever said or thought, ‘I hate my body’?
Is your main drive for doing exercise and healthy eating coming from hating your body?
But even though you hate your body being in its current state you still struggle to motivate yourself to change it?
Maybe there have been times when you nearly cracked it, but exercise and healthy eating never really quite felt like the real you. In fact, it was an exhausting chore, an act you just couldn’t sustain.
So, now you’re in a position where you’ve failed (probably several times) at changing your body. It’s starting to seem like you never will.
The worst part is, you can’t accept your body as it is either.
Living in a body you hate is depressing to say the least.
Now, forget about that for a minute, and humour me by thinking about the following weird scenario…
The Hated Creature
An “average” person is picked off the street at random and given a pet to take care of.
The pet can be a dog, cat, bird, whatever. Let’s choose the species of animal you’d most like as a pet and imagine it’s one of those.
Unfortunately, the person we gave this pet to does not like it at all.
They find it ugly, believe it looks horrible to other people, and also that this animal is guilty of just being plain “wrong”.
Not only can they not bring themselves to love this pet, they don’t even find it acceptable.
As you’d expect, having this creature living with them is making this person’s life pretty miserable.
And what kind of care do you think they give this pet? Not great, eh?
Sure, guilt and a sense of responsibility might make the person give the pet some care, especially if they feel like someone is monitoring them, but it’ll be the bare minimum they think they can get away with. Any care they do give the pet will be given grudgingly, probably with mounting resentment toward the hated creature.
They feel like caring for this ugly pet is such a chore, they’ll do anything to avoid bothering with it.
Maybe they try giving the pet a pill which is supposed to make it not need their time or effort. Maybe they just ignore it, turning up the TV so they can’t hear its cries for attention, avoiding eye contact whenever they see it.
As the pet’s health and wellbeing declines further due to the poor care, the owner finds the pet even less and less loveable and less worthy of attention, so gives it even less care and so the downward spiral keeps spinning.
The Loving Home
Let’s take the pet away from that person and give it to someone else.
You know how it goes with pets – a creature one person thinks is horrid can be seen quite differently by another person with a different attitude.
Person Two does indeed have a different attitude to the pet. They love it!
Sure, they know this pet might not win any rosettes at a show, but they don’t care about that. This person doesn’t believe that looking “perfect” is what pets are for. To this person, the pet is beautiful because of who it is and the connection they have with it, no matter how it looks.
This person does the very best they can to nurture the pet, to keep it healthy and give it a happy life. What’s more, taking care of the pet is not a chore to for this person – in fact, caring for the pet feels like a pleasure and privilege to them, because they love it.
And soon the pet loves the new owner right back.
A wonderful upward spiral occurs – as the pet receives great care it gets more and more vibrant of and full of health, which makes the owner enjoy having the pet even more, so they care for it even more, and on the beautiful story goes.
See where I’m going with this?
Re-adopting your body
Let’s bring this back to you. Which kind of caretaker are you being for your body?
Take a second to think about that.
If you are hating on your body, the hate will continue to perpetuate itself and will keep on making you miserable.
You might think that your body needs fixing and that if you stop hating on it you won’t be motivated to do the exercise or eat in a way that produces the changes you want.
This is faulty thinking.
In the rare cases where people manage to leverage hate to compel themselves to make healthy changes, they hardly ever sustain them. They continue to hate their bodies because they don’t know how they’d sustain their new body shape without that self-shame as motivation.
Consequently, they never feel happy with their bodies, no matter how they look.
It’s probably not the first time you’ve heard this message, but I hope this will be the time when the truth of it really sinks in.
Coming to love your body after years of self-criticism and hate requires a lot of adjustment. But keep reminding yourself of this truth:
Hating your body is a very ineffective way of bringing the happiness and contentment you crave into your life.
Loving your body is far more effective.
You probably have work to do before you really come to love your body. But as a starting point, simply staying awake to fact that hating on your body is not going to help you will help immensely.
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