Overcoming body shaming and negative self-talkApr 25, 2023
Conquer Body Shaming and Negative Self-Talk with this Powerful Podcast Episode
Discover how to overcome body shaming and negative self-talk in this insightful episode of SELF Guided. Learn transformative strategies to silence your inner critic, embrace self-care practices, and redefine beauty standards to celebrate self-love.
- Transform negative thoughts into positive ones with powerful tools
- Explore self-care practices like meditation, yoga, and journaling
- Redefine beauty standards and cultivate self-love
Don't forget to subscribe to SELF Guided for more empowering episodes on self-love and acceptance!
You can listen to the full episode HERE
Welcome everyone to Self-Guided season two, episode two. In this episode, we'll be discussing the topic of overcoming body shaming and negative self-talk, both of which are highly prevalent in today's society.
It's important to recognize that body shaming and negative self-talk have a significant impact on our mental health, and we need to address these issues head-on. So today, we'll be exploring the nature of body shaming and negative self-talk, understanding their impact, and discussing strategies to overcome them. Let's dive right in.
Understanding Body Shaming and Negative Self-Talk
First, let's define what body shaming and negative self-talk are. Body shaming is the act of criticizing or mocking someone's physical appearance, while negative self-talk refers to the inner dialogue we have with ourselves that's often overly critical or harsh.
Body shaming is when someone criticizes your appearance or body in any way. It can be direct — like when someone calls you fat or ugly — or indirect (like when someone makes fun of another person's body).
Negative self-talk happens when you talk down about yourself to others and also to yourself. For example, if you tell yourself things like "I'm not good enough," "I'm too fat/too skinny/not ripped enough," etc., that counts as negative self-talk.
Now, where do these harmful behaviors come from? Body shaming and negative self-talk can stem from societal standards, media influences, and even personal experiences. For example, you might have been teased about your weight as a child, or you've seen countless ads promoting unattainable beauty standards. Real-life examples include negative comments about someone's body shape, size, or appearance, or internal thoughts such as "I'm too fat" or "I'll never be attractive enough."
These behaviors are often learned and not often questioned. I know that especially for my own negative self-talk, it was learned from my environment and community. What was learned externally became internalized and well practiced to the point that my habitual thoughts were simply about something I could or should improve about my body. Your may be different of course but the point is that I repeated these thoughts so often that they became habit, unquestioned beliefs and the first thing my brain offers me when I’m in a new situation for instance.
Your body is beautiful, but it’s up to you to learn to appreciate it
What I didn’t know, that I’m hoping to impart to you now is that your body is beautiful, but it's up to you to learn how to appreciate it. My body was always beautiful and it was always my responsibility to appreciate it.
You can make a shift and it doesn't have to be that difficult. The problem is that we're all programmed to look for the negative in ourselves and others, so we don't see our own beauty by default, by habit of the brain.
This isn't just about being skinny or fat; this is about feeling good about yourself as a whole person, inside and out -- not just what you look like on the outside but also how your mind works (or doesn't work) and how you treat others around you.
The relationship you have with your body mirrors the relationship you have with yourself as a person and with others. That was a very hard awakening for me, as someone who strives to be kind and caring, to see that I had been so very mean to my body. It was also a gift, the more accepting I became of my body, the more accepting I became of myself and so on.
The Impact of Body Shaming and Negative Self-Talk
So, why is it essential to address body shaming and negative self-talk? Well, they can have detrimental effects on our mental health. They can lead to depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, among other issues. It's crucial that we overcome these challenges to improve our mental well-being.
At the risk of repeating myself, it is time, energy and money ill spent that keeps you from showing up the way you want to, be that on a stage, sharing your message as a healer or coach, or in your personal life.
Strategies for Overcoming Body Shaming and Negative Self-Talk
Now, let's talk about some actionable steps you can take to accept your body as it is.
Let’s begin with preventive care, before anyone says anything, before your own brain offers something negative about your body.
Get to know yourself and your body, get grounded in the knowing of who you are that you already know for a fact. Get super solid here. Allow it to become what you rest on when you experience body shaming or negative self-talk.
Self-care is also crucial in overcoming body shaming and negative self-talk. Set aside time for yourself, engage in activities that make you appreciative of the body you have, and surround yourself with positive influences. This might include moving your body, changing who you follow on social media, or spending time with supportive friends and family who speak kindly of your body.
Lastly, consider tools and resources that can help you in your journey. Books such as "The Gifts of Imperfection" by Brené Brown or "Body Kindness" by Rebecca Scritchfield can offer valuable insights and encouragement. And never underestimate the power of support groups, either in-person or online, which can provide a safe space to share your feelings and experiences with others who understand.
Now when someone’s said something or your own brain has started on you about your body, how it feels, how it looks, how it moves, whatever it may be, you’ll require a different approach.
Challenge the intended body-shaming or negative thoughts. When you catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk, counteract it with question. For example, if you think, "I don't like my legs," challenge the thought by breaking it apart, like “is it everything about my legs that I’m not fond of or is there space for the statement to have some nuance?” You might notice how much you fancy a certain shape or maybe your skin tone or softness or any other quality. This nuance you’ll have uncovered will be the openness you need to counteract the body-shaming or negative self-talk.
Thoughts are a little funny; because they happen in the brain, we tend to believe them as fact but they’re not. They are perception, opinion, appraisals, judgements. Have you ever changed your mind about someone or something? Sure you have, and you can do the same about those thoughts about your body.
What about when it comes from someone else, in the form of body-shaming? You can’t control someone else, you can’t help them change their mind. What if they’re wrong about you, your body? Could you be ok with them just being wrong, misinformed? The same could be applied to your own brain, could you be wrong about your body? I think that opens the possibility for change and curiosity if you’re willing to see it and let go of what’s harming you.
Body shaming and negative self-talk are things we all experience at one time or another, but it's possible to make a shift and it doesn't have to be that difficult.
Body shaming is a form of bullying that can have a negative effect on your mental health. Negative self-talk can also be harmful, so it's important to be aware of what you're thinking about yourself. It may seem like an impossible task at first, but you'll find that once you start noticing your thoughts, there will be less room for them in the future.
Just like learning any new skill or habit, it takes time to develop new patterns and behaviors (including brain habits)—but with practice these things become easier!
The fact is, your body is beautiful and you need to learn how to appreciate it. That doesn't mean you have to be perfect--in fact, I think that striving for perfectionism can be harmful. The point is that you could feel good about yourself and the way your body looks right now, not in some far-off future where everything has been worked out perfectly. Because let's face it: no one ever gets there! So instead of focusing on what could be better about yourself or wishing that others would change their opinions which won't happen, focus instead on doing something positive today that makes yourself happy (like moving your body in a way that is available to you and feel enjoyable)
Understanding body shaming and negative self-talk, recognizing their impact on our mental health, and implementing strategies to overcome them are essential in embracing our bodies as they are. As with most journeys, it’s important to prioritize self-care and self-compassion with a sprinkle of curiosity.
I highly encourage you to play with some of the strategies highlighted on today’s podcast. Don't hesitate to seek support if needed, as it's crucial for developing a more positive and accepting relationship with your body.
Thank you so much for spending your time with me today, until next time.
I like to send whimsically folded class notes with all my best feminine embodiment tips and tools so you too can remember who you are at your core.
If you want to receive these straight to your inbox, sign up here:
I hate SPAM and I value your rights. I will never sell your information, for any reason.