It’s a brand new year and if you haven’t already started, it’s time to start figuring out how to love your body. I know this is prime time for headlines that tell you that this is the year you sculpt or chisel your way to your “perfect bod,” but the truth is your body is already perfect. It holds things in it like your brain and your heart, which in turn facilitate all the other processes in your being. It gets you from point A to point B and allows you to read articles like this one. Essentially, it’s the place you inhabit, your special and unique home all for you.
And yet, most of us have such complicated relationships with our bodies. You know the story by now: Magazine covers shame us into believing we shouldn’t wear bikinis unless we look like a Victoria’s Secret model, that we should never wear crop tops when we’ve got post-baby tiger stripes (or anything other than perfectly flat abs, really); We are shamed about our weight, our curves (or lack thereof), our body hair, our skin color... No part of our bodies seems to be immune from scrutiny, both from the messages about what makes a body "good and valuable" that swirl around us all the time, and from our own brains once we've been alive for enough years to internalize those messages. (The truth is, we only have to be told that we are not hot enough for a relatively short period of time before we believe it intrinsically enough to keep that message alive all by ourselves.)
If this kind of body-image brainwashing sounds like...ya know...totally unfair hell that you didn't consensually sign up for and would prefer to opt out of immediately, there are actual, tangible steps you can take. If you want to stop perpetuating all the self-loathing messages that were essentially told to you to sell night cream and bras, then a good place to start is with the basic building blocks of your inner dialogue. If you really want to start committing to having a healthier relationship with your body, here’s a list of things you absolutely shouldn't say that might help you on your quest for self-love (as told by someone who is on nothing resembling a high horse, and is always fighting the good fight to follow her own damn advice where this stuff is concerned).