Sadly, as we often hear at The Depression Project, it's very, very common for people to struggle with "body self-love" - and in many cases, to actually hate their body. In particular, according to members of The Depression Project's community, this is often as a result of, for example:
- Constantly being shown images of "perfect bodies" on television, in magazines and on social media, and feeling as if you don't look good in comparison;
- Having your weight being shamed, criticised and/or made fun of by others;
- Comparing yourself to other people who are thinner, fitter and/or more muscular than you.
And, if you can relate, then in this blog post, we're going to help you to feel more positive about your body!
In particular, we're going to do this by sharing with you:
- Why body positivity is so important;
- A video interview with professional counsellor & Depression Project co-founder Mathew Baker titled The Art Of Unconditional Body Self-Love - in which he talks about, among other things, what creates body self-hatred; unhealthy factors upon which to predicate "body self-love"; and some alternative, healthy reasons to love your body.
- We'll share with you 5 ways to cognitively reframe the negative thought "I hate my body" - which will also help you to view your body in more positive ways.
- And, last but not least, we'll share with you a variety of quotes about body positivity - which will help reinforce everything we'll talk about in this blog post.
And, with all of that being said, as soon as you're ready, let's get started!
Part 1: Why Body Positivity Is So Important
As we often talk about at The Depression Project, feeling positive about your body is important for a wide variety of reasons. In particular, these include:
- Body self-love is a core component of your overall self-love. Consequently, the more positive you feel about your body, the higher your self-worth is likely to be.
- When you feel positive about your body, you're much less likely to focus on physical imperfections, and shame-, criticise- and abuse yourself for them (actions which, as we often hear from members of The Depression Project's community, can fuel negative thoughts, feelings of worthlessness, and deepened symptoms of depression).
- The more positive you feel about your body, the more likely you are to treat your body with respect, love and kindness - such as by, for example, making sure that your body gets rest when it's feeling tired, putting good food into your body, taking care of your skin, tending to your body when it's in pain, etcetera. And, treating your body with respect, love and kindness like so can of course have a wealth of health benefits.
Part 2: Body Positivity & The "Art Of Unconditional Body Self-Love"
Now that we've talked about the benefits of body positivity and the reasons why it's important, it's time to dive into how to cultivate body self-love. And, to help you do this, we'd like to share a video interview with professional counsellor & Depression Project co-founder Mathew Baker titled "The Art Of Unconditional Body Self-Love" - in which he talks about:
- What creates body self-hatred;
- Unhealthy factors upon which to predicate body self-love - which unfortunately, can fuel body negativity and body self-hatred;
- A variety of alternative, healthy reasons to love your body - that can contribute to you feeling significantly better about yourself;
- And more!
To watch this video, simply click the "play" button below - and if you feel so inclined, grab a pen and paper to take some notes!
Part 3: Cultivating Body Positivity By Reframing The Negative Thought "I Hate My Body" In More Positive, Self-Loving Ways
If you struggle with body negativity, then you've likely had the negative thought "I hate my body" (or some variation thereof). And, to help you feel more positive about your body, then on top of everything Mathew talked about in the video above, we'd now like to share with you five ways that you can reframe this thought.
What Is Cognitive Reframing, And How Can It Help You Break Free Of The Negative Thought "I Hate My Body"?
Cognitive reframing is a common cognitive behavioural therapy strategy1 that involves:
- Looking at something in an alternative way (e.g. in a more positive way, a more self-compassionate way, etcetera);
- As a result of looking at something in an alternative way, it can result in you feeling an alternative way about that something (e.g. more positive, more confident, more self-accepting, etcetera).
With that being said, as promised, let's now look at five different ways that you can reframe the negative thought "I hate my body" - in order to help you feel more positive about your body and cultivate body self-love.
1. Reframing The Negative Thought "I Hate My Body" By Acknowledging All The Good It Does For You
Like Mathew spoke about in his "Art Of Body Self-Love" interview, your body can - and should! - be appreciated for so much more than just its appearance. After all, there are so many things that your body does for you, and if you're conscious of these things, then it can help you view your body in a much more positive, healthy, self-loving way.
With this in mind, the negative thought "I hate my body" could be reframed to, for example:
"I'm grateful for my body and all that it allows me to do - including walk anywhere I want thanks to my legs; eat anything I want thanks to my digestive system; hug my loved ones thanks to my arms; do arts and crafts thanks to my hands; watch my favourite television show thanks to my eyes; fight off sickness thanks to my immune system; and so, so, so many other things as well."
2. Reframing The Negative Thought "I Hate My Body" By Acknowledging The Beauty In It
It's common for one or more perceived flaws or imperfections to sabotage the way that someone feels about their body - to such as extent that they may be so focused on those perceived flaws or imperfections that they completely disregard all of the nice, beautiful, lovely parts of their body, and think "I hate my body" as a result. And, if you can relate, then it can help to try to bring more awareness to the parts of your body that you actually like.
With this in mind, the negative thought "I hate my body" could be reframed to, for example:
- "While my body may not be perfect, I like the colour of my hair, the shape of my fingers, the smoothness of my skin, and the way my smile looks when I'm happy."
If your body self-hatred is so strong that you can't think of a single aspect of your body that you like, then we recommend trying to think of parts of your body that you don't hate - which can still help you soften the thought "I hate my body" to, for example:
- "I don't hate my whole body because I don't mind my ears."
- "While I don't like most of my body, my teeth look OK."
3. Reframing The Negative Thought "I Hate My Body" In A More Self-Compassionate Way
Like we've said, "I hate my body" is a very negative, self-critical thought to think. However, if you're able to reframe it in a more self-compassionate way, then it can help you to feel significantly more positive about your body.
- If you think "I hate my body" while looking at yourself in the mirror after a very stressful month where you've neglected going to the gym, eaten comfort food and consequently gained a few kilos, then a self-compassionate way of reframing this thought could be: "while I've unfortunately dipped below the standards I have for myself this month, it's understandable given everything I've been going through, and not something I should hate myself or my body over. Rather, it just means that next month, I should try to re-prioritise my health, and get myself back on the right track."
- If you think "I hate my body" because you're much heavier than you'd like to be, then a self-compassionate way of reframing this thought could be: "while I may not be happy with my weight right now, a person's weight is not constant, and can change over time. And, if I choose to prioritise living a healthier lifestyle moving forwards, then over time, I'll gradually become more and more happy with my weight."
4. Reframing The Negative Thought "I Hate My Body" By Letting Go Of Double Standards
It's common for people to be much more critical of themselves than they would ever be of others - or in other words, to hold themselves to harsher, often unfair standards that they would never, ever hold anybody else to. And, if you can relate, then it can help to let go of such "double standards", and try to start viewing yourself through the same lens that you look at everybody else through.
In this way, for example, if you think "I hate my body" in response to looking at your stretch marks in the mirror, then you could reframe this thought to whatever you would tell your best friend if they told you that they hated their body because of their stretch marks - which might be, for example: "you are still beautiful and lovable in spite of your stretch marks".
5. Reframing The Thought "I Hate My Body" By Considering What Your "Highest Self" Would Tell You
When you’re thinking the negative thought “I hate my body”, another helpful way of reframing it can be to replace it with whatever your “highest self” would tell you in that moment – i.e. that part of you who gives you the love you deserve, who wants nothing but the best for you, and who’s compassionate with you even when you’re not compassionate with yourself.
For example, if you think "I hate my body" after a celebratory dinner where you feel bloated, your highest self may say "while it's generally good to prioritise your health, it's OK to make room in life to indulge as well, especially when it's shared with people you care about and a great memory is made. These moments should be savoured and enjoyed guilt-free. You're a self-disciplined person, and you'll go back to your natural healthy habits tomorrow."
Part 4: Quotes About Body Positivity
So, now that we’ve covered why body positivity is so important, what you can do to cultivate more body self-love, and how you can reframe the negative thought “I hate my body” in order to feel more positive about your body, we’d now like to share a variety of quotes with you about body positivity. While not all of these are guaranteed to resonate with you, we hope that at least some of them do, and that the ones that do help to reinforce and remind you of some of the reasons why you ought to feel positive about your body.
Quotes About Body Positivity
- "It is okay not to love every part of your body, but it's not okay to hate your body and to put yourself down because of it."
- "It's good to strive for a healthy body, but don't criticise yourself for not having a 'perfect’ body as this does not exist."
- “Beauty is not ‘one size fits all’. It comes in many different forms.”
- "If you can't find beauty in your WHOLE body, then try to find beauty in a PART of it. Use this as your foundation for body positivity, and keep looking for other parts of your body that you can find beauty in over time."
- “It’s important to value your body not just by its appearance, but also by what it allows you to experience."
- “There's no 'correct' body type. The media may promote a particular body type, but even this changes over the years."
- “Be careful not to overmagnify your imperfections, and use them as reasons to ignore all the good things about your body.”
- "You can be imperfect and beautiful at the same time."
- "Your body does not define you. You are so much more than just your physical appearance."
- "No-one else has the right to dictate how you should feel about your body."
- "There's no number on the scale that changes how loveable you are."
- "Your body is an incredible vessel that carries you through life. It deserves your love and care."
- "Your body is a gift, not a burden."
- "Speak to your body like you would a close friend."
- "You are worthy just as you are."
- "Try not to hate your body for everything it isn't / isn't able to do, and instead try to love your body for everything it is / is able to do."
Re-Capping What We've Covered In This Blog Post About Body Positivity
So in this blog post, we've covered a lot of ground on the topic of body positivity, including:
- The reasons why body positivity is so important;
- What creates body self-hatred;
- Unhealthy factors upon which to predicate body self-love;
- Healthy reasons to love your body;
- How to reframe the negative thought “I hate my body” in more positive, self-compassionate ways;
- And, we’ve also shared a variety of quotes with you about body positivity.
From the bottom of our hearts, we really hope you've found this blog post helpful, and that moving forwards, everything we’ve talked about in this blog post helps you to feel more positive about your body.
All our love,
The Depression Project Team.