Remember that cereal commercial about pinching an inch? It was in the 80’s, so I’m dating myself, but basically, the message was if you can pinch an inch on your waist then you might need to think about losing some weight. And of course the cereal would help you do that. Just one of a million examples in advertising that shames the viewer, with a lighthearted jingle in this case, into thinking she is not ok and should do something about it right away. Anyway, that got me thinking about how many women there are who loathe their bodies and are “pinching inches” daily, and with negative commentary, of course.
I love all the efforts out there to bring the body positive attitude into the forefront. It’s about time for a reality check. We come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors, and that’s a beautiful thing. Even so, there has been so much cultural messaging to the contrary that it’s incredibly hard to do a 180. It’s difficult to simply stop the body criticism and turn on the body love. In fact, it’s not always easy to connect to the body at all if there’s a lot of self-loathing, shame, and body negativity. It’s a whole-heartedly good idea to feel better about your body, but getting there may require, well…baby steps.
What about starting today, right now, from wherever you are with one inch? Hey, it was used into the 80’s to promote body shame and cereal, how about we use it as a tool for good? Before you start taking out your rulers to measure what an inch is, or for our metric users, a couple centimeters, I’m not really talking about an exact science here. I’m talking about a small part of your body that you can rally behind. And if it’s larger, great! If it’s smaller, fine!
How about an eye or two, a patch of skin or hair, your big toe? Focus on that one part for the day.
The goal is not to separate the body into pieces, but to work with a smaller part of the whole that you can pour love into, be mindful of, offset the usual and familiar stream of body dissatisfaction chatter.
My hope for you is that one part leads to another and another, and you can embrace your whole self with love and affection and land in an authentic body positive place.
6 TIPS TO LOVING AN INCH
- Choose your inch (or less, or more) to pay attention to for the day. State your intention: Today, I will pay attention and give affection to___________.
- What do you love about this part of you? Say it out loud or write it down. “I love the skin on my left forearm because it’s smooth and delicate.”
- Be present with that part. Feel the love. Feel grateful for this part of yourself. See it as a precious jewel worthy of your love, respect, and adoration. Spend 3 minutes here. This is your meditation.
- If or when you have any negative body thoughts arise throughout the day, gently, without judgment, come back to your inch. Repeat steps 2 and 3.
- When you are ready, you can add another inch. Then, another! You don’t need to rush though. You can work with the same inch as long as you need to. Start from a place that feels do-able, sincere, and engaging. Let your loving-kindness unfold from there.
- Bring your awareness to how that single inch of body-awareness-love is connected to every part of you. And every part of you is being held by your warm and loving thoughts. You are a precious and valuable being. Every body is worthy of love and care. You are no exception.
Be gentle with yourself. Always. And know that you are loved.
For your reflection~
If I felt positive and loving towards my body I would: