Words have a way of influencing emotions, even when we're not really thinking about what we're saying. Every day we hear negative talk about women's bodies, especially about fat women's bodies, from the media, from co-workers, from passing strangers, from health practitioners, even from well-meaning friends and family members. Sometimes, those negative messages start playing in our heads like a broken record. We may even hear them coming out of our own mouths, whether we really mean them or not. At this month's FREE Make Friends with Your Body Brown Bag workshop, we'll talk about which messages we're holding onto, and what we can do to counter them with positive, body-loving, size-positive self-talk.
If you can't make it to the workshop, or if you'd like to prepare for this discussion on your own, try this exercise in your journal:
1. Make a list of all the statements you can think of, positive or negative, that you've heard about your body, women's bodies, or fat bodies. Write quickly and try not to censor or analyze.
2. Put a star next to any messages that feel positive and actually raise your self-esteem. Remember to practice repeating these to yourself later on.
3. Circle the ugliest, meanest statements on the list and, next to each one, write a counter-statement to remind yourself that the negative message just isn't true. For example, if the negative statement is "Your fat is ruining your health," you might counter with, "Accepting my size helps me love my body and keep it healthy."
4. Now, based on your counter-statements and the positive messages from your original list, craft one or two affirmations that make you feel good about your body. Remember that the most powerful affirmations are 1) stated in grammatically positive terms, avoiding words like "not" and "never," and 2) stated in the present tense. So "I see myself as attractive," gives the mind a more powerful message than "I will learn to see myself as attractive," or "I do not see myself as unattractive."