Beauty is All in Your Head!
Like it or not, your body will be your constant companion throughout life. But what do you honestly think when you see it? Unfortunately, you probably act like the snobby high school cheerleader who sees the nerdy girl, rolls her eyes with disgust and thinks, "Ugghh, she's here!" And that's too bad because your body is not an annoying hanger-on; your body is your best friend. Wouldn't it be great to gaze in a mirror and think positively about the fleshly form you see? The goal is to look at your body and feel as happy as when you catch sight of your favorite gal-pal and think, "Hey! There she is!"
Being content within your own skin is an essential ingredient of a healthy lifestyle. This type of peacefulness is not achieved by working out harder, longer or more efficiently. Certainly continue your physical fitness habits, but balance them with a mental fitness routine. Face it, you're already relatively fit. It's you're body image that's flabby! No amount of aerobics classes, perfectly executed sit-ups or calorie-counting is going to shape up your warped body perception.
Body image is in the mind and actually has very little to do with your weight or physical shape! Furthermore, body image isn't based in the conscious mind. Its roots are in the murky mire of the subconscious mind — the toxic waste dump of your psyche. That's why everyone can tell you how gorgeous and shapely you are, but you look in the mirror and feel dissatisfied. The rational part of you knows your body isn't fat and revolting — but another part of you takes over and convinces you that you look more like a cow than a woman. Sound familiar?
Basically, it all comes down to the fact that how beautiful or unattractive you are is actually all in your mind. However, changing your thinking is easier said than done. If it were so simple, you would have let go of your negative body image long ago. Perhaps at one time you even confidently declared, "I am going to think of my body as beautiful from now on. It is obvious I am not fat — I'm fit! I don't want this negative garbage in my head anymore!" This strategy may have worked for a few days or even weeks, but eventually the old thoughts seeped back in. You may have been disappointed since you'd heard affirmations can help change your attitude. While that is true, they are only part of the solution. Affirmations only address your conscious thinking.
When you try to change your thoughts and actions with your conscious mind only, the results don't last. It would be like mowing the lawn to get rid of dandelions. They have deep roots and will just grow back. Body image problems are the same way. So what can you do about those subtle and baffling subconscious forces that cause you to go against your best interests and think hurtful thoughts? Have hope! You can heal these hidden patterns that continue to torment you endlessly about your figure flaws when you are actually luscious and lovely!
This four stage process is designed to clean out your subconscious mind and empower your daily thinking.
Phase 1: Collect Your Mental Garbage
Begin this process by sitting quietly with a notebook or journal. Pick the part of your body that causes you the most grief. Let's use the example of obsessing about cellulite on your thighs. No matter how many leg lifts you do, fat grams you count or even how thin and muscular your legs get, that orange-peel flesh follows you around like a bad dream.
Start by writing down all your critical thoughts about this body part. Maybe you think, "Yuck! I look like I sat in cottage cheese!" or "I can never wear shorts in public or people will run away screaming!"
List the abusive names you call yourself due to this distorted perception. "Oh, I'm a total elephant!!" "Thunder thighs." "Saddlebag Sally." Record all manner of such taunting.
Include the many times you've compared your body to those of other women. For example, do you enviously examine the thighs of every women at the gym and on the street? Do you feel hopeless looking at thin models and sleek celebrities?
Finally, recall the many years hearing other women complaining about your most detested body part. Do your friends hate their thighs? Do your mother and sisters? Think about how the media has influenced your view. As you write, you're not placing blame. You are acknowledging the highly suggestible nature of the subconscious mind. It automatically absorbs everything around it. If all you've ever heard is the high value placed on smooth, slender thighs and the cellulite-anxiety of all the women you encounter, what other message can your subconscious store??
This phase is intended to expose the damage these quiet, yet powerful thoughts inflict upon you. They are a background recording that drones on and on to create a corrosive body image. Usually, this subliminal tape manipulates you without your conscious knowledge. By doing this writing exercise, you turn up the volume and listen carefully. You'll be shocked by what you hear!
Phase 2: Take Out the Trash
Think about this simple equation. If you notice you have some physical weight to lose, you exercise your body to burn off the excess fat storage. Well, now that you're aware of the roots of unhealthy mental weight, you need to exercise your mind to get rid of the "fat" in your head! Try this subconscious "spot reducing" routine.
Sit quietly with your list of grievances concerning your selected "figure flaw". Close your eyes and imagine four steps leading up out of a dark place into a bright light. This stairway represents moving from the bleak realm of the subconscious into the land of healthy, happy thinking.
Envision yourself on the dark first step. Re-read your list of chronic complaints, nasty names, cruel comparisons and toxic influences. Contemplate the pain and sadness these perpetual ideas have caused you.
Now step up to the second stair, which is a little brighter than the first. Think about how this feature would look if you had your way. Exactly what would be different about it? How would you feel about yourself with say, "perfect thighs"? Revel in the blissful relief at finally appreciating this part of your physique.
The third stair is brighter still. It is the step of forgiveness. It may be a strange or awkward thing to do, but try it! Forgive yourself for the years of anguish caused by constantly condemning and criticizing this part of your body. Forgive your subconscious mind for blindly absorbing all the damaging information around you. Forgive the people who may have influenced you negatively, since they are suffering in the same way as you!
Now you are ready for the bright step of release. See yourself stepping up into the light of clear understanding. Feel as if you are being warmed by the summer sun. Realize that you are now free from the bondage of the hidden patterns that inhibit your daily happiness! If you want, rip up the paper that contains your negative memories. You could even burn it in the fireplace as a powerful symbol of emotional freedom.
Phase 3: Imagine a Bright Future
At the end of every mental cleaning session (since you probably have more than one section of your body that discourages you), include a positive visualization. This will now be maximally effective, since you've pulled the negativity up by its roots!
Close your eyes and imagine looking in the mirror. See yourself smiling and feeling happily content gazing at your reflection. Concentrate on what it would feel like to truly love your body and fully respect yourself. Go even farther by visualizing yourself making food choices that will build dignity rather than shame. Envision handling stress with poise and balance when it inevitably arrives.
Phase 4: Send In the Reinforcements!
With all that mental weight off of you, you'll be surprised how slender and shapely you appear! Congratulations — you are beginning to see the body everyone else has always seen.
Please be advised that the subconscious mind is programmed to refill the vacuum you've created by emptying the mental garbage. It's very easy for habitual thoughts to take root once again. You job now is to create an alternate group of habitual thoughts that are positive and constructive. This means bombarding your subconscious with as much praise about your body as you formerly harassed it with messages of doom and disgust.
As you approve of your body regularly and rigorously, it will respond with radiant health and vitality. Persistent praise will motivate you to eat healthfully and to stick with your exercise program without struggle or strain.
If you are having trouble choosing affirmations, see the sidebar for helpful ideas.
Strive to be as committed to your mental fitness as you are to your physical fitness. You will see lasting, satisfying results. Even small progress will have a profound effect on your thoughts and moods. However, the entire process of clearing your subconscious may take awhile. Have patience! It will be worth the time and effort.
Make a decision to start appreciating your body as it is now, not when it looks different. If you don't change you inner programming, you'll never be pleased with what you see on the outer — even if you have a "perfect figure".
Always keep in mind that your state of awareness dictates what you see. By healing your negative subconscious messages, you'll focus effortlessly on your body's beauty, not its flaws. You will be amazed by the loveliness you've overlooked all this time.
Surely you can find something you like about your body! Astrology may hold some clues. Listed below are positive points on which to focus as you reinforce your newly mended subconscious programming. Read your Sun sign (your identity), and if you are lucky enough to know your Moon sign (emotions and eating habits) and Rising sign (how you feel about your appearance), read those too. If you desire to know these additional signs, contact a professional astrologer.
Aries (March 21 – April 19) — Get psyched about your high energy level! Think your body's speed and strength. Also take note of your nicely arched eyebrows and other defined facial features.
Taurus (April 20 – May 20) — Be grateful for your incredible stamina and recuperative powers. Dwell on your strong shoulders and well-formed upper arms. You probably have a lovely mouth too!
Gemini (May 21 – June 20) — Consider all you do with your dexterous and delicate hands. Think about how great it is it is to walk around and quickly get where you need to go. Be in awe of the way your brilliant brain stores and recalls information!
Cancer (June 21 – July 22) — Learn to appreciate the sensual, comforting curves and contours of your belly and breasts. Respect your reproductive abilities and the rhythm of your menstrual cycle.
Leo (July 23 – Aug 22) — Think about your heart and the consistent, dependable tasks it performs for you. You already know you've got great hair — and your eyes have a lust for life that beams out of them.
Virgo (Aug 23 – Sept 22) — Praise yourself for your smooth, flawless skin. Think about all the touch receptors on this largest organ of your body. You're probably very young looking, so be happy about that too!
Libra (Sept 23 – Oct 22) — No matter your weight or amount of muscle mass, you're designed to have luscious curves. Learn to love them! You have cute dimples and face it, you've also got a great butt!
Scorpio (Oct 23 – Nov 21) — Revel in your capacity to be sexually passionate and orgasmic. Think about the wonder of your immune system and how it protects your health. You also have mysterious, hypnotic eyes that intrigue people deeply.
Sagittarius (Nov 22 – Dec 21) — Look at those lovely long legs! Think how you can ski, hike, and just get around in general. Forget cellulite! Remember the fun things your legs do for you and the places they take you!
Capricorn (Dec 22 – Jan 19) — You've got elegant bone structure, high cheekbones and regal posture. Like Virgo, you skin ages very slowly and you probably don't have many wrinkles. Cheer up, you're gorgeous!
Aquarius (Jan 20 – Feb 18) — Contemplate your body's unique characteristics. Admire your asymmetry, birthmarks, tattoos, even scars. They make you special. Most likely, your hair or eyes have an unusual color or quality that is fascinating to others.
Pisces (Feb 19 – March 20) — You've got delicate feet. Pamper them with pedicures, massages and reflexology. Think how uplifted you are while dancing. Also be thankful for your ears and hearing — especially for being able to listen to music.