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  • Writer's pictureJulia Blackwell

Befriending Your Body

Updated: Jun 6, 2022

Do you like your body? If not, chances are you are not alone.

When Canadians look in the mirror, only 11 per cent are completely satisfied with what they see, according to a new global survey (Kozicka, 2015).

According to Psychology Today, children as young as three onwards begin forming thoughts and opinions about their bodies, and children as young as eight to nine show signs of increased awareness of their bodies. As children and pre-teens become more self-aware they are influenced by external factors like media (social media, advertising, etc.) and people in their lives. How people, of all ages, perceive their bodies is associated with self-esteem: unhealthy body image linked with poor self-esteem, and healthy body image linked with stronger self-esteem.

Body image and self-esteem begin in the mind. The self-talk track that plays in one's mind impacts one's total wellbeing. Take a moment and contemplate what your self-talk track sounds like? Are the words and phrases things you would say to a good friend? How often does this track repeat and what variations of it are on your playlist? If your playlist is generally positive and comforting, how can it be enhanced even more? If you find that your self-talk tracks are discouraging or contain phrases that you wouldn't share to a good friend, then I invite you to create a new playlist.

Whether you value parts of your body or are left scratching your head wondering what you do like, self-acceptance is often found to be a core factor of the journey of befriending your body. Like any relationship, befriending one's body takes time and effort. Perhaps begin by journaling values you need to make this friendship work (i.e. patience, compassion, kindness, respect, humour, etc.).

Remember, it is more about the process of befriending your body that is important. This means some days you may feel best buds with your body whilst other days so-so or worst enemies. Take a deep breath. Recognize how your self-talk playlist is making you feel about yourself and ask yourself what you need to feel "ok" again. When the discouraging tracks are on repeat, it may be helpful to connect with a trained Counsellor/Therapist to bounce ideas off of and to support you in your process of befriending your body.

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) has a great info sheet of ideas to encourage a healthier body image as well as local BC resources to connect with, follow the link in the references list below to access.


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