Wonderfully Made: Body Image and Self Talk
Like any person you know, the body will not change willingly without knowing it is loved first. My body starts coming together when I stop picking it apart in the mirror with cruel, sharp scissored words. Healing starts when I love all of the individual parts, and I gather up all of the unfavored in my good graces and start loving them as they are. If a body part is functional, I have something to thank it for (no matter its aesthetics). This attribute alone can be praised. I can raise its chin in my hands and praise it simply for function. I can call it lovely until it is lovely. For what I call it in my own mind it conforms to.
Our words can be sharp and cut our bodies down or honoring and build our bodies up. What will we choose?
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
– Psalm 139:14 niv
Do you believe this about yourself, that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, that you are a wonderful work of God’s craftsmanship? What if you were to believe this? How would you look at yourself differently? What grace would you give yourself? What reels of thought would you stop running in your mind? What tenderness would you replace them with?
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” – Ephesians 4:29 NIV
What about our own self-talk?
When you see yourself in the mirror pay careful attention to your self-talk. Catch any negative self-talk by the collar and let it know it is not welcome here any longer. Replace it with kindness.
Body Image Exercises:
Sit in front of the mirror and purposefully take an account of your body in a loving way. Apologize to the parts you have belittled in the past. Thank them for their function, strength, and faithfulness as they have been with you all of your life.
Try to find something specific you like about your own body. Let your liking of yourself penetrate your heart. Even just a little will go a long way. What are some of the positive words you used to describe this favored body part? Imagine sharing some of these positive feelings or similar words on your less favored body parts.
How can you bring all of the parts of your body into a whole in your mind again? How can you love your whole-self better?