What exactly does it mean to love our bodies? In a few weeks I will speaking at San Diego State University about this topic. It's a tough one. How can we LOVE our bodies, amidst an onslaught of negative media messages about how we should be dissatisfied with them? Look around you - much of advertising to women is based on tearing down our self-esteem and body-image, so that we want to buy their products to feel better. It's insidious and disgusting.
There are lots of ways to approach this, so I'll mention two here. First, consume less advertising and mass media. That shit will eat you alive! I know it can be difficult to pull back, but just take small steps of removing a certain magazine from your home, or a certain reality show from your viewing.
My next suggestion is to take a "holistic" approach to reframing how you view your body. With a sheet of paper, walk yourself through these five categories: physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual. What are your strengths in each category? How does your body support you and help your thrive? Write down any examples you can think of, whether big or small, such as: physical - my legs are strong enough to get me out of bed this morning; physical - I have pretty eyes; mental - my brain is good at math; emotional - I feel love very strongly in my heart; social - I am good at dancing with others; spiritual - when I meditate my body feels like it blends into the universe. Now use this list to your advantage! Keep adding to it. Consult it when you feel down. Brainstorm with your female friends to assist each other.
In honor of this day, I am reposting one of my "classic" In the Den with Dr. Jenn videos, about loving our bodies. Take a look and see how it can help you!
If you'd like to read another commentary on Love Your Body Day, check out Feministing's blog.
~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus -- Sex Therapy, Marriage Counseling, & University Sexuality Speaker in San Diego, CA