Too many of us spend too much time hating the skin we’re in. We can think of a million things wrong with our bodies and somehow manage not to see one bit of how amazing they actually are. When we don’t like our bodies, we don’t like ourselves. And when we don’t like ourselves, we don’t go after all of those dreams that are absolutely within our reach if we would just allow ourselves to be good enough to go for it. It’s time to stop worrying about our thighs and start conquering the world. It’s time to fall in love with our bodies. Here are five ways to do just that.
Step away from the media and step into your body
Get away from the noise. The TV, social media, magazines, movies — all of it. Take a break from the messaging that keeps you from loving your body. We don’t start out hating our bodies. We’re taught to hate them. Why? Money. They can’t sell us stuff if we already love our bodies just the way they are. So, turn it off, tune it out, walk away. The less you hear and see about what’s supposedly wrong with you, the more you’ll realize just how much is more than right with you.
Use all the extra time you’ll have on your hands to attend to self-care. Move your body. Pamper your body. Take notice of what your body loves. Take a dance class. Hike that path. Hit the climbing gym. Enjoy a long bath. Try a float tank. Meditate. When you start really living and breathing and moving in your body instead of taking in all sorts of negative outside messaging, you’ll find there is not a thing about you to hate and so very much to love.
Spend more time naked
Many of us spend too little time naked. We spend time in front of the mirror obsessing over this perceived flaw or another. But what we don’t do is spend enough time reveling in our skin. Spend more time naked and you’ll find more things to love than loathe. If you have a private yard, stretching out in the sun in the buff can be a great way to fall in love with your body. Or perhaps you have a room in your home that gets flooded with warm light but won’t expose you to the neighbors. Grab your coffee and favorite book and spend some time in your own skin.
Body positivity guru, writer, and sexpert Charyn Pfeuffer also recommends seeking out clothing optional venues like beaches, spas, and resorts, which she says have been “liberating and key in learning to love my body.” Baring it all in those environments may be intimidating at first, she admits. “But once you get past the first reveal, it only gets easier. After a few hours in the buff, all the judgment and messaging about how you’re supposed to look melts away, and you realize there’s more to life than fitting into skinny jeans,” Pfeuffer says.
Make solo sex a priority
Female masturbation remains a taboo topic for no reason. Religion and even some parts of popular culture deem it as something that nice girls would never do. It’s all too often portrayed as dirty or even selfish. All of that is ridiculous, unfounded, and, honestly, incredibly dangerous to women. Masturbation is not only a healthy practice, it’s also a necessary one — for both sexual health and body love. “One of the easiest ways to connect with yourself is though masturbation,” explains Pfeuffer.
Take the time to make solo sex a priority. When you can find pleasure all on your own, you realize just how remarkable your body is, regardless of its shape or size. “Not only is it healthy and normal to touch yourself, it feels good. It took me a long time to recognize that pleasure is my birthright,” says Pfeuffer. And when we masturbate to orgasm, we flood our system with happy hormones and it’s next to impossible not to feel warm and fuzzy about yourself and your body when it is that very you, that very body, that is making you feel so darn good.
Respect your orgasm
You might be wondering what orgasm has to do with body acceptance. But the truth is, it has a lot to do with it. For most women, orgasm doesn’t come quickly the way it does in the movies. It requires patience. “Had I known that most women need 20 to 30 minutes of consistent clitoral stimulation to climax, I would’ve avoided a lot faked orgasms and apologies for ‘taking too long,’” Pfeuffer says. Women have long been taught not to take up too much time and space and that has bled into the bedroom.
But we have to respect the reality of our bodies. When we do that, we also learn to love and respect our bodies outside of their sexual powers as well. Your body works precisely the way it is supposed to. For most women, direct, consistent, external clitoral stimulation is needed for orgasm. That means things are working, not that they’re broken. Take all the space and time in the world that you want and need and revel in the body you are so lucky to have.
Remember that language matters
How you talk to yourself about your body and what words the people around you use to talk about their own bodies (and yours too) is exceptionally important. It’s vital that you skip the negative talk and replace it with kind words. Most of us would never say the mean stuff we say to ourselves to our friends. So, there’s no reason to be so unkind when referring to the body that does so much for us.
When you find yourself starting to say you “feel fat” or “look gross” or that your thighs are disgusting and your belly is too big, stop yourself and say something positive instead. Remind yourself how strong you are or how bright your skin is or how amazing your body is for carrying a baby or hiking that trail or swimming those laps or carrying all those groceries. Your body does great things. And be sure to surround yourself with people equally committed to the power of positivity.