"Wow, you're beautiful."
My husband's words caught me off guard. I guiltily looked behind me as we made eye contact in the bathroom mirror. He was laying on the bed with our son; they laid there so easily, but my husband was looking lovingly at me. Maybe he could see my analytical eyes or maybe he couldn’t, but I was cutting myself down to bare bones, dissecting every part of my postpartum body.
I had been staring at myself in the mirror, caught in a storm of negative thoughts about my appearance, and definitely not seeing “beautiful.” As much as I was embracing (trying to embrace?) my body post-baby, there were still parts of me that surprised me by their outcome.
Cellulite had found a home, and my legs were the host. My stomach that once was flat was now a deflated bubble. Despite my body performing the miraculous event of conceiving, growing, and birthing a baby, I was not impressed with the after-math almost 9 months later.
So, standing in front of my mirror, my thoughts had gotten away from me, and I had been caught. My husband's words a direct juxtaposition for what I had just been doing.
I have always been critical of my body. So to take a step back and look at what my body had done is a feat unto itself.
But just as I had been called out, I began to slowly change my thoughts about my body. My body wasn’t the problem that needed to change, my mindset needed to change. I am beginning to look at my body differently, not for the minute physical attributes that could use some tweaking but for all my incredible body is able to do.
Five Affirmations to Change Your Body Mindset
This concept of being made with purpose for a purpose continues to resonate with me. And I want to share five ways that have helped me look at my body differently. Body affirmations: instead of looking in the mirror and stating all the things wrong with my body, I remind myself what my body can do and has done.
1. My body was made intentionally for specific purposes.
Whether you’ve birthed a human or not, your body has specific purposes. Do your hands prepare food to host people at your house, quilt a blanket, or demo a wall? Do your legs leisurely walk around the block, use the elliptical at the gym or run marathons? Not everyone can do all of these things, but all of these things are a direct correlation with how your body was made.
2. My body is strong and powerful.
Can I bench 300lbs? Parkour the side of a building? Unwrap a Purple mattress by myself? Sadly no. Ha! But my body is able to move and bend, hugging my husband, kicking a ball for my dog, crawling on all fours after my son. What a powerhouse my body can be!
3. My body can change to accommodate how it needs to function.
Thankfully, as my son grows, my biceps get stronger so that I am able to carry him for longer periods of time. My stamina is increasing. It’s crazy how getting 6 hours of sleep now seems pretty normal, whereas before my son, I couldn’t function on that amount of sleep. And I am trying to stretch more so that my ligaments are not as cranky in the morning. My body is able to change as my needs change.
4. I am in charge of my own body.
Just as a manager is in charge of her store, how I take care of my body is all on me. So the choices I make about food, sleep, rest, are my responsibility. Sure, I can make all the excuses I want. But in order for my body to function, I have to be a good manager for how I take care of the vessel that has been given to me. And just as every employee makes mistakes, I cannot get internally angry at the mistakes I make with my own body. The best thing is to learn from what I do and learn how to make best choices for the next time. Which brings me to the last most important affirmation.
5. I am able to love my body best.
I know the places of my body that I unfortunately scrutinize and criticize. And because I know these places, I am also able to change my mindset and love these parts of my body that tend to get more hate than love from me.
Bottom line . . . Our bodies are amazing wonders, each one a vessel made for unique purposes. I am amazed at what others can do that my body is not able to do, but then, surprisingly, people are amazed at what my body can do that they might not be able to do. Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, focus on what you are able to do. My hope is these affirmations can help change your body mindset by loving yourself from the inside out.
“…for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” psalm 139:14
About Emily Bennett
Emily Bennett, EdS, is a former ELA middle school teacher turned stay-at-home mom. She believes we all hold a unique purpose for the season in which we are currently. She finds purpose through writing about her own struggles and joys as a woman and mom. She is the content creator and writer for “Meditations & Motherhood.” You can check out more of her work or contact her at meditationsandmotherhood.com