For me turning 40 has been an exploration in self-development.  

Looking back on life and being disappointed in certain areas has given me the opportunity to delve in to places I would not necessarily want to look at.  One of these areas is 'body acceptance'.

I feel confident saying that I'm not alone in being overly critical of my body - especially my 40 year old body which is noticeably changed from my 20 year old body.  I have heard a statistic that about 80% of women are not happy with their bodies.  There are so many reasons for this and it's disheartening.  Today I'm asking us to take a look at our bodies in a positive and affirming way.  I recently did the following exercise from a self-help book I'm reading, and I'm going to share it with you.  While this was a difficult exercise to initiate, once I got going I felt really empowered and grateful for my body, flaws and all!

"Dear face and hair - forgive me for succumbing to perfectionism and often masking what God gave me (in order to conform to societal ideals of beauty). I appreciate and honor my heritage which is revealed in my hair, skin and face. Forgive me for being critical and unloving. Thank you for being expressive and unique."

"Dear skin - forgive me for not accepting the shell that I was given.  I appreciate your ability to signal to me when I am off balance.  Thank you for keeping me healthy."

"Dear breasts. Forgive me for measuring your size to a superficial standard.  I appreciate your sexiness. Thank you for being cute and perky, I appreciate you and honor your sensuality"

"Dear belly - forgive me for condemning your feminine roundness. I appreciate the physical display of feminity and fertility. Forgive me for wanting to change you in order to fit in to trendy uncomfortable jeans.  I honor and thank you for the ability to create from this area. I honor this sacred center as I honor the act of creation itself.  Thank you for your beautiful curves and womanly softness"

Really honoring ourselves in this way is not always a comfortable thing to do (at least not for me)  But I ask, how can our bodies cooperate with us when we are constantly critical of it?  Love and acceptance of the skin we are in is a powerfully healing tool.

The Body Acceptance Exercise

If you would like to do the exercise simply remove all of your clothes and stand in front of a mirror Notice any negative judgements about specific areas of your body, and when they come up do the following:

1.) Forgive yourself for being critical and unloving to that body part  
2.) Tell that body part something you appreciate about it
3.) Thank your body

3/6/2011 08:39:10 am

love this one! i need to accept that, no matter how hard i work out or how strict i diet, my abdomen will never look like it did in 1999, before i gave birth to a 9 lb baby and gained 40 lbs in the process. i'm hoping this exercise will finally help me do that. thanks for this post!

Midwest Mom
3/7/2011 04:50:18 am

I agree - great post!

Dear Body - thank you for giving me two beautiful babies!


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    40th Birthday
    Forty Fabulous Things
    Turning 40


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