It’s summertime and the days are long. The UK it’s trying very hard to be warm and heady! Let’s hope the rain and cool air passes soon. Until then, it’s time for some summer loving…
Especially when, at this time of year, the media is busy telling us that our bodies aren’t quite good enough. That we need to be ‘summer ready’ or ‘beach ready’. And from the look of the ads trying to sell us what it means to be summer-ready, it generally involves a whole world of pain. Be it unpleasant, costly diets (rather than simply eating less and mostly plants, which is what I do when I’m feeling heavy), painful and expensive hair removal, and all kinds of other ‘beauty’ treatments. It’s almost as though the body is a project to be worked on and that summertime is the time for showcasing the results.
These strike me as distinctly unsavoury messages at best. To me, the consequences of these messages are a special form of loathing; for women generally, but men are equally drawn into this charade.
Fall in love with yourself this summer
To my mind, there is nothing worse than self-loathing and shame on any advertising campaigns and companies which even insinuate that we’re not good enough exactly as we are. When we start to hate our bodies, we hate ourselves, which can lead us to attract a partner who shares a similar hatred. And of course, this likely leads to a cycle of despair and may lead to activities which increase this downward spiral of self-loathing. Self-hate can also turn the other way – it can cause us to do way too much exercise and eat faddishly. It can even show up by choosing friends and partners who don’t truly love and care for you.
Considering what a complete disaster life can be, physically and mentally, when we don’t love and care for ourselves. Isn’t it funny how we spend so much time thinking about loving and caring for somebody else and seem to forget about ourselves?
And isn’t it funny that the media and big corporations who employ the biggest brains to find ways of hating ourselves? So that we can treat ourselves like a project ‘because we’re worth it’? And the end result of the project is usually the implication that we’ll find a partner who appreciates the way we look. Wow.
Imagine if companies began by saying, “You’re perfect exactly how you are”. Folks could all take a big sigh of relief. People could nourish ourselves exactly in the way we see fit and works for us; be it taking long walks in nature, long baths, picnics with friends – treating themselves exactly in the way they choose. Those big brains in the advertising business would be out of a job. The message that says, “you’re perfect”, is much less likely to have you running to the high street than one that tells you what a mess you are, and it’s your fault that you feel bad. It all just feels so irresponsible and not OK.
Somehow these messages are worsened during the summer, especially with all the talk about and pressure of romance. But why aren’t reminded about the importance of falling in love with ourselves?
It can be hard to fall in love with yourself, when you’re not embracing who you are through and through. I believe that there can be nothing more important than relaxing into your true nature, and learning to love yourself exactly the way you are. You might be feeling less than perfect in yourself, and rather than trying to change that, maybe try just sitting and noticing how you feel. This can be a wonderful relief from all the effort that we all put upon ‘feeling better’. Phew, you don’t have to feel better. You can feel just the way you feel. You might even find that a small side-effect of starting to notice your feelings is that, bizarrely, you do start to notice better feelings than worse feelings. Who knew?!
This summer, I highly recommend taking the time to fall back in love with yourself. Ignore the ads. Do whatever it is that makes you feel amazing. For me, it’s walks in the countryside with my dogs, sitting by a river, going to the seaside, spending time with friends and family. And of course, my daily movement and meditation practices that make every day so much more joyful and reconnects me to who I am inside.
If you’d like to start appreciating yourself more and spend more time on you, try our 7 Day Embrace Your Essence Challenge
* on Movement for Modern Life. Yoga teacher Kirsty Norton shares soft, more nurturing moves through the course of the week-long practice – and it’s completely focused on embracing who you are.
There really is no better time for embracing the whole of who you are, and falling in love with the whole of yourself than the present.
If you start Kirsty’s Embrace Your Essence 7-day course, you’ll receive a daily email reminder to get on the mat, soften, meditate, turn within and do some gentle, loving yoga.
Time for self-care starts today.
Founder of Movement for Modern Life
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