We have this long-held belief that we can only like ourselves if we meet certain criteria.  We must have a smaller body, be the “best” at something, have life figured out.
We tend to develop what I have come to call “critical eyes”, always looking for the way we don’t measure up and missing what is good.
Many years ago, I was at a body image seminar where the speakers discussed the concept of having “softer eyes” to view ourselves with.  You can guess that this means learning the art of having compassion for ourselves, even if we don’t like what we look like or what is happening in our lives.
We have two choices when we look at ourselves and life.  We can use crinkly, critical, squinting, hard, narrow eyes.  Eyes of judgment and comparison in regards to how we think we should be versus the current reality.
Or we can choose loving, open, empathetic eyes to see ourselves as others might see us.
If you don’t believe others see your beauty or you don’t believe you are worthy because you feel too much, don’t measure up in some sort of way, than imagine “being” or looking through the eyes of someone in your life that you are sure adores you.  If you don’t think that exists, look wider.  It could be your pet.  It could be the divine.
Let what is “out there” not filtered by your own experiences, in.  Let in the acceptance and non-judgment.  Let in what is whole and beautiful.  Let in seeing you.
Do this work in front of a mirror, and keep your eyes soft, looking for what is good.  The freckle, the line, the soft belly.  We are looking at the beauty of it all.  The magnificence of your creation.  We aren’t focused on what has been assigned as conventionally “pretty” ; that is manufactured to separate you from yourself.  WE we are talking about having awe and wonder and really “seeing” yourself and honoring it all; the light and the dark.  The light is what we find easier to tolerate (sometimes) and what we we find joy in.  The dark is our teacher, the fire that is burning us down to build anew.
What this means in terms of our bodies is that we see the beauty in it all.  If you don’t like your belly, be first grateful for all the organs there that do so much for you without your directions. The landing spot for a tired head.  The seat of creativity. 
Then thank your belly for it’s strength to hold your nerves, “digest” your anger, carry your grief.  Love the roundness as a recognition of “being out there”, recognizing how you deserve to take up space in this world.
Be curious as to “who says” a round belly (insert whatever body part you are being mean to) is “gross” , “too much” and what has been the price you have had to pay to 1) not question this and 2) buy into it?  
As you keep your eyes soft, gently, ask, what it needs from you.  Thank the messenger.  Now this is beauty. 
This is a process and after one try, you won’t have it mastered.  It took me many years to like my body.  I even do the same process now for the body I have that is not as strong as it once was, choosing to understand the “how come” and what I have exchanged for physical strength: more humility, grace, more kindness towards myself and probably any many more lessons to come.

We honor it all.  But first we start with looking.

I would love to hear your comments and please share this article with those who need to soften their gaze.

Much love

My Holiday Eating Support is Still Available til Christmas for $25.  Get prepared for those Holiday Meals today!  Go to the store on this website