Identify the pattern or rule you’re breaking (for example: wearing shorts or a bikini, being fat in public, eating carbs, being bigger than your partner, etc.), and practice facing your fear of breaking your pattern/rule over and over again using baby steps until it no longer has this power over you.
6. You’re conflating shame and discomfort.
Shame and discomfort are not the same things, and learning to parse them apart will allow you to practice tolerating discomfort without it automatically triggering shame. Once you learn to identify discomfort coming from clothes that are too tight, the newness of your own body, negative somatic coding, or death work, the next step is to separate that discomfort from shame.
For example, if you’re gassy and bloated after a big meal, you might be a bit physically uncomfortable. But if you also believe flat abs are important to your worth and being bloated makes you a disgusting failure as a person, then you’re not just going to feel uncomfortable physically, you’re also going to feel the discomfort of shame.
Do the best you can to identify and name the specific threads of discomfort coming up for you, and separate them mentally from shame. Remember that shame and discomfort don’t need to co-exist and that the discomfort is often real and valid, while the shame is not.
Then explore the shame with curiosity if you can, to name exactly where it comes from, what it’s saying to you, where you learned it, who benefits from it, and how it might be attempting to serve or protect you. Let yourself be uncomfortable while also letting go of the shame (aka the meaning, beliefs, stories, and associations) associated with it.
7. You’re struggling to tolerate discomfort.
There’s so much about having a body that can be uncomfortable– give yourself permission to be present with and feel all of that discomfort without there being something wrong. Physical pain is uncomfortable. Emotional pain is uncomfortable. Sadness, vulnerability, and trying new things can be uncomfortable. So can cognitive dissonance, and hormone fluctuations, and bodily functions.
Discomfort is not necessarily a sign that anything is wrong, however, and learning to get comfortable with discomfort instead of rejecting it will make you far more resilient when it comes to body image– as well as so many other areas of life and mental health!
Identify your specific sources of discomfort and then learn to tolerate (and even welcome!) them, instead of trying to reject them, push them away, fix them, or avoid them. Notice and feel the discomfort, but don’t allow yourself to attach a story about what the discomfort means, or try to fix it.
Super curious what you think and if this was helpful. Which of these seven have you experienced?
Written by: Jessi Kneeland
Originally appeared on: Jessikneeland.com
Republished with permission.