If you heard someone bullying or insulting your best friend, or a family member, or even a stranger…how would you react?

Would you allow it?

Would you justify it?

Or would you stand up to the perpetrator because you know they’re in the wrong?

You’d most likely feel the need to protect the person being attacked. Right?

So WHY do you talk to YOURSELF this way?

You are no less important than any other person, and you deserve respectful treatment. Especially from yourself. Take a little time to notice how you talk to yourself in your thoughts. Are you being kind or critical? Understanding or overbearing? Compare how often you congratulate yourself with how often you berate yourself.

Once you start monitoring your thoughts, you’ll be amazed at the transformation.

When you can pull the plug on the criticism, shifting into compassion and love for yourself, your inner well-being begins to shift into a healthier space. And once your emotional and spiritual levels smooth out, your physical well-being will follow. There are numerous studies that link emotional/mental issues like anxiety and depression to physical issues like weight gain and poor health.

When you finally love yourself and your body, you naturally take better care of yourself and your body.

Just keep in mind that the goal is not simply to become thin. What I want for you is to have a body you love in a weight that works for you, with a focus on strength and health. I’ve never met anyone that is only happy because they’re thin.

Happiness is an inside job and has very little to do with the number on the scale. @laurafenamore (Click to Tweet!)

Sometimes we have to untangle old belief systems before we can find that happiness.

Everywhere we look, we are encouraged to be thin. Media and fashion are almost exclusive to skinny women, and a size eight has become a contender for the ‘plus size’ section. It’s undeniable that there’s an exorbitant amount of pressure. We may even be programmed with the opinions of our parents, friends, or other influential individuals in our lives. It’s a subtle conditioning and it runs deep.

I encourage you to take a long hard look at the beliefs you hold.

How much of them are truly your own? How much of them have you inherited or had pushed upon you? If there were no one else around—no one to judge or criticize you, or to be compared to—how would you feel about yourself? Would you feel happy? Beautiful? Comfortable? Healthy? Why or why not?

Thin is not always healthy, either.

Recently at the gym, I noticed a group of women gathered around one of the teachers. They were practically swooning over her, telling her how great she looked, but the truth of the matter is that this teacher is anorexic. I am personally aware of her backstory and know that encouraging her thinness is not healthy for her. But in our society, fat is condemned and thin is praised, regardless of the level of true health involved.

The key is to love yourself unconditionally.

Love yourself just as you would love your best friend, even if she gained weight or lost weight. Because when you look at your best friend, you see so much more than her size, don’t you?

Remember that you are so much more than your size, as well.

Remember that you deserve that same kindness and compassion.

It is your birthright to be happy and healthy no matter what you learned or heard.

How do you think your body image relates to your happiness?

Please comment below.

Laura Fenamore, Body Image Expert, Coach and acclaimed Author is on a mission to help women around the world end the constant battle with their bodies and start adoring who they see in the mirror. Her approach walks students and readers through the heartfelt journey to self-love at any size or age by unlocking the secrets to a lifetime of emotional, physical and spiritual health. After overcoming a lifelong battle with addiction, obesity, and eating disorders, Laura released 100 pounds – keeping it off for more than 28 years. She chronicles this journey to self-love and health in her widely acclaimed book, Skinny, Fat, Perfect: Love Who You See in the Mirror. Learn more about Laura’s programs, or invite her to speak by visiting SkinnyFatPertect.com.

Image courtesy of Spencer Selover.