Heads, shoulders, knees and toes!


There was a simple, fun game that I remember playing as a young child called: ‘Head, shoulders, knees and toes’. You’d sing the words and as you did you’d tap the body part you were singing about at exactly the same time. Eventually the song would pick up pace and you would be ‘out’ as soon as you fell out of line with the singing or the body taps. The last person ‘in’ would win.

It was fun. It was light. It was silly.

Nowadays, as an adult (and a female one), when I am invited to think about parts of my body it isn’t so fun.

I get told it’s not quite right thousands of times a day by advertising, music videos, social media and strangers. Yep. As I live in London, like other city dwellers I am exposed to 5,000+ adverts a day - with many telling me what I need to change about my looks [1]. So with all this negative input, how often in adult life do we make the time to think about our body positively? How often do we enjoy thinking about each of our body parts with fondness? Not often.

I regularly hear people complaining about their bodies, or comparing them to someone else (who has often had a lot of help). And that's only what gets said out loud! Let's not get started on inner dialogue- which is what we say to ourselves when no one is listening. Sadly, this is more aggressive than all the ways the media tells us what we were born with isn’t quite right [2].

Maybe there is a part of your body that doesn’t work 'properly'. Maybe there is a part of your body that you wish you could change. Perhaps it is something’s size – too big or too small? The marks and scars you have – tiger / electricity, surgery / injury induced. Or perhaps it's the texture – rough skin, burns, lumps or bumps. Or in a world where racism and colourism is sadly still so rife, what about your skin tone – are you too light, too dark? Sound familiar?

But here is the thing. Despite all the lies we get told (NB: the intention behind these lies is to make money from negative body image):

Your body is an incredible creation.

A miracle in fact. For you to be living and breathing right here on earth is in and of itself, magical. The chances of you being born as you are 10 ∧(2,685,000) (yes, that's a 10 followed by 2,685,000 zeroes [3]. Let that sink in. The odds of you being alive, today, are basically zero.

The definition of a miracle is an event so unlikely it is practically impossible. So guess what that means?

You are a miracle.

And so is your body. With all its flaws, it is still flawless. With all its imperfections, it is still perfect. Your body is your home. It is your temple. It is where your soul dwells. It is a sacred place.

Your body is your vessel whilst you are on this earth. And it is likely to be doing the very best it can to keep you alive and empower you to have the best experience possible whilst you are here. Every part of it matters, and every part of it deserves your love.

So, with this in mind, I encourage you to pay a little more attention to your body over the next few days. And what is influencing your opinions. See what thoughts arise when you look at yourself in the mirror. Are they thoughts of judgement? Feelings of shame or embarrassment? What would you like to replace those thoughts and feelings with? Love? Appreciation? Honour? Respect?

Why not write down some positive affirmations that you would like to believe about your body. And say them daily out loud in the mirror. Here are some for inspiration:

"I love my body exactly as it is."

"My body is a beautiful temple."

"I accept my body exactly as it is."

Learning to accept, love and appreciate your body is a journey worth going on as you’re set to be together for life. The first step is to become more aware of the inner dialogue you have about your body, make a note of what you say to yourself over a day. Would you say those things to a close friend? If not, what would be more loving, compassionate, supportive alternatives?

If you don't know where to start and need a little more inspiration, you might like to read some of my previous articles on self love.

Alternatively, if you feel you would benefit from a motivating pep talk, let's have a chat! Book a complimentary consultation with me and we can talk confidentially about where you are now, and where you would like to be by the end of the year. You'll learn how 121 coaching can help you on your journey towards true #selflove.

Go forth and stand in this truth beautiful human; for you are a miracle.

Now repeat after me:

“Heads, shoulders, knees and toes. And eyes and ears and mouth and nose, heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes!”



[1] Anywhere the eye can see it's likely to see an ad, The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/15/business/media/15everywhere.html

[2] Your face looks like a bulldog, Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3021912/Your-face-looks-like-bulldog-Beauty-company-Dove-asked-women-write-body-flaws-new-ad-paid-actresses-repeat-comments-them.html

[3] The odds of being alive, Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/infographic-the-odds-of-being-alive-2012-6