Embracing Body Image – The Embodied Way

May 2, 2018


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Which part of your body do you have trouble loving?  

Your weight?  

Your arms?  

Your thighs?  

Your tummy?  

All of the above?

For a big part of my life, I had trouble loving my skin. Specifically, I hated my acne and acne scars.

But its not only acne Ive had trouble loving. My tuck shop grandmother arms, as one boyfriends friend put them, have been a tender spot. As has my overall weight and general lack-of-skinny-ness have troubled me more times than I can count.

Almost all women, at some time, struggle to love their body. We feel undesirable, too much here or not enough there. Loving this body is one of the biggest challenges for sincere selflove 

In this post, thanks to Sarah who wrote in asking for me to speak on this topic – were discussing embracing our body image, the embodied way.

It’s easy to think that we love ourselves.  It’s easy to tell ourselves “I am enough”.  

But the truth is in our tissues.

When I was working as a Kinesiologist, partnering with clients to resolve their health issues holistically, I felt like such a fraud because I couldn’t heal my own acne. Id tried so many energy medicine balances, healings, detoxes, you name it, to fix my skin. But this red hot acne on my cheeks and jaw to me were like a signpost saying not perfect and dont have my shit together here. I felt frustrated, ashamed and like a failure.

When we don’t love this body, and when this physical temple isn’t good enough our physical embodiment of worth then the ideals of self-love haven’t truly sunk in.

In all the holistic work I had done on my skin, this was the missing piece.  

I wasnt ready to truly love my skin – as it was, not as I wanted it to be.

This is the trick with body image right? We all know were meant to love ourselves just as we are. But how?

Whats more, when we cant fully embrace our physical temple the deeper essence of who we are as a woman – our power, confidence and magnetism cant shine through. Perhaps most importantly, when we struggle to own a positive body image, we struggle to own our desirability.  

If we don’t desire us, how will our lovers, our clients or even friends desire us?

The trick with my skin was that I had the wrong goal. I wanted perfect skin because I thought it would make me feel confident, and prove I was good at what I did.

I was waiting for my skin to heal, before I could feel the way I wanted to feel. And when I realized that what I truly wanted to feel was desire for myself, love for myself, and confidence in myself I knew that it actually didnt matter what my skin looked like.

I could be desirable, full of love and confident and still have acne.  

Dont believe me? Well, your own judgments and beliefs were just illuminated. I promise you, its true. You can be a size 22 and be sexy AF. Check out Ashleigh Graham on Instagram if you dont believe me. 

You can have all kinds of weird and wonderful things going on in your body – but if you own it, if you deeply truth love it – all the feminine radiance you already are is free to shine through.

So Im curious.

What will you finally receive when you’re the right weight or your tummy is a little tighter here, or your body more perfect there?

Setting the way you desire to feel is more important than setting your ideal weight, or your ideal shape, size or texture.

Ill say that again.  

Getting clear on how you want to feel.  

Is more important than getting clear on how much you want to weight.

Even when there are people in your life telling you should look or be a certain way – nothing and no one is more important than embracing the skin you are in. Your opinion is the only one that counts.

As I sat with the feeling that I desired, to be radiant, I began to also feel all the stories, thoughts and accumulated hatred Id impregnated into my skin. Genuinely feeling and experiencing these stories, thoughts, and hates were the most vulnerable, painful and heart breaking things to feel. 

When we want to be desired – by our lovers, our clients or our friends. When we want to be adored.  

When we want to be loved.  

It has to start within. 

In the skin we are in.

Allowing myself to focus on the feeling I desire to feel around my skin AND the to feel fully the current attitude I had towards my skin was the most powerful medicine which, in my opinion, resulted in a dramatic shift in my skin within the coming 9 months.

The trick with this approach is that most of us are not willing to really feel the pain, hate or anger that we feel towards our body. Oh sure we know its there, we know we are unhappy with things the way they are, but we dont necessarily experience and fully embody our dislike.

Put another way, we keep our tender feeling hearts slightly separate from the way we treat our body. This is the definition of disembodiment.

A disembodied woman knows she doesnt love her body – and looks outside herself to fix the problem 

A disembodied woman isnt willing to feel the pain and shame and hate thats going on inside her.

On the other hand.  

An embodied woman knows the resolution to her body image shame is right here inside. Shes willing to get clear on how she wants to feel, and to get really-real and intimate with every lie, hateful story and shame she experiences inside herself. 

Sounds horrific to feel all that. But until we feel it, we cant heal it.

My skin hasnt been the only part of my own body image Ive struggled with. My weight has also caused challenges over the years. Just recently during a dress fitting, I noticed how much weight I had put on in my hips and my arms, without really realizing it.

Honestly, the first thought that ran through my mind was – oh this has to go.

Honestly, its easy to begin to exercise or move the body with an intention of losing weight and getting back to your old size from that place. And that intention isnt necessarily negative or problematic. 

But if Im going to move my body and exercise my body – I dont want it to be a form of punishment or sacrifice just to fit into a smaller dress size. Bringing this kind of energy to exercise is not a very inspiring or self-loving motivation. Instead, if Im going to move my body, Id rather focus on the feeling and texture of nourishment that accompanies living in this feminine temple. This means Ill choose an activity or exercise that feels most nourishing to me.

Embracing body love isnt something we do once and then forget. Were constantly bringing this big beautiful temple around with us, and its constantly changing. As we grow, as we maybe give birth and nutrient to new life. As we age. Our body changes, its constantly changing and we are in a constant relationship and opportunity to find new ways to adore it.

If youd love some support getting into your body in this moment, so that you can tap into your feelings and sensations more honestly and easily then go ahead and download the Embodiment Ritual at www.jennaward.co/audio. This is a short 10 mins process to get you in and get you connected.

website-cover-imageOnce youve dropped in using the audio the two questions you want to ask are:  

+ How do I truly want to feel about this part of my body?  
+ What story am I currently telling about this part of my body – and how does that feel?

Then Id love to hear from you in the comments section below, which part of your body do you struggle to love? And what one nasty thing are you thinking/feeling about that part of your body – that you might be able to feel more fully with your heart right now?

With love,


4 Comments on “Embracing Body Image – The Embodied Way”

  1. couldn’t agree with you more Jenna,
    thanks for the reminder to self love and nurture ourselves unconditionally,
    Jo xox

  2. Thank you Jenna! Body image and body shame has been a recurring thing in my life and in my practice. I want to feel desirable, and sensational and powerful. But to get there I need to cozy up to all the complied rage and hate in my thighs.

  3. Wow. I just want to tell you how life-changing this post has been for me. About 6 years ago I woke up and noticed my face had aged. Just like that! The day before I was cute and pretty, and that morning I looked… old. For the next 6 years I had become obsessed with the part of my face that was the culprit – the exaggerated crows feet. I no longer wanted to smile as largely as I always had. I spent the next 6 years researching skin care, crepey skin, how to get rid of it (without surgery or botox), etc.. Searched Instagram, youtube, etc.. obsessed with how to change it. And every time I looked in the mirror I was pretty devastated. Hard to admit that to yourself and others, how much I relied on my looks to meet my need and how devastating it feels to lose that. And I kept this all inside. Didn’t want to bring attention to it, or admit my vulnerability. And even though I KNOW and wholeheartedly believe that the most attractive trait of a woman, to MEN AND women is authenticity and being happy, it still devastated me. I still felt completely unattractive. But reading your post! OMG… I realized how much HATE I was sending to the skin around my eyes. And the story I was telling myself… that those stupid lines were responsible for making me ugly, unattractive, unwanted (which BTW is completely untrue, my husband thinks I’m the most beautiful woman in the world). And with that realization, just like that, I deleted all the “skin care” instagram people I’ve been following and I sent my skin love. I touched my skin and spoke lovingly to it. I just want to thank you for this. I never read “body Image” articles, b/c I’ve never had body image problems. But something drew me to this. And when you started talking about skin it hit me. And gave me a new perspective – and ultimately gave me my SMILE back!!!! Thank you, Jenna!!!! xoxo

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