This guest article from PsychCentral was written by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
Recently a reader who’s planning her own wedding emailed me with an important question about self-love: how do you practice self-love when so many things around you essentially suggest the opposite?
The problem is that in our culture weddings have become less about love and more about looks, losing weight, matching napkin rings and sky-high expectations.
There’s a lot of pressure, especially when it comes to our appearance. It’s hard to ignore all the diet tips and workout programs specifically for spouses-to-be.
As Mara writes in this post on planning a body positive wedding, the wedding industry is really good at making us feel inadequate and bad about ourselves.
Even as a self-love coach, she certainly felt the pressure. Anna, of Curvy Yoga, also felt the pull. ”When I was planning my wedding 8 years ago, I definitely felt that pressure to ‘get in shape.’”
So what do you do?
I asked Mara and Anna for their expert advice. Both of their work focuses on helping women nourish ourselves and practice kindness and compassion. Plus, they’ve gone through the process of planning a wedding and stayed true to themselves and their relationships.
1. Keep practicing self-care. ”In planning a wedding steeped deeply in self-love, make sure that you are creating space to be very kind and gentle with yourself,” Mara says. “Getting married can be overwhelming on many levels, and allowing ourselves time and opportunity to move slowly or take space for self-care can go a long way in keeping our sanity.”
For instance, that might mean carving out time for activities that feed you emotionally and spiritually. It also might mean saying no to certain engagements or projects, and really preserving your boundaries.
2. Be a smart consumer. “The weight loss industry has been clever in targeting us when we’re most vulnerable, like when planning a wedding [and] getting ready for ‘bathing suit season.’ This isn’t because it’s *actually* a good time to go on a diet, but rather that it’s a good time for them to make money,” Anna says.
3. Focus on your priorities as a couple. Mara also suggests getting clear on what’s most important to you in planning your wedding. With your partner, come up with three priorities, which will be “your guiding light” during the process. “Remember, your wedding day is about you and your sweetheart, who, presumably knows exactly what you look like and loves you for it already.”
4. Move your body. For Mara movement is key. “If I were going to re-do my wedding, the one thing that I would make an absolute priority is moving my body every day. Not because I wanted to ‘look good for the big day,’ but because getting married is a big, exciting, and enormously overwhelming event in your life.”
Exercise gets us out of our heads and reduces our anxiety and stress levels, she says. “Plug into active ways that you can love and support yourself, so that your overall emotional experience of your big day will be grounded deeply in love and care for yourself.”
5. Focus on how you want feel. According to Anna,”Rather than turning your attention to the external rules of a diet, focus on the internal — feeling how you want to feel.”
And remember to keep coming back to the significance and purpose of the event: your relationship. Your wedding day is about your love and commitment. It’s about becoming a family, and having fun.
So even though the pressures are real, consider shifting your perspective to the joyous event and what it signifies.
As Anna says, “I wanted my wedding and wedding planning time to be about love and celebration — not forcing myself to change for some arbitrary and external reason. Needless to say, I’m happy I went with love!”
This article was originally published at
. Reprinted with permission from the author.