Acceptance and Compassion Meditation

To begin this meditation, sit comfortably in a chair or in a formal meditation position. Begin by establishing an amount of time you wish to practice this meditation. If you are new to meditation, consider starting with five minutes and build over time to a longer 20- or 30-minute meditation. When starting to meditate, create a clear intention to practice self-compassion or to work on body acceptance. This intention will help ground you if you become distracted by thoughts and emotions while you meditate.

1. Take five deep breaths to start the meditation. These breaths will help you center yourself and begin to calm your thoughts. After your five deep breaths, imagine you are safe, as you continue your meditation.

2. Breathe in and connect with your desire for body acceptance. Keep breathing in and out slowly, calmly. If you find this hard to do, reconnect with your intention to practice self-compassion. Acknowledge the courage it takes to sit across from your inner critic. If you are afraid or emotional, acknowledge that the mind imagines your inner critic will say hurtful and painful words. You may recall verbal darts from your past that sounded like, “you’re so disgusting,” “your body is gross,” and so on. If this happens, reconnect to the present moment by breathing in and out slowly.

3. Renew your desire to accept your body just the way it is, despite the verbal or mental darts the inner critic might throw at you. When you accept your body as it is, not as you want it to be, you are practicing acceptance and self-compassion.

4. If it is helpful, repeat a phase that is supportive, such as “I am learning to listen to my body.” or “I am learning to accept my body.”

5. Remain in the present moment, breathing in and out. With each breath, feel the air fill your body, then feel the air slowly release. You are in the present moment.

6. End the meditation by taking five deep breaths to calm your body and mind. Acknowledge the effort that this has taken by saying “I acknowledge the effort that I have made.” Open your heart to the reality that you are not alone and that many people are suffering with accepting their bodies by saying, “May this effort benefit myself and all the other people who are struggling to listen and compassionately accept their bodies.”