It can be pretty hard to love your body. We’re bombarded with unrealistic images and constant pressure to look a certain way. It’s no wonder that so many women report hating their bodies (including me). If you hate your body right now, it might be a big leap to fall in love with yourself. But perhaps there are ways you can learn to value, like, and respect your body. We can all learn to go beyond the toxic messages in our cultures and find ways to embrace ourselves. Below are some things to consider!
Reframe What You See in the Mirror
Many of us look in the mirror and immediately start listing our [perceived] flaws. This can be tricky, but maybe you can make a conscious habit of naming one thing you like about yourself every time you catch your reflection? [AKA affirmations]. This could be something as simple as having nice teeth, a cute freckle, or that your eyebrows look great today. By training your brain to jump to the positives, you may be less likely to fixate on the things you don’t like.
Note: I understand that body dysmorphic disorder is a very real mental health condition, and often requires professional help. The advice stated above is my opinion and is not meant to diagnose or treat, and does not refer to those with BDD.
Focus on Being Strong and Healthy
So much focus is put on dieting and exercising for weight loss. But what happens when we turn our attention to health, instead? This could mean that you’re less harsh on yourself, and avoid harmful habits like skipping meals or overworking yourself. After all, it’s not healthy to push your body to extremes. [Though some aspiring “health coaches” say pain is good, it’s not true. Pain means there is something wrong!] Approach your diet and exercise with love and positivity, rather than hatred.
Get a New Wardrobe
It can be tempting to keep jeans that don’t fit, because one day we hope to squeeze into them (there was a recent poll in my Facebook group asking how long is acceptable to keep jeans that are too small; some people said forever!). But inevitably, this leaves us feeling ‘less than’. Try to embrace your current body shape and size by getting clothes that fit you beautifully and accentuate your best bits. Nobody needs to know what size you wear, but everyone will see how confident you look in clothes that flatter you. You could even have an in-store stylist pick out some items that would look amazing on you. Personally, I use StitchFix! I also like Amazon Wardrobe. I love having a “personal” stylist to pick flattering clothes for me. The right clothes make all the difference in how we feel!
Switch The Focus
Lots of work towards loving your body involves a lot of focus on your body. But if you struggle with body image, this could be triggering. Could you switch the focus away from your body for a little while? Some people find it helpful to journal about all the positive traits they love about themselves – things like being kind, funny, intelligent, generous. Having an ever-growing list of compliments that have nothing to do with how you look can be a real boost to self-confidence.
Know When You Need Help
Everyone can feel uncomfortable about their body sometimes. But if you have developed excessive worries about your body, or compulsive behaviors and routines, you may have body dysmorphia, which is an anxiety disorder relating to body image. If you think your body image is impacting on your life or you think you may have body dysmorphia, it’s important to seek help. You can speak with your doctor or visit a counseling center to get specialist advice to help you heal. [I shared a note about this above]
•What do you struggle with? How do you build confidence for yourself?
This post was a collaboration.
Thank you for reading!