Can you honestly put your hand up and say you are 100% happy with how you look?? I hope you can, I know it’s something I struggle with. I would love to be content with how I look, but I’m not and the older I get the list of things I want to change gets longer.
If I’m honest I really don’t like discussing weight and what people physically look like. I hate how obsessed we have all become about weight loss, and how we seem to think everyone has to be “thin”. How often do you say to yourself “if I just lost 10lbs my life would be better”. Since when has weight been the main issue of body image?
Where does body image issues come from?
How many of us compare ourselves to the images of the models we see in the media and we know they have been airbrushed to within an inch of their lives, not to mention the amount of time they have spent in hair and make up, and yet we still attain to look like that. I’m sure at some point you have read the awful stories about girls starving themselves so they can get work in the fashion industry.
Being told that at nearly 6 foot tall and a size 10 you are “too fat” and sample sizes will not fit you because they are a size 6! It absolutely breaks my heart, it really does. It comes as no surprise that the diet and cosmetic surgery industries are worth billions of pounds.
So the question is: how do you accept who you are and love yourself?
We are our own worst critic. If a friend was struggling with their self-worth, and wasn’t happy with what they saw in the mirror what would you say to them. I am sure you would say positives things about them to make them feel better about themselves, you would try to help them. What do we say to ourselves?? I know I would never say to a friend what I say to myself. So why so we do this and how can we change it?
How can we learn to love ourselves?
Honestly, it starts on the inside and has nothing to do with how you look on the outside!
4 Tips for self-love
For starters, eat well, sleep well. You have to begin by taking care of yourself. Exercise regularly, you don’t have to be a gym bunny, go for a walk, dance to your favourite song, get your heart rate going.
- Spend some time on your own. I know this can be difficult if you have family commitments, but just try to find the time to be with yourself and your thoughts with no interruptions. People feel uncomfortable being on their own and don’t like it, but being content with your own company is a big step to self- love.
- Practise Mindfulness and Meditation. This is a huge one for me, I meditate every day. Listen to positive, uplifting guided meditations if you are new to it. Learning to quiet your mind gives you great clarity, it’s amazing.
- Make a list of goals. I’m a fan of lists, love them. What’s your dream job? What did you love to do when you were a child? Even create your own bucket list of things you want to do and achieve. They don’t have to be huge goals, start small and see where it takes you. Get some focus in your life, so you can begin to make the changes you need to.
- Be OK with your emotions. It’s perfectly OK to feel angry or sad, you just don’t want to stay that way. We all have negative feelings, at stressful times in our life, but learn to listen to them and then let them go.
Suggested read: Communicating Love: What Are The Love Languages?
Why you should make changes to love yourself
Beginning to break old habits isn’t the easiest thing to do in the world. It can make you fairly uncomfortable when you choose to step out of your comfort zone.
I made some pretty big decisions last year and a lot has changed in my life. But I did it for me, and the sad thing was I lost some friends along the way.
Because when you start to improve your self-worth, you will start to feel and act differently and people will start to notice, and there will be those friends who may not like this. You will have to have courage to carry on, you can’t be held back just because someone doesn’t like it, its not about them, it’s about you. Remember what people think about you says a lot more about them, than it does about you. Stay strong and keep going!
Is being happy on the inside just not enough?
Do you still want to change how you look on the outside? OK, ask yourself this, how does your body make you feel? Do you feel healthy and strong, or are you constantly tired and stressed out? When you look in a mirror do you just focus on the one thing you hate? Is it your nose? Is it your thighs? Do you look at your stomach and wish it was flat? If this is you, my challenge to you is to stand naked in a full length mirror.
It took me years to be able to do this, so I can hear all the sharp intakes of breath after you read that sentence. Just take a deep breath and do it. I don’t want you to focus on the bits you hate I want you to list what you like about yourself. Start with three things, then five things, and I want you to get up to ten things you like about yourself when you look in a mirror. Body positivity is really important so here are some tips on body image.
Positive Body image tips
- The first thing is the mirror exercise above. Learn to love looking at yourself in the mirror.
- Treat yourself to a massage. A wonderful, relaxing massage will make you feel amazing, and it will help you sleep, which we all know is so important.
- Keep yourself as active as you can. I love dancing around my house. It doesn’t involve an expensive gym member ship, and your favourite music will have a positive effect on you as well.
- Ban negative talk! Stop talking about “fat “ and “weight” and chunky thighs, and how much you hate your upper arms. See only the positive in yourself.
- Be realistic! Oh here it comes, back down to earth with a bump. But honestly, if you are 5”4, you are never going to look the same as a 6”0 model. So what, you will still look amazing!
My final words on this are, you are all amazing people. Learn to love the shape you are! Make the changes you want to make to keep you healthy and happy, not to conform to what the world thinks you should look like. Don’t believe the ad’s and the media, they are unrealistic. Make the decision that is right for you. Don’t compare yourself to anybody else. You are unique!