We’d all love to say that we are body positive. I myself would love to be able to say this. In the past, I have said that I am body positive, but I have also lamented that I am body negative. There have been times when I’ve looked at myself in the mirror and not enjoyed the reflection.
My main New Year’s resolution this year is to be more body positive. I’m not quite there yet, I admit, but I’m definitely working on it. I don’t 100% love myself, but neither do I 100% hate myself anymore. I’m somewhere in the middle. I’m making improvements and I hope that come the summer I’ll be able to strut my stuff on the beach with confidence.
It’s not nice when you feel down about your body. It can put you in a real hole and it affects many areas of your life. You get scared of going on dates, and you don’t even feel like hitting the gym even though this would actually help you out a lot. I know how it all feels, which is why I’m going to share with you 10 tips on how to say goodbye to negative body image and start loving yourself again.
Stop Comparing Yourself With Others
The one thing that is going to keep you trapped in body-hating hell is comparing yourself with others. Sure, we’ve all looked at another woman’s body and wished ours was like theirs.
But not all of us look at another woman’s body and suddenly feel inferior.
You, however, do. And this is really, really bad.
Perfection is an illusion. Flipping through pages and pages of magazines in which women have been Photoshopped to look like goddesses is going to warp your take on reality and make you feel worse.
Looking through your friends’ Facebook photos won’t help either. Your body is rare and sure it might have a few flaws – but so does everyone’s.
You think your friends are all happy with their body, despite it looking amazing in that tighter-than-tight dress? Nope! We all have flaws and we’re all working on them. Your body is unique, so stop comparing it.
And remember – there will always be someone comparing their body to yours. It’s a vicious cycle.
Your Body Is Art
The great British artist Lucien Freud pretty much only painted naked people during the height of his career. His idea of beauty was certainly not the conventional idea of beauty; he painted people warts ’n’ all, emphasising their contours, lines, wrinkles, blemishes, belly fat, veins and so on.
Why did he do this? Because he knew that beauty is subjective and that the human body is at its most artistic when it is spectacularly imperfect.
Leave the skinny models to Photoshop and the celebrity magazines. Your body is going to hang in the galleries.
Support Your Body
When we’re wrapped up in negative body image, all we feel like doing is sighing at our body for being this way.
But that isn’t support and it certainly won’t get you anywhere. What you need to start doing is showing your body some love. Give it a better diet, go easy on it, and do the things that it needs you to do. Detoxify if necessary and cut back on bad habits such as smoking and drinking. Sometimes, your body is waiting for you to make the first move here.
Remember That Life Is Way Too Short For This
One of things that helped me to snap out of my personal self-loathing a few years back was the reminder that life is way too short to be absorbed in the things I hate about myself.
There is so much to see and do, so why let a few bad feelings about your body hold you back? Seize the day!
Redirect Your Focus To Something You Love
I was recently asked what I hated most about my body.
“My legs,” I said sadly. “My stomach, my arms …”
Then I was asked what I loved most about my body. I’d never been asked this question before, and it was a pleasant surprise. Telling someone what I lovedabout my body was something new to me. I was excited.
“Oh, I love my eyes,” I said. I was encouraged to say more. “I like my smile, too.”
It turned out that there were things I should be thankful for and it really inspired me to shift focus from the things I hated.
I realised that I had eyes to see, ears to hear and a mouth to smile with. It felt great.
My friend has had similar problems to me for a while now: She really hates her body. I find that she makes this a whole lot worse by purchasing clothes that are just not right for her body type.
She recently bought a dress that she said “looks like a tent,” when I wear it. She said that she felt like she was a “walking, talking tent.”
I just didn’t understand why on earth she would wear clothes that are not right for her.
Clothes make the woman and it’s important that you wear clothes that are a) right for you and b) make you feel comfortable in your body.
You don’t want to wear clothes that make you feel uncomfortable and which emphasise the parts of your body you hate. Wear something that will make you feel confident and beautiful.
It’s amazing how our mind and body are connected. When you feel down, you start to act depressed. Your shoulders become hunched, you lower your head and you kick your heels.
When you are feeling incredibly negative about your body image, it will affect your entire physiology. Your posture will be poor, and your body language will say: “This is a woman who has no confidence in herself.”
When you smile more, you feel happier. And when you feel happier, you feel more positive and confident. This happy mentality begins to seep through into your physiology and you start to walk upright, your head held high and your shoulders straightened. This, in turn, will help you to feel better about your whole body image.
Thank Your Body For All That It’s Done For You
Your body has done a lot for you over the years. It’s taken care of you when you caught the flu. It’s been there for you when you wanted to compete in sports day at school. It’s got you out of bed in the morning after a fantastic night’s sleep and it will be there for you in the years to come.
So, count your blessings and not your blemishes for once.
Enjoy Your Body
When my self-hating was at its peak, a perceptive friend of mine pointed out that I don’t exactly enjoy my body. I don’t get the most out of it, she said.
“What do you mean?” I asked, puzzled.
“You don’t do anything with it bar slouching on the sofa watching Netflix.”
She was right. I took onboard her advice and started to enjoy my body more. I took up yoga classes, went running and walking. I got more out of it.
And you know what? It felt amazing.
Stop Postponing Things
Ever postponed something because of your body? I sure have. I once cancelled on a date because I was terrified that he might see me naked.
Yep, on a first date. That’s how irrational I was.
Don’t let your body hold you back. We’re very rarely objective about ourselves, and as such that tiny blemish you hate might not even noticeable to someone else. Give your body a chance to shine.
What are your best tips on how to start loving yourself more?