Most of us are not very kind to ourselves, myself included. When we look into the mirror we hate what we see. We think things like - I am fat, I’ve got a big head, big butt, small breasts, big breasts, too many curves, not enough curves etc… whatever it may be, we always find something wrong. However, coming face-to-face with ourselves and confronting these negative beliefs can be one of the most difficult things, yet one of the most critical steps in our journey to true self-awareness and self-love.
Negative beliefs and feelings about ourselves can be really persistent. Often these ideas have been deeply ingrained into our psyche since childhood. As a result, we think these things or say things to ourselves without even realizing it. We also may not understand how these negative thought patterns are affecting us, our relationships and our life. However, now is the time for these negative thoughts to end. We need to acknowledge these old beliefs, bringing awareness to them so that we can let go of all the negative thought patterns that hold us down. By letting go of them for good, we can begin to love and accept ourselves more and help ourselves move on.
We need to stop fixating and focusing on what it is about our bodies that we don’t like and begin to find things we do like, so we can begin to feel more confident in our skin.
The more time we spend being negative about our body image, the more all of our thoughts turn to the negative. Some believe that focusing on their flaws will help motivate them to make changes to their lives, but often it doesn’t. Motivation comes from compassion and gratitude. Critical and negative thoughts stress and depress us, making motivation to change harder. So the more positive you are with your body, the better you will feel emotionally and physically.
I have struggled with body image and eating disorders from a very early age, and to this day I still feel insecure at times. However, I have gotten much better and have begun to embrace my body and let my poor body image go and you can too.
Here are some ways to help you improve your body image and confidence.
In order to overcome negative body image – forget about what society portrays as “normal” or “attractive” and do what is right for you, your life and your body type. Do you often compare yourself to the men and women you see in magazines? Remember, those people/celebrities are not “average” people. Celebrities have an entire team of people who make sure they eat right, exercise and take care of their skin and hair just so they can look better on camera. In many cases they are even photoshopped.
Don’t be mean to yourself or anyone else. What you think about others are often the same thoughts you use when you judge yourself. Stop looking to compare yourself to others or put someone down to make yourself feel better. The more you do that, the more your preoccupation about your looks and can reach very unhealthy levels.
Forget about a diet. It's all about healthy choices and moderation. People who constantly diet have a higher risk of developing eating disorders and are more likely to binge eat which will then cause a domino effect of physical and mental health issues (i.e. depression & anxiety). Plus, most people cannot sustain a diet so they’ll gain back the weight they lost or gain more. Eating right, regular exercise and sleeping are your weight control keys to success!
Instead of spending so much time obsessing over your outer self/appearance, consider focusing your attention on other things… how smart you are, the talents you have, hobbies etc… You have a lot to offer the world.
Know and accept your body. Maybe you inherited your mother’s hips or your father’s broad shoulders. Our genetics play a huge role in our unique body type. Everyone is different. Learning to love and accept our bodies and let go of things we cannot change, is the first step in working with our particular body size and shape.
If you’re overweight or out of shape and want to take up yoga, running, biking, build more lean muscle mass, etc... know that progress takes time. So set reasonable and realistic goals for yourself and remember healthy weight loss is considered by experts to be one pound per week. So over the course of a year, you can lose more than 50 pounds! Losing weight the healthy way increases your chances of keeping it off for good!
Celebrate you. Love yourself, respect yourself and appreciate all the wonderful things about you. This will help to make you more confident, increase your self-esteem and make you more attractive to others. Remember, you are more than a number on the scale. You are not defined by how many inches your waist is, your clothing size, or whether or not you have six-pack abs. You are unique and special, embrace it. Be your biggest fan!
Remember that your body is the only body you’ll ever have. It’s the one body you were given and it does so much for you each day. It allows you to live, love, help others and make a difference in the world. Begin today by treating your body with a little more respect!