Body image can sometimes be a tricky thing. We live in a culture that sets unrealistic standards for everyone’s face and physique, and that can create negative feelings and behaviors around your body, no matter what it looks and feels like. Societal pressure is often all-encompassing in that it impacts interpersonal relationships, media and many other facets of life.
When it feels like all you’ve known for a lifetime is not being good enough, it can seem impossible to simply start loving your body just because you want to. However, you can take steps and use techniques that guide you in a positive direction, because self-love is a journey, and you are worth it.
1. Appreciate the Function
It can be easy to feel like your body’s most important job is to look attractive, and when your confidence wavers in that arena, it can seem as though your body isn’t doing what it is meant to do. And even though you might be aware of this consciously already, it can be helpful to remind yourself that your body’s job is not to look any certain way — your body’s job is to do things!
Your body carries your consciousness. Your body allows you to taste the food you love, hear the birds outside and feel the soft touch of fresh bedsheets. Your body can jump and swim and hike. Take some time to appreciate the functional ways you’re confident in your body. Are you physically strong? Can you run fast? Are you impressively balanced? Focus and appreciate some of the amazing things your body can do.
2. Practice Positive Self-Talk
Complimenting yourself might seem simple enough, but it can bring about a variety of positive changes. Reminding yourself about the things you love about your body will keep those traits at the forefront of your mind, which naturally helps to shift your attitude about yourself. It can be easy to focus on the negative and get stuck in a rut, but focusing your energy on the positive can remind you of all the beautiful things about your body.
You can make a list of features you love about yourself, both physical and internal, and read it often. Add new things to the list every time you think of something new, and watch it grow long and vibrant.
3. Love Every Body
While it may seem as though your body isn’t connected to anyone else’s, the way you feel about bodies overall can impact you in ways you might not even realize. It’s important to be kind to others’ bodies just like you aim to be kind to your own. When you judge the appearances of others, it gives you a more negative view of body image, and that negative view is easily transferable to your own body, especially if you already struggle with self-love.
On a practical level, making yourself aware of flaws in others can put you on high alert for flaws within yourself. On the flip side, noticing positive traits will put you on the hunt for things you like about yourself so you can keep a cycle of kindness and care going.
4. Curate Your Social Media Feed
Unfollowing the picture-perfect Instagram model that reminds you of all your little imperfections might be hard, but sometimes it must be done. Scrolling through a feed filled with unrealistic expectations, edited photos and images that do nothing for you will only hurt your confidence.
Instead, make it a point to follow people and pages that embrace the imperfections that make us all human. Follow people who look like you, and those who rock entirely different traits. Seek out those who wear your insecurities proudly and shamelessly. If you’re insecure about your skin, find some beauties who are known to rock a pimple or two. If you’re not too keen on your thick thighs, find some people who embrace every inch of theirs.
5. Splurge a Little
Often, we can make a bad habit of putting off our most fabulous looks and experiences until we think we look good enough to deserve them. But realistically, you can’t wait around to get those adorable pants or throw that super fun bash until you’re perfectly satisfied with everything about yourself. Nobody is perfect, and waiting around for perfection will never lead you where you need to go.
Don’t buy the adorable dress once you lose five pounds — buy it right now because you love yourself! When you uplift yourself with a little something extra, it can give you a boost of confidence from trying something new all while reminding you that you’re absolutely beautiful and totally worth it.
The journey to positive body image isn’t easy, but you deserve to remind yourself that you’re beautiful no matter what. Through positive self-talk, kindness and reminding yourself of all the amazing things your body can do, you can get a little closer to the positive body image you deserve.