Every one of us has something about our bodies that we just don’t like, and as we get older those perceived-flaws seem to stand out more. While many women are blessed with such a positive body image that they simply refuse to let their “flaws” interfere with their confidence, many other women obsess about their “imperfect bodies” to the point where it interferes with their lives and their mental state. If this sounds like you, then you are not alone. A recent article published on PsychCentral states that approximately 80 percent of women in the U.S are dissatisfied with the way they look, and approximately 10 million women have developed an eating disorder due to negative body image issues.
Negative body image issues can result from pressure related to mass media, frequent self-criticism or criticism from others, low self-esteem or from an accident or disorder that has deformed your body. Some of the symptoms associated with body-hate include obsessive exercising, dieting frequently, wearing unflattering clothing, camouflaging the “imperfect” areas, suicidal thoughts or actions and constant ill-talk about your appearance.
As harsh as the statistics on body image issues may sound, the good news is, you can choose to love your body regardless of the way it may look. The image you give yourselves is strictly mental, therefore, just as you can give power to negatively judging your body, you can give power to positively praising it instead. Below are five ways to help you learn to love your body.
5 Ways to Start Loving your Body:
- Appreciate your body: The number one way to love your body is to forget about the way it looks and appreciate your body for what it allows you to do. Every day you should exude thanks and gratitude for being able to walk with your legs, gesture with your arms, smile with your lips, hear with your ears and see with your eyes. Forget about the aesthetics of your body and just appreciate it for allowing you to live and participate in the world.
- Accept what you cannot change: It makes no sense to hate your big feet, or your squeaky voice, or your big eyes, because you cannot change them. Simply choose to accept, and own your body with pride. So what if you have big feet – don’t try to squeeze them into smaller shoes. So what if your voice is squeaky – don’t try to change the tone and so what if your eyes are big – don’t walk around squinting your eyes. Just accept and be content.
- Change what you can: Only the things that you cannot change you should accept, however, every valid body issue that can be changed, should be. For example, if you are self-conscious about your smile, then you should go to the dentist and fix your teeth. If you are overweight then you should partner with a personal trainer and a nutritionist and lose some weight. If your hair is going gray then you can dye it and if you see those dreaded wrinkles coming then get yourself to a dermatologist.
- Fake it until you make it: It is impractical to think that you can change your self-perception overnight, therefore, you may have to fake it until you make that positive transition. You will have to look at yourself naked every day, and ignore the urge to bash and instead find the power to praise. You will have to get a little uncomfortable wearing body-flattering clothing instead of covering yourself up. And you will have to dig deep down and find the courage to speak politely about yourself instead of exhibiting words of self-hate.
- Talk it out: Your negative body image issues may be a symptom of something much deeper, therefore, it may help to seek counsel and talk it out.
Remind yourself everyday that you are blessed to be alive – don’t judge yourself or hate yourself for the way you look, instead, be kind to yourself and learn to understand your own self-worth.
Image courtesy of stock images.