How you see your body is perceptual body image. Which basically means how you see yourself is different to how other people see you. We are our worst critics and this can have a huge effect on how you feel day to day. While some aspects of your body can be changed and altered like muscle definition and weight. Other body aspects cannot be changed. It is so important that you understand there is no right or wrong and there is no ‘perfect body type’. Learning to accept your shape is the first step towards not only a positive body image but simply being happy J
I view my own body image like a roller coaster ride. Some of you may believe I do not struggle with the way I look. I am human just like you and I struggle exactly the same as you. One day I will be at the top of the roller coaster feeling free and feeling like I could conquer the world, then I get to the loop dee loop and I feel like I want to hide from the world.
There is nothing more toxic and damaging than self-hate/low esteem. The biggest issue is social media. Social Media is great but it can also be detrimental to your self-esteem, you view all these gorgeous people living what you perceive to be the ‘perfect’ life. I fell into the habit of idolising many Instagram models and I have had many days where I don’t feel adequate enough and I don’t feel pretty, smart, funny, thin enough. Just like all of you I have my days that I struggle to. However, when I feel like that I repeat to myself my favourite quote - “another person’s beauty is not the absence of your own”. I am learning that I am unique, and that’s a good thing. I need to remember that my beauty is different to other social media girls. This does not mean I am less though. You can admire another person, but avoid comparing! You are all so beautiful in your own unique way and that makes you, YOU!
In this article I would like deal with your negative body image, rather than dwell on it. So let’s move on and start now! Start to feel confident and amazing:
- Focus on the positives (I know this is hard to do but try) By focussing on your positive and amazing qualities you can start to accept your whole self.
- Say at least 1-2 positive things to yourself a day. For example – I am funny – I am caring.
- If social media is an aspect of your life that diminishes your self-perception of your body, then take some time away from it and don’t go back on until you believe you are awesome.
- Count 1-2 things you are grateful for. For me its my family and my dog.
- Avoid negative talk, as soon as you feel yourself beginning to degrade yourself. Stop. And think, “I am worthwhile, I am worth loving, I’m freaking awesome”.
- Set achievable, healthy goals. My biggest issue is my mindset. I have recently started training with Jacob (JT fitness) and he has been great to get me on the right track of a healthy and happy mindset. The more I exercise the more I feel happy and healthy. Not saying never eat bad foods! Popcorn and Maltesers are amazing and they’ll never go! I never went to the gym much due to my anxiety. I now feel comfortable to train with Jacob as he encourages me and empowers me to love my body and test my body to its limits.
- Surround yourself with loving and supportive positive people. My family, friends and my boyfriend, are all-supportive in helping create this positive and healthy environment.
- Accept your body shape. Accept yourself – own it!
With all this, yes look after yourself and yes love yourself but the way you look does not define you. If I have learnt anything from my mum it’s not what’s on the outside that matters, it’s the inside that defines you. I am beautiful because I care about other people, I am beautiful because I love to laugh. How you feel about yourself is a big thing, however it is so important to not make this your sole aspiration. Life is to be enjoyed! Try new experiences, and meet new people.
To work on your self-love, you should work on your sense of self worth. Your sense of self worth I believe goes hand in hand with self-love. This is all about recognising that you are valuable and to quote my man man Dr. Seuss
“Today you are you, that is truer than true, there is no one alive who is you-er than you. Shout aloud, I am glad to be what I am. Thank goodness I am not a ham, or a clam, or a duty of jar of gooseberry jam. I am what I am, what a great thing to be. If I say so myself, happy everyday to me”.
Find qualities within yourself that you think are important. Let go of the things you cannot control: what others think of you, what others will say about you, and the environment around you. Enjoy having the freedom of the things you can control: your self-talk, your view of yourself, the people you surround yourself with. Get out of unhealthy habits of “I am an idiot”, “I can’t do this” (I do this a lot and pinch myself every time) or “why doesn’t he/she like me?”. As soon as you come to realise the only opinion that matters if your own, the better off you will be. You realise that being happy for you is much more important than anything else.
I am passionate about helping young women love themselves whole-heartedly. It breaks my heart to read the statistics of young women who have eating disorders, display negative self talk in their daily lives, have zero self confidence. We as women need to be empowering one another and empowering ourselves. I read a blog posted by one of my favourite Instagram women that said: “what are things you would change about yourself…. Now would you say this about your best friend”. You should be your own best friend. I know when I read that; I said to myself “well damn, no I wouldn’t say the same thing about my best friend. My best friends are beautiful and I love them for them, I wouldn’t change a thing”… this is exactly how I should look and view myself and how you all should view you’re own body image. Self love! Be your own goal.
If you are struggling with your self worth, your body image, it helps to talk to someone. I talk to my family, my sister in law who I am very close with, I talk to my partner, I even see a psychologist once a month to just get some perspective and keep me grounded. Please remember you are not alone and there is support out there because at the end of that day you are worthwhile and you are worth loving and being loved in return.
Help break the stigma and "Start That Awkward Conversation"