You thought you were better than this, but there you are again, staring at your “huge” thighs, your wobbly stomach or your loose underarms, feeling like you are the most unattractive person. As we develop and evolve as human beings, it seems that body image issues are only getting worse as they affect more and more people by the year. For something that used to be considered as a predominantly female issue, nowadays there are almost as many men suffering from some form of eating disorder as a result of dealing with negative body image issues. What’s more, the majority of people suffering from negative body image issues associate their looks with their general happiness and wellbeing. Being thin and beautiful translates to being happy, successful, lovable, healthy and intelligent. How did we get to this point, you may wonder.
Even though most of us would rightfully blame social media and the advertising industry for imposing the unrealistic beauty and body standards that many of us don’t conform to, the problem is much deeper and has to do with our core confidence and self-acceptance. A certain level of pressure to look great and compare ourselves to others had been present even before social media. Even though Instagram has magnified the problem, it didn’t create it. It has only come to serve as a mirror for all of us to see how much we really accept ourselves. In order to help you create a more positive body image that includes working on yourself from a loving perspective, we compiled a list of steps to take you from feeling frustrated about your looks to appreciating them and taking care of them in a healthier way.
Get in Touch with Your Feelings
You had a terrible fight with your significant other and all of a sudden, you feel ugly, fat or unattractive, even though hours ago you were fine with how you look. Most often, we tend to associate feeling bad about a situation at work, in relationships or in traffic with hating our looks. And it is often an unconscious behaviour that seriously affects how we see ourselves. Analyse your feelings in order to be able to recognise the most common triggers for negative self-talk that is oriented towards your looks. Stop and reflect in order to recognise and understand the real cause of your emotions. In this way, you will gradually reach a place where you will be able to dissociate your appearance from happiness.
Work on Your Looks the Right Way
Feeling good about your looks and being confident in your own skin doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to start to love each imperfection and not even try to take care of it. The trick is finding a healthy balance between accepting the things you can’t change, such as your height, your skin type and your body-build, and finding a healthy way to change the ones you can. But first and foremost, you need to set your intentions differently. Instead of exercising to lose weight, do it for the energy, concentration and that amazing relaxation effect. A healthy, well-balanced diet and workout plan can help with resolving bad skin problems, building muscles and improving posture. Meditation and mindfulness practices will improve your focus and decrease the level of negative self-talk. Finally, if you need help with getting rid of scars, excess skin or any other stubborn issue, you can consult a good clinic and have it removed. It all comes down to how you feel about yourself. Not what society or social media thinks, but what you feel. That is the most loving way to treat yourself and transform your body image.
Take a Good Look at Yourself
Any time you get a chance, face your biggest fear and stand in front of a mirror, and truly look at yourself. Don’t let the negative filter stop you from actually getting to know your body and face. Instead of focusing only on the small imperfections you think are enormous, look at the full picture. Watch how you look when you smile, when you are interested, when you laugh, and when you walk. You’ll notice that there is so much more to you than just your nose, your arms, your belly or your stretch marks, and that it is actually uniquely beautiful.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
It is almost impossible to avoid looking at other people and finding reasons to envy them, and finding fault with our face or body features as a result. This is especially true in today’s Instagram era, when one scroll down your feed can make you find thousands of reasons to hate your body for. However, you need to put an end to this vicious cycle. Catch yourself early on as you start comparing and ask yourself where it comes from and what you can do to stop it. What part of you needs healing in order to stop thinking so highly of others and so low about yourself? Can you feel appreciative of and grateful for any of your physical attributes?
Work on Other Areas of Your Life
By focusing on your career achievements, your family, your great cooking, drawing or sports skills, you are placing other things instead of physical appearance as standards for self-acceptance and confidence. Take pride in your achievements and talents in order to reach a more realistic, complete and more positive self-image.