Learning how to love your body for what it is can be difficult. We’re constantly being told that we have to look a certain way, when each of us are completely unique and different to each other. It’s hard to not fall victim to the comparison traps social media and society creates for us too, especially when we are dealing with poor body image.
The way we view ourselves today, depends so heavily on the way others view us. So much of our time, effort and energy goes into making ourselves look good on the outside for others, that we end up hating who we really are on the inside. This puts us in a cycle of constant self-judgement and criticism, because we try so hard to match up to a beauty standard that doesn’t even compare to our own uniqueness and individuality. This then leads to things like body image issues, low confidence and self-esteem, which can then manifest into more serious issues like eating disorders, body dysmorphia, anorexia and so much more.
The reason we fall into these comparison traps and try to change ourselves from who we are to what we think we need to be, is because we aren’t taught to love ourselves. We’re always being pressured to change ourselves to be something that other people feel comfortable looking at. We’re not taught to be who we want to be and embrace our uniqueness. You have to understand that when you seek validation and approval of others, that is when you give into self-hatred, not love. The only way to break the cycle is by learning how to love yourself for who you are. That is how you build your confidence and create a positive body image.
1. Learn How To Love Yourself
The reason why self-love is so important is because it helps you to be confident in who you are, no matter what judgement comes your way. Learning how to love yourself sets you miles apart from falling into comparison traps. You no longer require the approval and validation of others, because you understand that you are enough just the way you are. Anything you choose to do therefore, comes from a healthy place because you’re no longer in a race to be something you’re not.
When you have self-love you no longer rush into crash diets or try to quickly change your body image. The moment you do this you have to question what the rush is. Are you doing it just because you want someone else to see the results? The only time you will ever find yourself trying to rush to get things done or do them from an unhealthy place, is when you’re trying to get someone else’s validation or you’ve fallen victim to comparison traps. Therefore, you need to be more aware of what you do, and why you’re doing these things.
2. Working Out To Change Your Body Image
Remember that loving yourself doesn’t mean that you only love yourself when you ‘get’ to your aspired version, it means loving yourself along the journey to improving yourself too. I see many young women, working out with the intention of reaching a certain body image, only to get frustrated along the way when they don’t get there quick enough. This is giving into self-hatred which you need to be aware of. When you learn how to love yourself, you understand that no matter what phase you’re in, you are still enough. You’re not valid only when you get to your goal, but you’re also valid even on your journey towards it. So give yourself the approval and validation you seek. It’s the only validation that matters!
3. Improving Yourself, For Yourself
We all have goals in our minds of what our best selves look like and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. When you want to change something about yourself, for yourself, that is totally okay. It’s your body, therefore it’s your choice. Whether you want to wear a lot of makeup or less, change your hair colour or not, you have a right to do whatever makes you feel good and confident. However, if you’re just trying to change something about yourself for the sake of subconsciously seeking validation or approval from those around you, that is not okay. That is when you need to again, question yourself on why you want that change and who you’re really doing it for.
4. Be Around Those Who Love You For You
You need to understand that the people around you who put you down about your body image or try to change or manipulate you into thinking something is wrong your body all the time, are not people that love you for who you truly are. You also need to recognise that sometimes these are the ones closest to you. These people are insecure, and when a person is insecure they project their insecurities onto others. However, when this happens you need to simply remember that you are enough, exactly as you are. You do not need to change yourself for anyone. Someone who loves you will never need you to change a thing about yourself. Please let that sink in. A person who loves you will always see your worth, even in your worst moments. So keep your standards high and don’t settle for anything less.
5. Letting Go Of Subconscious Body Image Beliefs
We’ve all been judged for something about ourselves, especially when it comes to our appearance and body image. Whether you realise it or not, some of these things have stuck in your subconscious, causing you to fall into cycles of comparison, self-hate and more. The only way to get rid of these subconscious beliefs is by learning how to rewire your mind. When you start to notice these thoughts and begin to let go of them, you will stop falling victim to the things people say and do to you that make you feel less than.
We have to remember, that the root of poor body image is essentially our thoughts. Once we learn how to stop those underlying negative subconscious thoughts, we stop our bad self-talk in our minds that influences our confidence and self-esteem. You can start by writing out your limiting beliefs on body image and the way you have been taught or wired to see yourself, based on the negative things people have said and done to you. Once you do that, go back, take those negative beliefs and rewrite them into positive affirmations about yourself. Read these out everyday morning or every night before bed to help rewire your subconscious mind!
6. Embrace Your Differences
Learning how to love yourself and the things that make you different, unusual or flawed, is how you embrace yourself and build your self-image and confidence up. Believe it or not, everyone has things they don’t particularly like about themselves, however when you love yourself, you learn to accept those things and love yourself for it.
Think about how when you’re in love with someone, and their flaws and insecurities only makes you love them even more. This is the same type of way you should aspire to love yourself and your differences too. Your differences are your greatest advantage, both physically and in regards to your personality! Don’t allow anyone to make you feel like they’re your downfall. These are the things about yourself that make you unique to everyone else.
7. Instagram and Body Image
It’s sad when we begin to fall into the trap of determining our worth through the number of followers and likes we have. Watching other people constantly getting a reaction from people that you wish you could get one from, is really damaging to your body image and self-esteem. It almost subconsciously makes you think that perhaps something is wrong with you. That is when you start fighting for attention and got so caught up in the cycle of trying to impress others, that you don’t even realise it anymore. It’s one thing to draw inspiration from others, but its another thing when your life turns into a competition to impress others.
This is how you begin to get so far away from who you really are, that you almost lose a piece of yourself. Don’t allow the seeking of validation to do this to you. You literally do not need it and can do without it. I’m not saying that Instagram or any social media platform is bad and you should forever swear off it. I’m just saying that you need to be aware of when you’re letting it consume your days. Take more time off your phone and limit your screen time and just live, be bored, it’s okay. You don’t always have to fill up your time. You don’t realise how much you’ve let pass you by until you come off your phone.
8. You Are Enough
If you take anything from this post today, please just remember this. You are enough, exactly the way you are. Whether you choose to see it or not, it is true. You do not ever need to change yourself for anything or anyone. Always embrace who you are, work on yourself if you feel the need to, but at the end of the day whatever you want to change about you, do it for yourself, not for anyone else! You are the only one that matters when it comes to your body and what you choose to do with it.
You’ve reached the end of this post! I hope you learnt something valuable about just how beautiful you are and you are more than enough. I just wanted to remind you that I have a course on how to Master Your Mindset. This course can really help you to get more detailed on working through those limiting beliefs, achieve radical self-love and overall, major self-growth. You can check out some of the reviews too and more on what the course has to offer if you’re interested!
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Alana – Mae