My journey of self love and self acceptance has been a long one.
Actually, allow me to reiterate:
My journey of self love and self acceptance is a continuing & an ongoing one.
Day by day I learn ways to appreciate the body I own, the person I am and my value on this earth.
And for the sake of authenticity, I do regularly experience episodes of lowness where I’m dissatisfied with myself… either aesthetically or just generally in life. Last night, for example, I saw myself in a totally different way as to what I did in the morning.
It genuinely saddens me how nowadays, with the sudden rise of social media, us millennials are programmed to assume that our self worth, value and general significance revolves exclusively around our exterior appearance… no wonder why so many people struggle with their body image.
But let’s take a step back. What actually is the definition of ‘body image?’ Well, according to NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association):
“Body image is how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind. It encompasses:
- What you believe about your own appearance (including your memories, assumptions, and generalizations).
- How you feel about your body, including your height, shape, and weight.
- How you sense and control your body as you move. How you physically experience or feel in your body.
Many of us internalize messages starting at a young age that can lead to either positive or negative body image. Having a healthy body image is an important part of mental wellbeing and eating disorders prevention.”
So what can we actually do to better our beliefs of our appearances? This obviously differs to each individual, however, here are simple tips that I like to use when I’m not having a good ‘body image’ day.
- STEP AWAY FROM THE MIRROR: Okay. So. I’m usually guilty of standing in-front of my mirror scrutinizing each minuscule detail of my body. I’m brutal when I get into that mindset. So my top tip? Leave that mirror (mad, right?). Mooooooove away. What is standing in-front of that reflective surface going to do other than reinforce your unfavorable emotions and make you feel totally crap?
- SOCIAL MEDIA: What else is there to say? Unfollow accounts that bring you down and provokes negative self image. Make your social media a positive, encouraging environment!
- THINK: Take a few moments to appreciate your body. You are here on this earth. Think about what your body allows you to do. Acknowledge and be grateful for being able to complete simple day to day activities that others may not be so fortunate of doing.
- GOOD PEOPLE: Who knows… negative self image may be unintentionally influenced by people in your life – whether that’s a distant family member critiquing your weight, a ‘friend’ pointing out your insecurities or even a work colleague judging you for grabbing a biscuit as you make a round of teas and coffees. For me? Each one of those examples has arose. First remind yourself that you are far beyond their small, unkind nature. If that’s what they focus on, I can assure you that they are the ones who are massively insecure – it’s just a shame that their coping strategies revolves around putting others down. So. Surround yourself with positive people. They will remind you that your value is far grater that your aesthetics!
- BE SELFLESS: I’m all about putting your well-being first, but in this case… rather than obsessively calorie counting, weighing or measuring your self (a few of my previous symptoms of crappy body image days), why not use this energy to make a difference? Why not convert this damaging and disadvantageous use of your time into a way to help others? Call a friend, ask how their day has been. Pop into your Grandparents’ and make them a cup of tea. Small gestures – they’re the most effective.
NEDA also have an artice ’10 Steps to Positive Body Image’: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/general-information/ten-steps
The journey to self love is one hell of a gradual process… but damn, it’s a worthwhile one.
Celebrate the victories, and when you feel good – shout it from the rooftops and bloody embrace it.