Many of us struggle to love our bodies. Unrealistic beauty standards are everywhere we turn. Bodies that look nothing like ours pressure us to mirror what we see. Disappointment, fad diets, and toxic cycles ensue. But this does not have to be your reality. You deserve to look into a mirror and love the image that is reflected. Here are 5 steps you can take to begin loving yourself.
Step 1: Recognize The Strength Of Your Body
Our bodies are incredibly strong. The heart works incredibly hard to keep you alive. Your brain allows you to solve those puzzles, allowed you to get through high school, and your lungs are a constant reminder that you are still alive, and breathing. Your belly houses all of your organs, and provides shelter, and protects them. If you are a mother your body has done incredible things like have a baby, and feeds your body.
Your body is a safe haven that works tirelessly to keep you alive. It’s inner workings are intricate, and hard to fathom, yet we take it for granted. Your body is a living breathing love letter to you. If it could speak it would say “ you are so important to me that I work tirelessly everyday, so you can live to see another day and live your life”. Your body deserves to be loved and celebrated because of this.
Step 2: See Your Beauty
While you may not realize it, you possess a great amount of beauty. This is not fully realized as of yet, as a result you think thoughts that only harm your self esteem. These thoughts can include “why am I so ugly”, “no one will find me so attractive”, and “I hate my body”. These thoughts are not only detrimental to your self esteem, but also to your mental health. Instead try to find at least two things that you like about yourself or your appearance. This can be absolutely anything. The list can range from your lips, beard, hair, arms, eyes, or your love for chocolate!
The goal here is to see that you truly do have beautiful features whether they are physical attributes or not. By always looking for something you do love, you begin to counteract and disempower the negative thoughts. If you continue to do this you will find more things to love, and there will be a surplus of positive thoughts. The existence of your beauty is a fact, it simply has to be confirmed.
Step 3: Be Mindful of the media you consume
The media displays beautiful bodies, but sometimes the bodies that are portrayed are unrealistic, or hard to achieve. By consuming these images we begin to feel less than and compare our bodies to what we see in the media. This can lead to a cycle that involves dangerous diets, negative thoughts, and a lack of self love. To combat this spend time away from sources that cause you to dislike your body.
Try canceling that magazine subscription for a month or two, find healthy diets, or surround yourself with body-positive figures. Another way to do this is through social media. Unfollow people who cause you to scrutinize your body, or creators who you constantly compare your body to. Try following people and brands who preach body positivity and celebrate all bodies.
Step 4: REMIND YOURSELF THAT LOOKS AREN’T EVERYTHING
Looks, and physical appearance do not determine your worth. You are so much more than what you look like. To narrow down your existence to the size of your body or the level of symmetry of your face is to do yourself a disservice. Think of the most important people in your life. Do you love them simply because of their looks? Would you stop loving them if they lost their good looks? The answer to this question is most likely no.
You love the people you love not because they are attractive or look good, you love them because they bring you joy. They comfort you, make you laugh, care for you and others, and have the ability to make your bad days better. Would you tell them the only thing that makes them important in this world are their looks? If not, then why do you repeat the same message to yourself? You are more than your looks, and bring light to the lives of others. You have made someone laugh, smile, or look forward to another day. Your looks do not define you, at all.
Step 5: Forgive Yourself
It is easy to beat yourself up for all of your faults. Many of us have spent our nights lamenting over our actions in the past, and are left cringing. But no matter how cringy our actions were in the past, we need to forgive ourselves. If we do not forgive ourselves, we cannot move on. If you do not practice self forgiveness you may find yourself living in the past and unable to move forward. Practice forgiving yourself, even for the most minor occurrences. Remind yourself that everybody makes mistakes, and that mistakes are completely normal. They are what make us human. Let’s be honest, some of our mishaps are humorous so take the moment to laugh, reflect, move on, and make a point to learn from your mistakes.
Do not torture yourself when you say the wrong words, when you do something embarrassing, or when you find that you could have been nicer that one time. Simply acknowledge your mistake, reflect upon it, make a plan to do better, and move on from it. By doing this you will build up your self esteem, and give yourself permission to move out of your past.
Using these 5 steps whether together or individually will allow you to begin loving yourself.
While the 5 steps will aid in self love, and will help you begin loving yourself. extra help may be needed. If you are struggling with your body image, and self esteem or if you are worried you may have an eating disorder, contact us to schedule a free consultation. Our psychologists specialize in body image and eating disorders and will help you regain a positive self-esteem.