In a world where we are bombarded from all sides by photo-shopped ads, unrealistic standards and products to “fix” our bodies, it’s practically impossible to have a positive self image. But it’s time all of that came to an end, and I’ve got some fantastic news: loving yourself, and your body, is absolutely possible, and here are the steps to guide you on your self-love journey.
Why is all of this happening?
Time for a quick history lesson: did you know that, up until a few decades ago, the word for cellulite didn’t exist? It was just such a normal part of us that is was simply – skin. But, when big companies realized that they can tell us our bodies are flawed, they can sell us products that promise to make those flaws go away. Now apply this to the entire beauty industry and you’ve got today’s situation. Don’t worry – you’re not alone. An overwhelming majority of women wish they looked different, and while that’s a comforting fact, we shouldn’t just sit on our hands and accept it. So let’s see how to change it:
Does wearing makeup mean I don’t love myself?
Absolutely not! A big part of loving your body is having fun with it and expressing yourself through different mediums – including makeup. Beyond makeup, this goes to using undergarments to alter the look of your body, filters in photos and any other way of changing your looks. But the important part is realizing why you are putting the makeup on. Does it make you happy? Or are you just putting it on because you think someone will be bothered by your acne? Do things because you want to, be beautiful for yourself and work on accepting yourself in exactly the form you come in to make sure that not having makeup on will never stop you from pursuing something important.
Take care of yourself
When we are at war with our bodies, we sort of take care of it – but for all the wrong reasons. We slather it with creams, not because we like how it feels on our skin when we are putting them on, but because we are hoping that they will change the way our bodies look. And if you have a condition such as tuberous breasts or bone deviation it’s perfectly fine if you want to do something about it, especially if it is causing medical issues. Just do your research and make sure you’re doing it for yourself and because you love your body, not because you hate it. The same can be said of exercising. You have to remember that exercise should be a celebration of what your body can do, not a punishment for how it looks. Enjoy exercise for the sake of exercise, and if your body never changes – who cares? You are able to do the exercise you love and that is all the reward you need.
Surround yourself with positivity
When you scroll through Instagram, is your feed filled only with thin, white, able-bodied people who keep talking about losing weight and trying to sell you a miracle tea? It’s time to let that go. Fill your feed with real people – people with similar bodies to yours and people who are being honest and real. Likewise, look around you and you will see that there are plenty of people who you look up to and whom you admire that aren’t at all supermodels, and realize that you don’t care about how they look, because they have immense value as people. Try to work on your inside, more than your outside, and you will get a whole new perspective on life.
See your body through the eyes of a loved one
If you can’t see what is beautiful about you, ask a loved one to help you explore this. Ask them what they think about your body and let them tell you how wonderful you are. Or, if you are too scared to hear other people’s opinions because you don’t think they’ll say anything nice, here are some things to get you going: a soft tummy is so wonderful to rest your head on, that it’s a mystery as to why people ever thought rock-hard abs are the only way to go. Big, strong arms can give the best of bear hugs. Thighs that touch are the perfect lap for a pet, or a loved one, to sit on and feel comfortable.
When you look at your body through a different perspective, you will realize that there is so much to love about it, and that the negativity you are hearing around you is just people trying to sell an unrealistic image. Be patient, because this process takes time. But stick with it, and you will be best friends with your body in no time – and it’s the best feeling ever.