I have wanted to write a post like this for a while now and although this isn’t as in depth as I would like to go, I thought this would be a great blog post topic as it is something I am currently working through so all of my experiences are very fresh.
For as long as I can remember I have had low self esteem, particularly with body image and body confidence. I will be writing a separate post in the near future where I will go into more details about this, in particular my experiences with eating and weight loss/gain but for this post I wanted to focus on how I have recently started to love and accept my body and the steps I have taken to get to this point. I still have a long way to go but I really wanted to write about my journey to help others realise that they do not have to go through it alone.
Love your body for more than its physical appearance ♥
This is something which I have only started doing recently and it has really helped with my body confidence. Recently, I went to an interesting talk at the British Science Festival about the impact social media has on body image, particularly in young people. One of the speakers mentioned that our bodies are more than just their physical appearance and that they are beautiful in other ways. I really do agree with this, and also the fact that our bodies allow us to do exceptional things, whether that be climbing the tallest mountain in the world or performing the most difficult piece on piano. Our bodies surprise us everyday and I think that this is really important to remember. Personally, I’m not a very active person so for me, climbing a mountain sounds like torture, but my body exceeds my expectations in other ways such as my great singing voice and my dedication to succeeding at University. These may not sound like ‘exceptional’ features, however they are 2 things that my body can do that not all others can, and the fact that these two feet are the same ones which carried me from primary school all the way to University is something I am very proud of. Try to find things your body does/has done which may not stand out to you immediately but make it unique and worth loving. It can be difficult at first, but growing up our bodies go through so many different changes and environments that I am 100% sure you will find something which makes you love and respect it!
Wear clothes that make YOU feel good ♥
This is another really important tip which a lot of people forget to incorporate into their daily routine. Fashion magazines and campaigns show beautiful women wearing the latest trends, convincing and inspiring us to buy them, however they do not suit everyone. Don’t get me wrong, I think that any person any shape or size can wear whatever they want whenever they want, however I think that a lot of people (particularly women) feel discouraged and disappointed when the latest trends on the market make them feel uncomfortable and as though the clothes are not ‘made for them’. More important than wearing what your favourite celebrity wore on the red carpet last week is wearing something that YOU feel comfortable in. This could be something from four seasons ago or something which isn’t ‘on trend’. Whatever makes you feel good and confident you should wear. It doesn’t matter if no one else is wearing what you wear, because they’re not you and they are not experiencing the same things that you are! Even if you feel a little too self conscious to wear a bikini, wear a one piece instead, or a kimono over the top. With time you will become more and more confident and start to notice things you love about your body until eventually you feel confident wearing absolutely anything. It’s not about changing your body, it’s about changing your mind-set when choosing what to dress it in.
Accept changes in your body ♥
As we grow and move through our lives our bodies change. This can be due to changes in weight, mental and physical wellbeing or even medication. Recently, my body has been changing and I have developed a lot of dark, red stretch marks. These have made me feel self conscious and sometimes I do try to hide them away for fear of embarrassment. Although I am not still 100% happy with them, I have learnt to accept them and the fact that they are a result of normal changes occurring in my body. New things can appear and old things can disappear and that’s ok. I think that the most important thing is to accept changes that happen, even if this is slow to begin with. It can be difficult at first but what really helped me was to spend more time looking at myself in the mirror and complementing the things that I didn’t like and tried to see the good in them.
Do not try to change your body in an unhealthy way ♥
A lot of people, particularly women, obsess over their bodies and often this obsession becomes unhealthy. Dieting is risky territory as it can soon become dangerous and have adverse effects on your health. There’s nothing wrong with eating healthy or reducing portion sizes but try your best not to let this become unhealthy and pre-occupy your daily doings. At the end of the day, everyone’s body is different in its original state so you cannot force your body to be something it doesn’t want to be. The best advice I can offer is to loose or gain weight (or whatever your goal is) in a slow paced, healthy way and don’t let thoughts of this take over your life.
Get used to seeing your body for what it is ♥
This is what I have struggled with the most in building my body confidence and I would say this is one of the most difficult steps. What I mean by this is that you have to try and love your body in all its states and at every stage in your life. This is so hard because of pressures from society and the media but it is possible. Similar to point number three, try to find things you like about your body and say them out loud to your reflection. Even if you do not believe that there is anything to love (as many of us do) there is always going to be something that is physically beautiful to you. It could be your eyes, your arms, your complexion or your hair, the human body is made up of so many beautiful elements that I am sure you will see one that shines bright in you. I also think it’s really important to find beauty in your flaws. Replace thoughts of having ‘fat ankles’ with the thought of having ‘strong ankles which support my body well’. Small changes in negative thinking patterns such as this can make a huge difference and have a massive impact on body image and self acceptance.
I hope that this post has been helpful and that I have been able to offer some useful advice.
These tips are all based on my own experience and how I have developed my body confidence however I cannot say that this is the ‘right’ way to do it as I don’t think such a thing exists. Try it out and see how you do, if you find you are really struggling visit your GP or speak to a counsellor as they can often offer help through courses or support groups specifically targeted at body confidence.
Photos sourced from https://unsplash.com/