Easier said than done, right? Well step 1: focus on what your body does for you.
It’s usually during the summer that I feel the most pressure to look a certain way. I mean, how hard is it not to with all of the ads and magazines and what seems like every social media post out there. Queue the “get that summer bod” and “best diet to burn fat” and “eat your way to a flat stomach” flashes here. I know I can’t be the only person out there to get at least a little drawn to these messages. Other than the fact that these promises are often accompanied with questionable nutrition plans, there is a much more disturbing message behind these ads.
They are telling you flat out that no matter what your body looks like or how you feel in and about it, you should be striving to look like the airbrushed models on top. Because if you aren’t, then you are going be behind or something in the running for bikini bods. It is almost a subliminal message that is brainwashing us into thinking that we should always be focused on being skinnier and looking perfect. All so that they can sell more magazines, dieting products, you name it.
Sometimes I feel offended by these medias assuming I am always trying to lose weight! No, I am not the skinniest person, nor am I the heaviest. If I don’t have legitimate health issues, what is the problem? I get mad that our society bombards us with the message that skinny equals attractive, when it is kid not the case! CONFIDENCE and loving yourself and your body is what is attractive at the bottom line.
So what to do about this? For me, this is a struggl sometimes, and the easiest thing is to start simple.
- Create a list of things that your body does for you. It’s hard not to be grateful for what you have when you realize everything your body does to keep you alive and kicking. In every single person, there is a heart that beats all day and all night, thousands of times a day, and has been beating every day of their life! How amazing is that? But you can get more specific, like I love my legs because they enable me to run miles at a time. Or I love my feet because they keep me standing up and let me run around work all day while I serve food at the dining hall. Or whatever it is.
- Create a list of things you love about yourself or personality that don’t include your body. Sometimes focusing on the body is hard, but it’s easier to start with something as simple as I am a loyal friend. Or I love that I am funny or hardworking or always willing to lend out a hand.
- Create a list of things you love about your body. Even loving your eyelashes counts. Or your toes. Or your butt. Or your eyes. Or teeth. Or hair. Every little thing counts.
Simply recognizing the processes that your body goes through to keep you living and protected and growing and learning is the best way to start the road to self love.
I hope this food for thought helps anyone who might be struggling with body image. You aren’t alone!
Love, as always,