We've all had that body shaming moment. You know the one: You look at yourself
in the mirror and a little inner voice says, "You look terrible." Even those with the fittest, skinniest, most praised, most loved bodies have some degree of body hate. It doesn't stop with how your body looks; it can be how it functions, too. It never seems to do what you want it to.
We all come in different shapes, sizes and abilities. It's important to embrace the body you have. Even still, all that talk about loving yourself and letting go of unrealistic body image is great, but it certainly doesn't happen overnight, and it doesn't happen without something actionable.
So, how can you beat this negative body image and start loving your body?
Embrace What Does Work
Too fat, too skinny, too hairy, too pale, too dark,
too short, too tall, too different, too broken. It's time to stop with the "too" and learn to embrace the "best." Make a list of parts of your body that you love. Maybe you have amazing hair that makes everyone jealous, or you have fantastic skin.
Don't focus solely on cosmetic, either. Maybe
your lungs have fantastic capacity when you swim or run, or you've never had a cavity. Stumped? Ask around! Those close to you can see more than you can. Maybe making the list seems silly, but the more detailed you get, the longer the list becomes, and the more you can see how great your body is already.
Talk the Talk
Post the list you made on your mirror and read through it in the morning. Don't just glance at it—read it out loud. Then give yourself a daily positive body affirmation like, "My body is amazing" or "I will be kind to my body today." Say it loud!
We know it may sound stupid at first, but over
time it'll help you come to internalize the positivity. You can't take back words when you say them out loud.
If you're uncomfortable with talking to yourself in the mirror, write it down instead. Journaling is a great way to express what you're feeling in a healthy and productive way. Every so often, read back over what you've written, and see what you've accomplished or what you need to keep working on. And sometimes, it helps to just talk to a professional. A therapist can be a great impartial shoulder to lean on.
Highlight Your Amazing-ness
Now that you know what you do like about yourself, highlight it! Buy clothes that show off
the parts of your body that you love, instead of focusing on covering what you don't like.
Embrace the selfie revolution and start an Instagram account where you share photos of
your favorite parts (but save those more risque photos for your partner). Pamper yourself with
a spa day. Nourish your body with a healthy
and decadent dessert (strawberries and dark chocolate, anyone?).
Seize the Moment
Now that you've embraced and highlighted what does work, what can you do about what doesn't seem to work? Sometimes finding a solution is a lot easier than you think—you just have to know where to look.
Even if you change how your body looks through exercise or plastic surgery, it won't guarantee that you'll gain a positive body image. That change comes from within, and it doesn't come quickly or easily. But in time, with patience and work, you can come away with not only a better view of your body, but a better outlook on life.