I don’t know anyone who hasn’t struggled with a body image issue. There’s always something about your body that you don’t like, whether it’s that your legs are too short, your stomach is too soft or your arms are too flabby. But these negative feelings get amplified 100 fold during bikini season because every magazine, website and TV commercial has some busty, flab-abed goddess strutting in front of you.
Many people feel the need to measure up to what society sees as beautiful but have little idea how beautiful they actually are. Looking at a supermodel and then looking in the mirror creates issues with body image for many people simply because many of us feel like we don’t measure up. And how could we with all the Photoshopping and airbrushing that goes on behind the scenes of photo shoots and TV commercials?
So what is the solution? Visit a LaserKlinic for a quick fix? Doubtful, unless your image problems stem from cystic acne or another painful health problem. There are less expensive and invasive ways to improve the way you see yourself!
Instead of trying to change your body to help your body image, what you should really be doing is changing your body image so that you view yourself in a much more positive and confident way. Maybe you only don’t think you’re pretty because you’ve been thinking about beauty incorrectly your entire life (and many people do).
Changing the way you see yourself may have positive effects not only on your mood, but also on your health, confidence levels and general satisfaction in life. Here are a few ways you can make this bikini season your most confident one yet!
1. Embrace What You Like About Yourself
We’re perfectionists. Much like artists or writers, who look at their work and often see only the imperfections, when we look in the mirror we see only the bad things about ourselves. Whatever you don’t like about yourself, whatever you like about your friend that you don’t see in yourself, that is what you focus on. Stop it!
Instead of looking at only the imperfections when you look in the mirror, actively look for the things that you actually like about your reflection and focus on those. This may take some practice, and it doesn’t matter what you decide your best features are, allow yourself to appreciate them! Like your slender fingers? Accent them with some hot nail polish? Do you have muscular arms? Show off your strength in a cute tank top. Whatever you accent, make sure you allow yourself to feel great about it!
2. Only Compare at the Department Store
Looking at other people will get you down. There is no way to escape it. If you start looking at the sporty girl at the gym or the model on the front page of a fashion mag, you will start to see what others have and what you don’t have. The funny thing is, those people would probably think the same things about you! We get so caught up in our envy for others’ looks that we forget all the positive qualities about ourselves. And that is not cool.
The media does a great job of creating fiction where reality should be — it works with tabloid journalism and it works with portrayals of beauty. So save your comparisons for price tags on swimsuits and only compare yourself to yourself.
3. Keep It Real
Creating unreachable goals — say, losing 25 pounds by Friday — doesn’t do you any good. What’s more, it’s incredibly unhealthy and can lead to some major health problems. When you set goals that are too high – or just completely unrealistic – it causes negative feelings when you don’t reach those goals.
Instead, set small, realistic goals that will help you feel more positive about yourself when you can say that you succeeded. If that means losing two pounds a week until summer, every week you can look at the scale and see that you have succeeded. Or if you goal is to simply maintain a healthy weight, you can allow yourself to stop playing the numbers game and feel great about staying in shape!
Conversely, don’t make goals so minute that you can’t see any progress at all. Small goals are good — indistinguishable goals are not. If you can’t see the progress, then you probably won’t have much to feel good about. Find the right balance for your goals and boost your confidence with your success.
4. Positive Is Positive
Do you have one friend that you love to hang out with, but who just makes you feel inadequate whenever you are with her? It may be time to tell her goodbye. You don’t need to end your friendship or un-follow her on Facebook, but you might need to change your habits so that you spend more time with other friends instead. Girls who constantly talk about their weight, how much they ate today, and those kinds of things just push negative feelings to the forefront of every conversation.
Positive people lift you up out of your negative feelings about your body. They offer a little bit of sunshine and give you a smile when you are feeling down. They also love and appreciate you just the way you are and don’t give credence to negative statements about yourself. Find some more positive people to hang out with, and you’ll feel yourself becoming more positive too.
5. Take a Compliment
It’s okay to tell yourself that you love how you did your hair today. It’s okay to recognize things that you do well like cooking, running, dancing, joking or caring about others. Taking a moment to compliment yourself on something every day will help to boost your self-esteem and help you see yourself in a better light.
Modesty has its place, certainly, but allowing yourself to recognize all of the good things in yourself and in your body can help you to change your body image and in turn change your overall happiness and health.
If you have trouble seeing the good things about your body or your abilities, the next practical step may to keep a notebook where you can write down your accomplishments and positive thoughts each day.
The next time you feel down because of a comment from a coworker or a negative shopping experience, simply look back in your notebook to remind yourself of all the good things about you.
Now it’s onto you…
How do you remind yourself of how awesome you are?
I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!
About the Author:
Kayla Matthews is a productivity blogger with a passion of healthy living and helping others. Check out her blog Productivity Theory to read all of her latest posts!