“There is no wrong way to have a body…”
I write a lot about inner self-love because I believe it is the most important thing a person can learn. Today however, I want to focus purely on the outer shell. It is fair to assume that every single person, at one point in their lives, looked in the mirror and disliked what they saw. We all have hang-ups regarding our physical appearance. Some may have many, some may have only one but all of us can agree that our bodies give us grief from time to time and it can be difficult to love them. I am a big promoter for body-positivity. Nothing makes me happier than knowing an individual is truly satisfied with the skin they’re in and wouldn’t change a thing even if offered a magic wand. So how do we form a healthy relationship with the external? I’m going to share with you 5 tips I learned during my self-love journey…
TIP #1 – ELIMINATE THE WORD ‘PERFECT’
What does the word perfect mean anyway? I wish this term never existed because it has created so much unhappiness and insecurity. To put it plainly, perfection does not exist. What one person may regard as ‘perfect’ might be completely the opposite for another. Following on from that, what constitutes as a perfect body? To a large extent, I blame the media for continuously advertising stick-thin women with flawless skin and hair. These images cause impressionable young women to feel inadequate and develop eating disorders. A lot of models/celebrities are pressured to starve themselves in order to fit a certain mould. They become competitive and extremely unhappy. There is nothing attractive about that. To me, beautiful is healthy. A beautiful body is one that has accepted that good enough, is good enough. Once we surrender to this freeing notion, we can begin to truly adore our own reflections. It took me a long time to realise that I actually wouldn’t want to resemble what I saw on social-media. A lot of it is air-brushing and Photoshop anyway. I learned to be my own kind of beautiful that was unique and real. If you are reading this, I ask that you monitor your self-talk and kindly acknowledge whenever you think/speak the word ‘perfect.’ Continue to remind yourself that perfection does not exist and is unattainable by sticking a note on your mirror that says ‘You Are Good Enough & That Is Beautiful.’
TIP #2 – PRACTICE BODY GRATITUDE
What is body gratitude? It is simply appreciating what your wonderful self can do in everyday living. The picture you see below is of me cliff-diving in Manarola (Cinque-Terre, Italy). I remember feeling slightly self-conscious of my bloated belly beforehand. I had just eaten an oily (but delicious) lunch and for some silly reason, cared what others thought. As I stood on the edge, my fears melted away. I was here to have fun. Not only that, I acknowledged how lucky I was to be in such a beautiful place with a body physically able to do something so adventurous. Now, when I look at this image, all I can remember was my pure joy. It really hits me from time to time how incredible the human body is. I, as a woman, am designed to create, carry and birth a child. How insanely magical! Our bodies allow us to move, dance, express joy, show affection and so much more. I highly recommend – on days you are feeling low – reminding yourself how fortunate you are to have a healthy, active body. Pick one physical aspect that you don’t particularly like and use body-gratitude to form a happier relationship with it. For example, if you dislike the shape of your nose, tell yourself that without it you wouldn’t be able to smell the ocean, flowers, fresh-bread, rain, candles or whatever scent makes you happy. Love your body for what it can do, not what it looks like. Marvel at the machines we truly are!
TIP #3 – TAKE GOOD CARE
If you truly want to love your body, you need to care about it. Filling it with cigarettes, excessive alcohol, large quantities of fried/oily food and drugs is not going to assist with boosting body positivity. However, this also doesn’t mean exercising obsessively until you burn out and restricting calories. It’s all about balance. Aim to be active between 2-4 times a week. The word ‘active’ gives you permission to be as creative as you like. It could mean a 30 minute walk, a dance class, a yoga sequence, having sex etc…Try not to focus on physical goals or numbers on the scale. When I exercise, I do so for my mental health and to maintain fitness – that’s all. When I eat, I don’t count calories. I focus purely on nutrition. Ask yourself what foods make you feel your best (with occasional treats thrown in). If you haven’t already, start a morning/evening skin-care routine and drink plenty of water throughout the day to remain hydrated. Lastly, remember to smile. Happiness is so attractive. Find what brings you joy and go there with all your heart. The love you give yourself will begin to radiate from the inside out.
TIP #4 – BE AWARE WHEN YOU COMPARE
Have you ever seen the quote: ‘another woman’s beauty is not the absence of your own?’ The first time I read this, I was amazed by its impact. When I was in highschool, a lot of boys lusted after my beautiful best-friend. We were always labelled as the gorgeous one and the ‘okay’ one. As you can imagine, that did awful things to my self-esteem. I felt there could only be one beautiful person out of the two of us and it wasn’t me. As I began to love myself, I finally acknowledged that we were both beautiful in different ways. Her level of attractiveness never diminished my own. As an adult, I no longer compare myself to her or anyone. The truth is, we always want what we don’t have. A girl with fair skin wishes to be tanned. A short girl wishes to be tall. A girl with straight hair wishes for voluminous curls. The list goes on. A lot of the time, whilst we are wishing we looked liked the girl next to us, that very same girl is feeling the same way about us. Self-love, gratitude and acceptance are keys to appreciating the body you were given. I could undergo surgery, tan my skin, change my hair, wear lots of makeup and dress differently but then I would no longer be me. That thought makes me very sad. There is so much to love about your own body which leads me to my next tip…
TIP #5 – FOCUS ON YOUR FAVOURITES
It’s very easy to pick apart every physical aspect we dislike but what about shifting our focus on the things we do like? Every single person in this world has a stand-out feature. It could be their radiant smile, long legs, soft hands, full lips, wavy locks, feminine curves and more. I really love my blue eyes, arms and butt. If you’re reading this, pause for a moment and think of 3 or more areas of your body that you really appreciate. Write them down and stick them on your mirror. Make them your focus when gazing at your reflection. Cast your mind back over compliments you’ve received from family and friends. Maybe they’ve mentioned how lucky you are to have such thick hair or clear skin. Maybe they’ve commented on your infectious laughter or how white your teeth are. Sometimes, it takes an outsider’s opinion to shed light on some wonderful physical attributes you were previously overlooking. Whatever the case, you have a whole goldmine of beauty just waiting to be discovered and loved…
I hope you enjoyed this post and got something out of it. Please let me know down below what physical attribute you love the most and why. Body-positivity is such a wonderful thing. It is not conceited to appreciate the beautiful person you are inside and out. If you have any further tips, feel free to add them as well. Thank you for reading.
Peace & Love xoxo