“I personally battled with my own body image for years. I used to tell myself, You can’t wear anything sleeveless or strapless. And all of a sudden I was like, What if I just didn’t send such negative messages to my brain and said, wear it and enjoy it? And now I’m more comfortable in clothes than ever.” ~Drew Barrymore
Do you struggle with your body image? If you do, you’re far from alone. In fact, about 91 percent of women are unhappy with their bodies, according to a study published at DoSomething.org, a non-profit that describes itself as “the country’s largest not-for-profit for young people and social change.”
It can be hard to feel okay about what you look like when you’re constantly bombarded by insanely perfect images on TV, the internet, and magazines that depict people who are too thin or even (gasp!) digitally enhanced to mask flaws. It’s just unrealistic!
But here’s the deal. While we can’t make that pressure go away, we can certainly decide how to respond to it. Stand up and recognize that you will be your most beautiful when you are your true self–not some random copy of the average Hollywood starlet/streetwalker/whateveritisthatmakesyouhateyourbody.
It’s not just you–I know exactly how it feels. My body type has never been and never will be the Hollywood ideal. I am too short and my boobs are too small. Don’t laugh! It’s true. OH! And now, I’m too old (38). But I’m ok with it because I understand that no matter how much I worry and stress over the fact that I don’t look awesome in most skinny jeans or that I have to buy a lot of my clothes in the juniors section (including sometimes bras!)–well then I wouldn’t have noticed all these awesome things about me.
Yeah, I know it sounds vain. But it’s true–there are plenty of awesome things about me. But don’t worry–I’m not going to list them. This post isn’t really about me–it’s about you!
So let’s go there and talk about you. I’d lay money on the fact that there are probably lots of awesome things about YOU too.
So step outside of your head with me for a moment, won’t you? Take a look at yourself from a whole new perspective. What are the beautiful things about you–inside and out?
How to Improve Your Body Image: Start With Perspective
You ARE Beautiful: Let Us Count the Ways
“I think beauty can’t simply be described as physical, but it’s your entire package. In the long run, physical beauty fades, and then what will you be left with? Your true beauty is what shines from within: your confidence, attitude, outlook, intellect, and love. These are the qualities you should nurture; they are what make you unique, and will ultimately enhance your own personal outlook, which is the most important. ” ~Cindy Busby
You already know that it’s important to love yourself for the person that you are. Everyone is made differently, but beautifully, in their own way. Sure, your beauty may be different than that of a fashion model, but you’re still beautiful! Once you accept yourself, you’ll be a happier person.
Focus On Yourself First
When you’re learning to love who you are inside and out, you first need to start with the inside. This simply means that you need to work on changing the way you think about beauty.
No one’s absolutely perfect–and yet each of us is perfectly ourselves–we are the living embodiment of the perfect version of ourselves, right now in this very moment.
There may always be something that you don’t particularly like about yourself, but it doesn’t negate your beauty, and it’s certainly no reason to have an unhappy life over it. Shift your focus onto the things that you do like about yourself–seriously.
Try having a little faith in humanity. If you people watch in a public place, are you constantly pointing out everyone’s flaws? Chances are that you’re not. You probably don’t judge your friends about their imperfections, so why should you be so hard on yourself?
Beautifully You: How to Love Yourself, Inside and Out
Once you’ve worked on your inner feelings, you can then move on to loving yourself on the outside. Unfortunately, in today’s society, people feel ashamed of what they look like to the point of having all sorts of procedures and surgeries. Don’t be fooled! You don’t need this in order to feel good about yourself–in fact, it might make you feel worse.
Read more: Beauty Comes in All Shapes and Sizes
You can attempt to make changes if you have a problem like acne or weight gain, but there are also things that you can’t change, like having wide hips or freckles. The best thing you can do is embrace yourself for the unique individual that you are. After all, there’s no one else on this planet quite like you–not a single person. Not even a twin, if you’ve got one–you’re still 100 percent yourself, and no one else can claim that.
Beautifully Healthy: Making Changes in a Healthy Way
If you wish to make changes in your appearance, you can certainly do so. You just need to be doing it for the right reasons. You might need to lose weight in order to get back into a healthy weight range. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to change your hair color every now and then either. Variety is the spice of life.
But some people are tempted to go too far and do things like losing too much weight. They convince themselves that even a healthy weight is “fat” and they strive to be underweight. And listen, ladies.
While our skinny sisters definitely have their fans out there, so do those of us who have a few more curves–trust me!
Even though I’ve lost more than 100 pounds, I still have some (pretty bangin’) curves–and while it sometimes frustrates me (especially when it comes to fashion!), I have learned to love it. Like I said–we’ve all got our fans.
It’s important for your health to avoid these types of problems. If you’re stuck in a situation like this, you need to explore the reasons why you feel this way. You also might want to discuss your concerns with a professional.
Pay it Forward: Pass On a Healthy Body Image
One thing you can do for the world is to help pass on a healthy body image to others. The way the media portrays beauty truly is outrageous, and everyone should be doing their part to promote health and beauty in an undistorted form.
If you have children, teach them that they’re beautiful just the way they are. Since children learn by example, ensure that you never put yourself down in front of them. Avoid complaining about your own body because they might overhear and you might inadvertently teach them something you never intended to teach.
A healthy body image is something we can all strive toward. You’ll make yourself and others feel better by complimenting your friends and family. Everyone likes to get a compliment every now and then (and remember that you get back what you put out there!). You just might make someone’s day, and your own in the process.
So what do you think? How do you feel about the way you look today? What can you do to feel better? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below!
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.