When you want to know how to feel better about how you look, learning to love and accept how you look is the absolute best thing you can do for yourself! It goes hand in hand with learning to believe in yourself.
Society might have you believe that it is arrogant to accept and appreciate yourself in how you look, but this is simply not true. Far from poor body image seeming modest, it is damaging to your self-confidence and seeps into every part of your life. Learning to love and accept yourself just as you are, will help you to feel happier and more at ease in every way.
Influence from the Media
It is easy to be influenced by the media with vast fashion or gossip column images of seemingly perfect bodies, most tweaked by photoshop or smartphone image apps. Marketing is all about selling a feeling, and advertising wants you to believe, whatever your body shape, that you will look and feel better when you buy a particular product, regardless of whether you consider yourself thin, fat, ugly, too tall, too short… whatever! The truth is you are already ok without their product!
Don’t Focus on How Someone Looks
Avoid conversations that focus superficially on how someone looks. Help yourself to hold a more rounded perspective. Instead, direct the conversation with your friends to talk about other aspects of yourselves, like energy levels, health and fitness, or entertainment. It is mostly our energy and vitality that determines how attractive we seem rather than the physical features of how we look.
Appreciate Your Body
Challenge yourself to start to appreciate the different parts of your body and focus on its function rather than how it may seem to you physically. Look in the mirror (naked if you can!) and talk to each part of your body in turn, being grateful for the job that part of your body does. For example, say “Thank you nose, for helping me to smell every day.” Really imagine how your body wouldn’t function the same without it. Then challenge yourself to say “I love you nose.”
Notice what thoughts come up for you. Hear how you criticise yourself. Practice catching the thought and override it with a more helpful kind thought instead. This sounds daft I know, but it helps you to shift perspective and learn to accept all parts of you more fairly. Get into the habit of stroking and touching your body softly in a loving way. How do you touch someone you love and care about? Learn to touch and hold yourself in the same way.
Try this Acceptance Exercise
Look over your whole body, notice where your attention sits critically, and then find something else that you choose to think better of instead.
This is how it works…
- Start at your face and be honest with where your attention goes right to any aspect of yourself that you don’t like. Notice that you are focussing negatively. What you focus on grows to become an even bigger issue for you.
- Challenge yourself to look beyond what you don’t like to something about yourself that you may be overlooking. For example, instead of focussing on your big forehead, choose to lower your gaze and notice what’s lovely about your eyes. Every time you look in the mirror choose to focus on your eyes and tell yourself something nice. Seeing fault in your forehead (for example) is just a bad habit. Create a kinder habit and you’ll start to feel better about yourself. If you need help, ask a trusted friend to tell you your good points as they see you.
Find your Acceptance
You must learn to accept what you can’t change and change the things you can… you can apply this to how you feel about your body. If you’re not happy with how your body image is in shape or size, what can you do to improve this? Be honest with yourself about your eating habits or in how you exercise. Learning to love your body means taking care of your body and appreciating it for the temple that it is, in housing your soul.
We only get one body. Isn’t it worth learning how to love and value it? After all, it goes with you everywhere you go!
I hope it helps you to realise how possible it is for you to shift perspective if you only look at things in a different way.
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