Self-confidence and body image are ongoing issues in today’s society. With social media impacting more and more people’s lives, self-love has become something of the past. It’s so easy to hop on the ‘gram and compare yourself to others and feel down about your physical appearance. Looks aren’t everything, but that’s easier to say than to believe. I can go on and on about how much more important it is to love yourself and to be a good person than it is to be the most attractive person, all of the time. Looks are subjective, there is no way to be the “most attractive” at all times. With that, it’s still important to feel good physically. Physical wellness isn’t just about how “fit” you are but it’s also about how you feel inside your body. When you begin to love your body, looks become less relevant and love becomes much more abundant.
It’s important to know and understand ways to actively work on loving your body. The bodies in which we reside are ours for a lifetime. The vessel that carries your soul deserves nourishment and care. Hating and resenting who you are is no way to live. When we exhibit self-confidence, we can better enjoy life and pursue our goals. Visions become victories, dreams become reality, and we fully step into a place of wholeheartedly living. Confidence brings about courage and love for the world around us. Here are a few ways to actively start loving your body:
Easier said than done, I know. Focusing on how you wake up feeling over how you look will make a great impact on your self-confidence and body image. It doesn’t matter how you look if you aren’t feeling good. Your body is what gets you around. It allows you to move and function and when it isn’t feeling its best, it doesn’t matter what you look like because those day to day functions will be impaired.
When you focus on how you physically feel rather than how you think you look, you will be able to make better decisions for your body. Feeling stiff? Do some stretching. Feeling energetic? Incorporate some cardio into your day. Strong? Work on muscle gain. Tired? Take a day off and let your body rest. Our eyes can be deceiving but how we feel is rooted within us. Focusing within will give you the truth rather than myths that deflate your esteem. Being mindful of how you feel and listening to your body will allow you to perform better and improve overall bodily function. Let’s stop looking in the mirror and telling ourselves that we need to work out. If your body isn’t up for it that day, it’s more important to honor that than push yourself to extreme limits.
Like I said, listen to your body. Don’t move just to move. Be mindful about where and how you place your body. Stop forcing yourself to do things that you despise. If you hate running, stop doing it. If going to the gym isn’t your thing, give it up. Stop forcing yourself to do things that are “good for you” if you don’t enjoy them. I promise that there are alternative ways to move that will be just as or more beneficial, and more enjoyable too. When you force your body into things that you don’t enjoy, you build resentment causing higher levels of stress.
Ask yourself what you need in each moment and just do it. Be mindful about listening to where you are that day and what your limits are. The more mindful you are, the more you will enjoy the movements that your body allows you to do. You will gradually begin to love how accessible your body really is.
Ways to move mindfully:
– Walk your dogs and notice nature
– Try a physical activity that’s new to you
– Go on a hike
– Try different types of yoga
– Go one a bike ride
– Stretch while watching your favorite TV show
Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re not. Enjoy the foods you have always loved and listen to your body when it’s craving specific things. Depriving yourself of what you love will make living in your body much more difficult. It’s like disciplining yourself for looking or being a certain way and that isn’t fair to your body. When you deprive yourself, you are more likely to cave and end up resenting yourself even more long-term. Finding self-love and confidence is about finding balance.
The ultimate way to love yourself is by honoring your mind and body. Stop these yo-yo diets and phases of overworking to lose the extra weight. You are beautifully designed and if you aren’t doing something that your body is craving and enjoys, you aren’t going to smile while doing it. The biggest key to finding a love for your body is by giving it your full attention. Consume the good stuff in moderation, eat all the plants that your body wants, and stop telling yourself that you can’ eat it because of the number of calories that it has. Your subconscious is more aware of what’s going on than you even realize. Restricting will be remembered within and will make you feel more inadequate throughout your day to day life.
We live in such an over-stimulated society that we often forget who we are and what we are capable of. Slow down. Breathe. Let yourself relax. Take in each moment and allow your mind to process it all. Maybe wake up earlier so you don’t have to rush in the morning. Let your body heal when it’s ill, tired, or in pain. Remind yourself that moments won’t last forever so savor them while you are in them. On the flip side of that, when things get rough, let yourself go through the motions because that won’t last forever either. Sit with and let yourself feel each emotion that presents itself rather than suppressing it. Slowing down and letting yourself feel and process reduces the risk of built-up negativity hindering your long-term health.
Take time to notice all your senses. Enjoy the flavors of each bite you take rather than just eating to consume food. Notice beautiful things and various colors. Listen when others speak and allow your mind time to process and apply it to your life. Smell the roses and all the little things. Let your mind capture images of each meaningful moment. Let’s start putting the phone down, stop hurrying through life, and just slow down and notice all that we are capable of doing. You’ll become much more grateful for all that your body does for you resulting in higher levels of gratitude and self-esteem.
We are so hard on ourselves. We can look in the mirror at any time and point out multiple things that are wrong. But, what about the things that we love? What about all the wonderful things about our bodies; physically and emotionally. For me physically, it’s my hair, teeth, and muscles. Emotionally, it’s my enthusiasm, motivation, and determination. Noticing the little things that I am proud of does wonders for my confidence. The more that we invite positive thoughts into our lives, the more they will come.
Recognize those little things because those little thoughts of gratitude will manifest into much more day by day. You may have some days that are worse than others and that’s okay. Taking that time to remind yourself of how badass you are can easily alter your mood.
Let yourself really gloat in those positive qualities too. Have you ever had a bad day and pulled yourself together and felt completely different? I encourage it. Enhance those things that may feel small and let yourself feel so proud about them. When I’m feeling down, I wash my hair or do something cute with it, throw on some lip gloss, and do something to remind me of my strength. It may seem silly but it allows me to bring more attention to things that bring me joy. Throw on your favorite pair of jeans or blouse, hold your head high, and notice how many amazing qualities you do have.
Loving our bodies is such a foreign idea because for so long, we have been taught to hate it. We are constantly seeing edited, fabricated images of women on TV, social media, and on all the newsstands. That isn’t real life. When you start focusing on your reality and loving your body becomes the forefront of how you feel and the comparison game dwindles. It’s a pretty magical thing, actually.
When you love yourself first, you can extend it to others more freely. Your love isn’t tied to anyone but yourself and we fall into a place of support and empowerment. Learning to love your body is a journey. Just as your body will ebb and flow, so will how you feel. It’s okay. It’s normal. It’s just like any other relationship you are in. People will change and you will continuously be learning about them. Get comfortable with learning about yourself, always as it is everchanging, and find a love like no other.