Improving Your Body Image
“And if I asked you to name all of the things that you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?” – Ashley Wylde
There is not one correct image. There is not one correct body. There is not one correct body-image. Read this list, learn your body’s curves and kinks, and utilize your idiosyncrasies. Here are 18 things to think about and do to help improve your body image:
1. Self-love has no one definition. There is no endpoint or line you need to cross that allows you to accept yourself. There is no weight, measurement, or feat that you need to reach in order for it to be OK for you to love who you are as you are now. Learn to appreciate yourself when you take steps forward, but also steps back. Self-love is a journey, not a race.
2. Learning to love yourself and your body is a process: it will take time. No progress is linear. You are going to mess up, feel down, and want to give up on yourself. You will not wake up every morning feeling strong and positive, but keep waking up with the morning sun and one day you will feel yourself shine with it.
3. Consistently tell yourself you are worth it. Try to tell yourself this every day. With time, if you put the effort in, you will see the results of your efforts.
4. You have to work on the days you feel good, and on the days you do not. On the days you are feeling slow, down, and frustrated, try to stay on track with your goals. The days that you trudge through the storm are the days where you learn you can face it.
5. You deserve to make your health a priority. This does not make you selfish. Taking time to better yourself and focus on your health should be at the front of your mind. This may mean saying no to plans because you need to have your own mental health day. However, do not shut out your loved ones. It is important to stay balanced.
6. Wanting to change your physical appearance does not make your journey to self-love or body-acceptance any less valid. There is a negative stigma around the desire to change your body or physical appearance; as if wanting to change your appearance makes you shallow or that you do not truly understand self love. If changing your hair, wanting to exercise, or anything in between will make you feel more confident, do it. This does not mean that you do not understand self-love, it means that you are working towards a more confident you. It is OK to want to feel beautiful, no matter what that means to you.
7. Take care of your body because it makes you feel good on the inside. Take a step away from the mirror and think about how much better you feel inside once you speak positively, exercise, and eat better. Learn to be happy with the little aspects of taking care of your body like getting a better night’s sleep, feeling alert in class, or realizing you laugh a little more than you usually do.
8. That being said, make the changes for yourself. If you are going to make a change, whether that is exercising or changing your hair color, make that change for yourself. If you make change about someone else, your motivation will prove to be fleeting. Changing yourself should not be a form of revenge. It is a waste of mental energy and incredibly contradicting to fuel yourself with hatred when you are trying to make a positive change.
9. Stop comparing your journey to someone else’s. Let go of jealousy. It will free you of negativity. Appreciate others’ successes and recognize the work they put in as you work toward your own success. Just because someone else is doing well does not mean you are not.
10. Allow yourself to be a beginner. You cannot become a master if you do not start. Every person had a chapter one in their story.
11. Ask for help. It is OK to ask questions. Needing other people is not a sign of weakness. Talk to someone if you are struggling mentally or are not sure how to achieve a goal. Having the courage to accept that you need assistance is a sign of strength. You will learn a lot from the minds of the people around you and it may lead you to some incredible relationships.
12. Building a better self-image does not require a spotless past. Never be ashamed of your past. Self-love requires the acceptance of who you have been. Making mistakes and going through dark times is a part of life.
13. Confidence is not cockiness, even if people tell you otherwise. You can, and should be proud of your accomplishments. There is a difference between being proud of your successes and telling people you are better than them.
14. Not everybody is going to like you, and that is OK. You can never please everyone. People are going to try to tear you down when you are learning to love yourself. It is threatening to some people when you love yourself and are proud of who you are. For some reason, society expects us to be insecure about ourselves. Shock the world with your confidence. Remember that someone else’s negativity has nothing to do with who you are.
15. Surround yourself with people that make you feel good about yourself. Rid yourself of toxic people in your life. Surround yourself with people who bring you up, support you, have similar morals and goals, and make you smile. Never lower your standards of friendship. Friends should be a light of positivity when you are facing darkness, not the ones to flip off the switch.
16. Sometimes this may mean you may need to spend time alone. You may reach a realization that you are not surrounding yourself with the right people. Accepting this can be a difficult step, but realizing that you deserve better is a key moment in your life. Try to find comfort in being alone; it will help you learn more about yourself and you will begin to understand your worth without the need to be validated by those around you. Being alone and lonely do not have to go hand in hand.
17. You are the only validation you need. Follow your gut and allow yourself to move forward without the approval of others. You are the only one in your head and body and you are the only one who truly knows what makes you genuinely happy.
18. It is OK to feel good about yourself. This is probably the most obvious yet most difficult thing to realize. It is OK to look in the mirror and not pick out flaws. It is OK to be proud of who you are and who you are becoming.
Learning to love your body will free your mind. The Sexperts wish you the best of luck on your journey to self-love and acceptance!