“If you persistently seek validation from others, you will inadvertently invalidate your own self-worth.”
Our crazed society has placed a significant emphasis on the “perfect” body. It has deemed what is “acceptable” and what is not acceptable for both males and females.
Unfortunately, with such messages surrounding us daily, many of us fall victim to these ideals. We strive for and work towards bodies that are photo shopped, unrealistic, and frankly unattainable.
The media’s idea of a “perfect” body is different for both genders. Women are programmed to believe that they should be ultra-slender, free of any cellulite or stretch marks, trim, toned, and gorgeously tanned. Men, on the other hand, are expected to be jacked; with extreme muscle mass, washboard abs, and bulging veins.
I have yet to encounter anyone who meets these criterions. What I have encountered is an endless number of men and women battling their bodies in an attempt to achieve the unachievable.
7 Things You Can Do Today To Start Accepting Your Body
1. Do an honest inventory of your dietary and physical activity habits. If you are eating nutritiously and in good proportions and moving your body daily, you’re off to a good start. If changes can be made to enhance your health, by all means make changes. The key to this step is balance; dieting is no way to live – make mindful choices when nourishing your body and find an activity you enjoy to increase your physical activity. Make small changes where you can but never, never deprive yourself.
2. Focus on the positives. It’s easy to composite a list of all the things you hate about your body, but what if you put that same effort into unraveling what you love about your body? What do people compliment you most on? Do a body scan; what areas are you most comfortable with? Find them, acknowledge them, and embrace the parts of you in which you love.
3. Dress comfortably and in clothes that make you feel comfortable. Don’t obsess over the size of your jeans. Heck, don’t even look. Grab a style you like in several sizes, mix them up in the dressing room, and try them on without looking at the tag. Find what fits and ditch the rest. Don’t hang on to clothes that “used to fit” or that “you hope to fit into”. Dress your body the way it is now. Find outfits that make you feel confident and where them with the best accessory, your smile.
4. Appreciate all the things your body can do. Practice gratitude. Be thankful for your legs; they allow you to walk, to run, to climb, to travel. Be thankful for your arms; they allow you to hold a baby, to hug loved ones, to lift things. Every part of your body has a function; be grateful for what your body can do.
5. Celebrate your uniqueness and ancestry. Typically, the parts of ourselves that we are most critical with are those in which make us unique. Celebrate your uniqueness! No two snowflakes are ever the same, yet they are equally beautiful. The same idea goes for people. You are the product of your genes – look at pictures of lost relatives and appreciate the ways in which you resemble them and carry them with you from day to day.
6. Use positive affirmations and smile when you’re looking in the mirror. It sounds silly, but it works. Make a mantra, look yourself dead in the eyes, and repeat it – with a smile. You may not believe it at first, but soon these positive words will start replaying in your head and drown out the negative chatter.
7. Indulge in self-care. Take care of your body. Treat it with love and respect. This is the only body you’ll ever have in this lifetime; make it your sanctuary.