In today's society, it can be challenging to love our bodies unconditionally. We are constantly being bombarded with unrealistic beauty standards that tell us we are not thin enough, tall enough, or muscular enough. Such expectations can make us feel inadequate, anxious, or even depressed, but learning to love your body can have a transformative impact on your life.
In this article, we’ll explore the concept of body love and provide practical tips for cultivating a positive relationship with your body, improving your self-esteem and helping you to love and appreciate your body just the way it is!
Practising Body Love
Learning to love your body can be a journey, but it's a journey that's worth taking.
Here are are few things that you can start with:
Incorporating a gratitude practice into your daily routine is a great place to start, and it’s an essential step towards learning to love your body. This simply means being thankful and appreciative of all the things you have in life, including your body!
One way to do this is to take a few moments every day to think or write down 3 things about your body that you are appreciative of - this could be your eyesight, hearing or even your mobility. By doing this, you can shift your focus from what your body ‘lacks’ to all the amazing things that it can do!
Another way to practise gratitude is to engage in positive self-talk. Instead of criticising your body or focusing on its “flaws”, try to find things to appreciate and celebrate. For example, if you're self-conscious about your legs, instead of thinking, "I hate my legs," try thinking, "I love how strong my legs are and how they carry me through each day." This helps you shift your perspective from a negative view to a more positive and appreciative one.
Embrace Your Uniqueness!
Every single person on this planet has a unique body that should be celebrated! So, rather than focusing on what you perceive as flaws or imperfections, try to shift your focus to what makes you unique and special.
The first step to embracing your uniqueness is to practise self acceptance. Accept your body for what it is and recognise that it is a part of who you are. Your body shape, size, and features are what make you so special!
It’s also important to avoid comparing yourself to others. Understandably, this is much easier said than done in a world of social media and unattainable beauty standards for both men and women. However, your life will become much more pleasant when you stop comparing yourself to others. As mentioned, every single person has their own individual qualities and features, so comparing your unique self to others is like comparing apples to oranges.
Be Kind to Yourself
This is undoubtedly a difficult one to practise, since we often don’t give ourselves the same encouragement and treatment that we would so easily give a friend.
One way to be kind to yourself is to practise self-compassion. This means treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would show to a friend. This can be challenging, especially if you've been critical of yourself for a long time. However, it's essential to try to catch negative self-talk when it happens and replace it with positive affirmations. For example, if you find yourself thinking, "my body isn’t good enough, I wish I was thinner," first think, “would you say this to your friend?”. Then replace this thought with something like “My body looks good the way it is and I am glad I am healthy”.
Engage in Self-Care
Engaging in self-care is a crucial part of learning to love your body. By prioritising physical activity, healthy nutrition, emotional and mental health, you can start to develop a more positive and loving relationship with it.
One of the best things you can do for your body is physical exercise. It doesn’t have to feel like a chore or turn into a weekly gym visit, but instead try to pick an activity that you enjoy, whether that’s running, dancing, swimming or even hiking! Regardless of what it is, try to make it part of your routine, as exercise is proven to boost your mood and physical health.
Another way to engage in self care is by prioritising your emotional and mental health. There are many ways to do this, including journalling, starting therapy or practising mindfulness. You could even find activities that you enjoy or find relaxing - this might include taking a warm bath, reading a book or just spending time with loved ones. When you start engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, not only are you strengthening your relationship with your body, but you’ll find that your general mood and overall sense of well-being will start to improve.
Surround Yourself With Positivity
There is a popular quote by Alexander Den Heijer, which says, “When a flower doesn't bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower”. In the same way, your negative views about your body are not shaped by the truth, but instead come from outside influences, such as social media, celebrities and even the opinions of ‘fake’ friends.
What you want to do is change the environment and surround yourself with more positive influences. Make an effort to spend time with people who uplift you and support you, and avoid those who tend to bring you down or make you feel insecure. This can help to boost your self esteem and confidence.
Another thing you can do is to consume positive media. For example, rather than following online celebrities who have airbrushed photos and post heavily-filtered (and unrealistic) photos of themselves, consider following more body positivity influencers on social media. They embrace natural beauty and might inspire you! You’ll notice that you’ll start comparing yourself to others less and actually start focusing on your own growth.
Remember, loving your body is a process that requires a lot of time and consistent practice, and it won't happen overnight. However as you begin this journey of body love, each day you will start to appreciate all that your body does for you and how strong and powerful it can be.
Practise self love, avoid comparisons and surround yourself with positive influences, and soon you’ll learn to love your body just the way it is and find yourself feeling more grateful than ever.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how you can learn to love your body, check out our powerful and inspirational Body Love Diploma Course. It’s available for just £29 via the links in this blog, and is an invaluable journey that will offer you that little extra guidance and support. You can also read about the experience of one course graduate who learned to love her surgery scars and stretch marks.