It’s not easy to start liking your body when you’re hyper-focused on your appearance.
The best way to get started is actually by thinking of your body as a tool rather than a project.
There’s a saying that goes like this, “your body is not a work of art, your body is the paint brush. Your life is the work of art, and your body helps you create your life.”
I love this analogy because so often we get too caught up in “having the perfect paint brush” and forget that it’s really about how you use it.
So here are my tips for learning to like your body.
Regardless of who you’re going to see during the day, it’s okay for you to wear something that smells nice. Whether it’s perfume, essential oils, or a really great smelling deodorant, if you feel good about how you smell, that will help your body image! Doing simple things like this is a way to show yourself you prioritize your body.
Don’t be afraid to look at your body when you’re bathing. Instead of rushing from one thing to the next, recognize the care you’re performing for yourself and you’ll start liking your body. So often we try to ignore the parts of ourselves we don’t like, but I’m going to challenge you to really look at yourself the next time you’re in the shower.
When you treat yourself with a fun hair mask or new color, it’s a tangible way to show yourself you care about your hair. Your hair is part of your body and if you practice liking one part of your body, it’s easier to like the rest. You deserve to feel good about yourself, and it doesn’t need to be super expensive. Even doing a coconut oil hair mask is enough to treat yourself.
Instead of focusing on the physical results of losing weight or “toning up” tell yourself you want to run to have a strong heart. Lift weights to be strong, move yourself to celebrate the things you can do in this body. You don’t have to wait until you look a certain way to do things. Do them now, and have fun with it!
When you’re eating, try telling yourself you’re doing this to fuel your body in a healthy way. Feel yourself when you’re hungry and give your body the food it’s telling you it needs. That might be pizza, broccoli, peanut butter, whatever you feel your body is telling you will make it feel good. Your body knows what it needs, you don’t need to overcomplicate it with diets.
When’s the last time you read a book for pleasure? Do you allow yourself to enjoy your leisure time? Do you give yourself leisure time? You have permission to rest and recover. When you give yourself time and space to do things that make you happy, you’ll find fulfillment in places other than your appearance. Soon, you’ll be less preoccupied with the way you look.
Be careful who’s beliefs and opinions you’re letting into your head. It’s true that you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time around. So choose wisely, my friend. Take notice if people in your life are always talking about food or exercise in a “punishment/reward” mindset, maybe they talk about appearance way too much. Find people who make you feel lighter and happier when you’re around them.
Focusing on your appearance isn’t going to help you like your body more. If you start liking yourself for other reasons (maybe you’re funny, smart, kind, etc.) it’s going to be easier to like your body. Why? Because your body allows you to do those things! You can’t be kind to others without using your body.
Imagine how you’d feel if tomorrow you were paralyzed? Or you went blind or deaf. We are so fortunate to have fully functioning bodies, why are we so preoccupied with the way they look while performing their function? You have arms that hold your dog or your children, be thankful they work.
The right piece of jewelry can change your entire mood. I recommend finding a jewelry designer you really love and getting some pieces that light you up! Wear the jewelry you have and own the fact you’re a powerful woman who can take on the world.
Dogs help remind me of the bigger picture. We are here to help others, not look a certain way doing it. When you do something kind for an animal who can never repay you, it feels like you’re making a difference in the world. Positively impacting other people helps you see your purpose lies beyond your appearance, therefore helping you appreciate your body more.
Filter the influences in your life. Fill your mind with positivity and people who lift you up. Especially if you don’t have lots of people in your life who lift you up and make you feel good about yourself. You can check out Jenna Kutcher’s Goal Digger podcast. She’s a midwest-made photographer turned online marketing pro who has a heart for helping women reach their potential.
Even if you’re not an entrepreneur, you can benefit from listening to Gary Vaynerchuk’s podcast, The Gary Vee Audio Experience. He talks about being grateful for the life you’re given and not wasting a single second getting down on yourself for “failures.”
This one has a twist, try one that doesn’t promise a specific appearance-based result. Something that’s going to take care of your body, hydrate your skin, etc. Not a new wrinkle cream or acne spot gel product. When we focus on getting invisible pores, we are subconsciously telling ourselves the way we look is bad and must be changed.
If certain clothing doesn’t make you feel good, don’t wear it. You will start liking your body more if you raise the standards of what’s acceptable for you to wear. Don’t settle for clothes that aren’t comfortable. Wear things that make YOU feel good. Don’t hold onto clothes you want to fit into again, it’s a mental game you shouldn’t waste energy on.
You find what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for negativity, you’ll find it. But if you’re looking for positivity and reasons to like yourself, you’ll find that, too. If it feels impossible to find things you like about your body, try seeing good things in other people first.
Say good things about people when they’re not around, then practice saying encouraging things to their faces. When we spread positivity, it comes back to us.
Get inspired by some fun decorations to remind yourself you deserve to have nice things. You’re allowed to have pretty things and it doesn’t have to be expensive to do a few updates! Sometimes the smallest thing will make a big difference. Especially if you’re a visual person, treat yourself by setting up your space to inspire you.
Get an objective, supportive perspective on your struggles. Friends and family are great, but sometimes they’re subconsciously trying to keep you down at their level. Misery loves company, so be very careful you who’re taking advice from. The people closest to you are often the reason you’re thinking this way in the first place. You can’t fix what’s broken with the people who broke you.
It is possible to work through what’s holding you back from living a life of freedom and peace. There is proof out in the world that you don’t need to look a certain way in order to be happy. Happiness is an inside job, and I can help you get there.
Have you tried any of these tips?
Did they help?
How do you get yourself back on track when you start feeling critical of your looks?
Rebekah Buege is a body confidence coach helping strong women process critical thoughts and heal insecurities.
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