Beauty carries high value in our society. From the very beginning of self-identity as a little kid, we begin to make decisions about our level of attractiveness in relation to others. During the teenage years, our identities become wrapped up in what others think about us, and that often carries on into adulthood. When those comparisons tell you that you aren’t as pretty as someone else, or you find yourself not liking certain parts of your body, it’s hard to recognize your beauty. It’s really hard to overcome a negative self-view, and almost everyone has things about themselves they want to change. Here are six ways to challenge your biggest body insecurities and change the way you see yourself.
1. Stand naked in front of a mirror.
That’s right! One of the best ways to become friends with your body is to get comfortable with it. Many people cover up their insecurities with clothing and spend little to no time looking in the mirror. They’re uncomfortable with looking at stretch marks or a couple of extra pounds that added up over time.
It’s easy to ignore your body when you avoid the mirror, but taking time to really look at and appreciate your body every day helps combat negative body image. Start out in the morning staring at your naked reflection and find at least five things you like about yourself. Do this repeatedly, adding new items you like. Focusing on positive attributes instead of your perceived flaws can put you in a better position to start loving yourself more.
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2. Make your thoughts your best friend.
You likely have a constant dialogue running through your mind. It could be a harmless itemization of things that are happening around you. But it may also be a stream of negative self-talk that says, “I’m so ugly” or “No one likes me because of my nose.” One way to fight these thoughts is to stop and tune into what you’re saying about your body. Then change them into things your best friend would say to you. Instead of “My thighs are fat,” say “My legs are powerful and beautiful.” This type of thought tracking and changing activity will change your emotional health over time, as focusing on the positive enhances your mood.
3. Make a list of things you love about yourself.
Do you have reminders in the notes section of your phone? Do you keep track of grocery or to-do lists there? One easy way to conquer your body insecurities is to keep a running list of things you like about yourself on your phone. Every time you think of something you like about your body or something it did for you, jot it down in a bullet point.
For example, if you made it to your workout class and realized how strong your arms are or painted your nails and noticed that you like your hands, write it down! The more concrete evidence you have of things you like about yourself, the easier it is to stop concentrating as much on the things you don’t like.
4. Marvel at what your body does.
There’s a lot of social pressure to stay physically fit and keep your body looking a certain way. But have you ever thought about what your body is capable of? Your body — every day, every hour — is a fine-tuned machine of cells and organs that’s working to keep you alive. It’s easy to focus on the way you look versus the way you operate.
So instead, pay attention to all the things your body does. For example, when you get out of bed and move your legs from the bed to the floor to walking around, your body is working for you. Spend more time focused on body power rather than on body insecurity and really marvel at all of the incredible things your body does.
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5. Swap kind words with friends.
Get comfortable in your own skin by reaching out to a friend. Have you ever sat at a table with friends discussing the negative changes you started seeing after having a baby or from aging? The easiest way to stop this type of negative communication is by consciously creating positive body talk during your time with friends. Tell your friends you’d like to go around exchanging compliments for a few minutes on what you find beautiful about them. This positive verbal exchange might also help one of your friends recognize beauty he or she may have never seen. It also helps form positive energy that can help transform the negative, internal words that were created in the past.
6. Write down negative thoughts on a piece of paper and burn it.
The physical act of getting rid of negativity helps clear it from your mind. As humans, we like to have finite beginnings and ends to periods of life. So it’s time to do that with your body insecurities in order to really focus on the beautiful person you are.
Take a piece of paper and write down all of the negative things you’ve been saying about yourself. Keep the list going for a week to get everything out. Then set a specific date on which you plan to transition to positive self-talk. On that day, burn your list at a park grill or throw it away in a place you don’t go very often. Choose to walk away from this place, focusing on positive thinking and letting go of the things you used to say to yourself.
What Do YOU Think?
Do you struggle with a negative body image? What are some of the things you struggle with the most? What have you done to try to fight the negativity? Have you tried any of the things on this list? What else would you add? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below!