We are constantly told how we should act, how we should look, and how we should interact with both ourselves and other people. Whatever we do, it doesn’t seem to be quite enough to satisfy the world that we live in. All this judgement can reflect on our psyches and cause our own body image to plummet.
In this society, having bad body image isn’t unheard of in any sense of the word. Even if you preach body positivity and want to demolish diet culture, sometimes the negativity of society can really get to you. Body image dictates our lives and is part of everything that we do, whether we like to believe it or not.
When we don’t think that we fit into that ideals that society sets for us, we can get really harsh on ourselves. No matter how you look, there’s always going to be a judgement against you in some aspect or another.
So how do we deal with this? It doesn’t happen overnight, that’s for sure, but there are different strategies you can try to boost your body image.
Unfollow Negative Media
This isn’t always possible, but you can make the effort to minimise the amount of negative media that you consume. This means being conscious about what you’re watching and what you’re reading, as these things tend to have a big influence on us. If you’re reading a magazine that constantly body-shames celebrity figures, then it’s likely you’re going to feel worse off. However, if you’re reading books about body positivity and self-acceptance, then you’re going to make strides in feeling better overall.
Instead of picking up a magazine that’s focused solely around body image or watching a television show that represents negativity, try something with more substance. Watch a television show that does well to portray mental health instead, or focus on magazines that focus on people for their stories, not their looks.
Meditate & Practice Positive Affirmations
Meditating is about being mindful in your body and taking note of where you are in the moment and how you’re feeling. It’s a great way of getting out of negative thought cycles and changing the way that you think. Even if you’re only able to commit a few moments to meditating, close yourself and calm your breathing, noticing the thoughts but letting them pass over you. Apps such as Headspace are ideal, as the short meditation sessions teach you how to cope with your thoughts.
You can also try practicing positive affirmations and repeating them to yourself several times a day. While it may feel odd at first, positive affirmations have actually been proven to make you into a more positive person while helping you believe good things about yourself.
Try Not To Compare Yourself
Comparison only breeds more suffering, and this is an important thing to note if you want to feel better about your body image. Each person is different and each body is different – that’s just a fact of life. If we continue comparing ourselves to other people, we’re never going to be satisfied with how we look, how we act, or what we’ve achieved.
We’re all on our own journey and on our own timelines and we shouldn’t focus on trying to beat out somebody else. Truth be told, most of us would choose to change something about ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we can or that we necessarily should.
Take Care Of Your Body
Practice self-care! This is so important. Even if you don’t feel like taking care of yourself, it’s still vital that you do. However, this doesn’t need to be any big mission – it can be as simple as drinking an extra glass of water, taking a bath, giving yourself a good meal, or doing a face-mask. Self-care helps promote self-improvement and it allows you to get to know your body at the same time.
Neglecting yourself is only going to make you feel worse, both mentally and physically. Not a lot of us really know how to take care of ourselves and, even if we do, we tend to shrug off the importance of it. Even when you’re struggling, try to make time to do something you enjoy.
Build A Support System
Finally, a good way to keep yourself feeling good is to build up a support system that will work as your cheerleading squad when you need them to. They’re not going to judge you or treat you badly just because of how you look, which could do well as a reminder that you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself either.
Plus, having a support system, even if it’s only a small group of friends, means that you’re going to have a community of people that you can trust to turn to when you’re feeling especially low. Confide in them and ask them for their advice, instead of bottling it up and letting that fuel your bad body image.
Liking yourself is in no way easy, and it’s not something that’s magically just going to happen if somebody tells you it’s what you should do. I’m not telling you to like yourself – because I don’t even like myself, not yet – but these few tips can help you get on your way to self-acceptance.