Body image is the mental representation we create of what we think we look like; it may or may not be close to how others actually see us, but is true for us. What this means is that the image we have about the way we look is subject to all kinds of distortions that go from internal struggles to cultural influences. Internal elements like our moods and emotions, early experiences from childhood, messages we received growing up, and attitudes our parents had towards their own bodies, and our bodies, impact the way we feel in our body and the views we hold towards it.
Life experiences, current life situation, and events influence the way we see ourselves on the mirror. So do external influences like the diet culture we live in, plastic surgery accessibility, and the thin ideal which impact how we connect with ourselves, our food, and our body. When we are consumed by the way we look and preoccupied about the way others see us, our feelings soon can become overwhelming. Many people struggle with diets and exercise, compulsively trying to attain a body they think would lead to others noticing them, being happy, and accepted. We don't see the distortions people have of their bodies, their struggles with food and weight, and the anxiety and depression behind the scenes. We don’t see sometimes how those struggles can hide an eating disorder.
Today, take some time to reflect on your own body image and challenge yourself to connect with your body in a healthier way. Here are some ideas that I hope will inspire you:
Expand your Notion of Beautiful. Stop using the scale, mirrors and comparisons to determine your beauty, and start focusing on your “signature beauty” and authentic way of expressing it! What aspects make you unique? Think for a moment about all of your personal qualities and things you’re proud of.
Make Active Choices Each Day To Feel Beautiful. The key element here is to make a “conscious choice” to care for your body and feel comfortable and beautiful in it. You can put on a face mask, wear your favorite outfit, smile and say thank you when people give you a compliment, keep a gratitude list for all the things your body does for you. Those are only a few examples of simple actions you can take on a daily basis. Notice how you feel when you consciously choose to feel beautiful.
Challenge Your Negative Self Talk. Our minds can be pretty mean sometimes. Take a step back and remind yourself that not everything you think is real, “a thought is just a thought. Not a fact.” Choose your thoughts wisely by questioning them. You can ask yourself: Is this thought helping me or hurting me? You can also distance yourself from that thought by saying to yourself “I’m having a thought that I’m not pretty enough, think enough, feminine enough…”
Use Your Powers For Good. We all have the power to choose and change. Create your own personal mantra and use it to change your perception of yourself. You can say “I am a divine creation”, “I feel beautiful”, or whatever feels right for you that make you feel “empowered and connected to your inner beauty.” Turn your energy into something fun instead of using it to compare and criticize yourself. Think of ideas to increase your levels of fun and relaxation. Perhaps, you can try going to an art class, organizing a spa day at your home, or trying a new recipe.
Click on the image below and download our “28 Days of Positive Body Image” calendar with more ideas on how to improve your relationship with your body! PDF contains versions in English and Spanish!