In a culture where women are expected to conform to impossible beauty standards, it's hard not to over-emphasize our physical flaws. Sometimes women experience mental and emotional anguish because they don't like their bodies. The good news is their are ways to appreciate and honor your body just the way it is! Here are some tips!
Stop comparing! It's hard, but try to catch yourself when you find it happening. Everyone is different, and different is good!
Focus on your accomplishments. Focus on others' accomplishments, too! If you want to give your friend a compliment, try complimenting her on something other than her appearance.
Learn to accept compliments. Just say, "Thank you!" Don't minimize or make excuses. And don't feel pressure to return the compliment.
Think of your body as a tool or instrument--not as an ornament. We weren't born just to stand around and look pretty! There are many wonderful things our bodies can do!
Repeat positive affirmations to yourself. Yes! Affirmations do work if you are diligent. Try something like, "I'm beautiful inside and out," or "I'm thankful for my strong legs that carry me around all day." You can come up with your own creative way of affirming the positive aspects of your body.
If you have the opportunity, watch an infant enjoying and exploring their body. They are fascinated by their hands and toes, and as they grow up they are fascinated by their belly buttons and noses! What must a baby be thinking about his or her body?
Focus on the positives. If you like your toes, start there. If you hate your toes, but love your eyes, start there. Dig deep, ladies! There's got to be something you like! :)
Look at family photos (preferably of family members you love!). Do you love your family less because they don't have a perfect body? Do you look at those photos to critique their bodies? Hopefully those photos are reminders of fond feeling regardless of body shape or size.
Ask yourself this question: If you had one year to live, how important would your appearance be? Would you be trying to lose those ten pounds so you looked thinner in your coffin? Doubtful. You would probably be finding meaningful ways to leave a mark on your family, friends, and the rest of the world.
Engage in activities that encourage you to enjoy your body, such as stretching, dancing, singing, getting a massage, or taking a bubble bath, etc. Why do you think they turn down the lights in Zumba class?!? They want you to just enjoy the movements and not worry about what it looks like! When we focus on enjoyable activities our body can do for us, we start to feel gratitude for it's abilities!