How Do You Fight Negative Body Image?
What a question, and one unfortunately, I cannot answer. The relationship you have with yourself and with your body is personal and it changes and grows every day, just like any other relationship. In those relationships, you have to nurture, communicate and work on them every day. In relation to your body, you have to communicate by listening to what it wants and giving it what it needs, you have to nurture it by caring for it and being kind to it, and you have to work on it by building the relationship with trust, love and acceptance of flaws.
It's not easy and there's no sugar coating it. It SHOULDN'T be an issue, but we live in a world where it is, and I wouldn't wish this feeling upon anyone and that's why it's important to support each other and eliminate it as much as we can.
Your journey to acceptance begins with acknowledging that you don't have to change yourself. Acknowledge that this feeling is not your fault. Acknowledging that you don't have to hate your body. You can choose to say no. You will have to re-learn all the lessons you have been taught which will be both exciting and scary. But you do have the power to say no and to change your relationship with your body and let it blossom into goodness.
There is no starting point, nor destination. You simply catch those negative emotions, challenge them and manifest them into positivity. There is no magic trick, it is simply changing your attitude and having the power to say no, and welcoming love and acceptance. Both love and acceptance are liberating and GOOD emotions that you want to embrace.
When you start to feel those negative emotions towards yourself, you have to catch them and ask yourself why you feel that way, challenge them by reminding yourself that your body fights to keep you alive every day and you have had incredible experiences inside of it, and then give yourself some love and nurturing. You won't be any kinder, you won't be any smarter, you won't be any more successful and you won't be any happier if you are skinnier. It is so much easier to have a healthy relationship with your body than hating it.
Acknowledge your beauty and flaws with acceptance and love. You don't necessarily have to love every inch of you, that part is up to you. However, you should practice facing up to the bits you don't like to be in contact and present with your body rather than ignoring it. I would recommend spending more time with your natural body and becoming comfortable with it.
Surround yourself with goodness. Be around people that make you feel worthy and happy to be you! You should not have to change yourself to be loved or successful. Being you is enough. We don't hear that enough, but it should be plastered on billboards.
Stop checking your body. Stop checking for 'progress' or scrutinising yourself in the mirror. Focus on how you feel inside - are your insides glowing? Do you feel good in who you are? Stop comparing your body to theirs - your body is DIFFERENT, not worse, not uglier, not better and not prettier, but simply different. Why? Because you have different genes and structures. You are entirely different people with different memories, experiences, attributes, features and feelings - so it makes perfect sense that you look entirely different. You are all wonderful and beautiful, just different.
Also, don't assume you're ugly or 'fat' because of features that all women have, but may not necessarily talk about. We don't look like magazine models and magazine models do not look like magazine models. Women have lumps and bumps and things wobble! We have done since we were a tiny babe and we will continue to. They are NORMAL and nothing to be feared. Fatness should not be feared, neither should any body type. I think a lot of people forget that skinny women can fear their body too - some women want to put on weight but can't for whatever reason and we shouldn't dismiss their struggles either. Bodies are not meant to be feared. Your body carries your soul, your children, your heart and your brain which are all far more important than what you look like on the outside.
The last point I want to make is that it's hard to separate all negative emotions. If you've had a bad day at work, failed a class, had an argument or don't feel very well - they can start to impact other aspects of your life negatively. Often, if I feel down, I start to feel worse about myself and my body. When this happens, you must ask yourself what triggered this emotion and distinguish the reason from your insecurity. You may also feel down after eating a lot of food or being bloated, but you must remember that your weight remains the same before and after eating: your body hasn't actually changed. And if your body does change - is that bad? You are still the same person with the same experiences. Would you swap those experiences to be skinnier or to have more curves? I hope not.
A bit of a rambled blog post today but a topic I am passionate about. Celebrate the little victories and practice self-acceptance every day. I hope this little discussion and tips gave you some food for thought and something good comes out of it for you.
"Loving yourself is the greatest revolution"