It does not matter how much you try to “love your faults”: some days, you simply can not, because being happy with your body is more difficult than it seems. Women of any age, weight, and height struggle to accept each other day after day (even those that seem much more attractive to us than us).
Although it may not seem like it, learning to accept your body and to love it as it is, is possible: you just need to apply some simple habits to begin to value it.
How to love and accept your body
You are the only person responsible for both taking care of you and loving you as you are. And you can start today to treat your body with the love it deserves:
1. Accept what you can not change
There are features and forms in your body that you can not change. You were born with a certain height, skin color, bone structure, ability to gain or lose weight.
Therefore, the first step to strengthen confidence in yourself is to accept everything that you can not change. If you set your goals at an unattainable standard, you will go mad trying to achieve them. Perfectionism is not healthy for your body or your mind: let go of your need to be perfect. Nobody is.
2. Work on changing what you can
There are some features of your body that you can change, for example, lose or gain weight, increase muscle mass, let your nails grow, straighten your hair, shave your eyebrows … The key is to focus on one goal at a time and not try to cover everything.
One of the biggest obstacles when it comes to changing something in our bodies is our own negativity. But changing your body because you love it, not because you hate it, will give you the motivation you need to move forward.
A vicious circle of negative thoughts prevents people from setting health goals or changing their image. The Positive Psychology Program site illustrates this with the example of overweight people: first, they gain weight and feel bad for having won; initially, they may try to lose weight and achieve a goal, but they may become frustrated and start using food or inactivity to feel better; as a result, they gain more weight and feel worse. By loving your body, you will try to change it to improve your health, to take care of yourself, because you care. As a result, you will achieve your goals more permanently.
It is important to remember that the body is constantly changing: the metabolism, the ability to gain or lose weight, or the quality of the skin change over the years. The experiences you go through, like a pregnancy, will also alter your body. The changes you make now will not last forever: throughout your life, you will be in transformation and your body will not always be the same, so it is convenient to practice positive thinking about your body in any condition.
This point comes hand in hand with the previous one: people who are happy with their bodies are more motivated to take care of them: they have good hygiene, they drink plenty of water, they apply moisturizer, they care for their hair, they eat healthy (as much as possible), They try to sleep well … they do what their bodies need to be healthy.
What works for others may not be for you: find what you like to do to take care of yourself. It can be as easy as staying for a while alone, reading in bed. It may be taking a relaxing bath or getting a massage. Respect your body in the way that feels most natural to you.
4. Do not believe what the media says
The media are not as positive with the body as you think: even the models of large sizes seem to have a perfectly flat stomach (and obviously retouched). Not only happens in television and film: the models of Instagram, Facebook, and other social networks, use special technology to retouch photos and videos. Sometimes, not so special: many women fill in the parts of their body that they want to highlight, placing pads under their clothes. And yes, another celebrity strategy is to go through plastic surgery.
For all this, we have to visit the media with a critical eye. When we see a celebrity whose body we admire, what are we actually seeing? Retouching, surgery, and, if there is none of that, hours and hours in the gym and a diet so specific that does not fit our lifestyle. Because, although there are people who live on their bodies and dedicate themselves to keeping it for their fans, we are not paid by anyone for having a body considered almost perfect.
Instagram and Pinterest, above all, are platforms that allow the exchange of very clear repetitive visual elements about what our aspiration should be. According to Positive Psychology Program, numerous studies show that the use of Instagram harms the body image of women, especially those who seek inspiration to get fit.
In an Australian study, the use of Instagram was controlled, making 138 women see images of celebrities, conventionally beautiful women, or landscapes. It was found that his mood was much more negative after seeing the images of other women, whether famous or not.
You do not have to stop using social networks. But it is important to find representation in the media. If the models do not represent you, follow other people. If you want to admire others to set goals, follow models that are not unattainable ideals. There are models of all sizes, and not all have a flat stomach.
It is our human nature to both compare and has aspirations for the future, but try to maintain these impulses at a realistic level.
5. Process Criticism
Many times we feel negative opinions about our bodies. When you are overweight, it is common to hear insults to well-intentioned comments about your health, which you did not ask anyway. Anyone can comment on your weight: complete strangers or your closest family. You can not change the way others behave or think, but you can change the way you take their words.
In an article she wrote for Healthline, Natalie Johnson, founder of the blog Shameless Creature, explains her tactic for dealing with criticism of her weight.
When a stranger’s words fall apart, I think: “What does your opinion mean to me? Where does this comment really come from? ” Sometimes people insult others because they feel insecure about themselves, or because they simply do not understand another person’s point of view.
When faced with criticism, ask yourself if it really has a basis. If you have it, would you be willing to change that about yourself? Do you have the will to do it? What would be your first steps to work on changing it? Use a journal to record your progress.
Sometimes, the criticism comes from us. We have all spent hours watching each other, but no one else has the time to look at you so carefully (and if you do, you probably do not care about your little details). “When you look at something carefully for so long, obviously you will find fault,” explains Johnson. We can never be perfect in the eyes of others, but we can be perfect for ourselves.