Stop and think of something you don’t like about yourself. Now what about something you do like about yourself. Easier to think of the negative things, right? We can more easily put ourselves down with all of the things that are less than perfect before we get excited about the things that we do feel confident about. What types of things did you just think about beforehand? Because more often than not, we usually think of our physical appearance much quicker than our personalities. Body image is such an interesting topic. Our perceptions and love for our bodies can change day to day, and even after just a simple encounter with someone else or a quick swipe through our Instagram newsfeed.
Now more than ever comparison to others is the biggest factor affecting one’s body image. I know we all read and share about stopping the comparisons to others and loving our bodies but it can be a challenge when all we see online and in ads are what seem to be perfect portrayals of what most of us will never be able to attain for ourselves. All it takes is one quick negative thought to take you on that downward spiral.
We talk a lot about accepting flaws - but in my opinion, they are only flaws because someone else is telling us this. Again, we are influenced by those around us telling us that we have to accept being less than perfect because how we are isn’t good enough. I don’t often listen or follow the fads and trends because they are just that, trends that will be ever-changing. Just remember, at one point being thin was what people were striving for and now we are celebrating women who look strong, powerful, and are more full figured. It is funny to me how although our body shapes might not change, the perception of whether or not it is ideal does. For me, more people celebrate my legs now than ever because apparently it is trendy to have a more full lower half of your body. I feel sure enough in my own body to not allow the thoughts of others to sway my thoughts of myself, but lots of others can fall into that trap.
I have personally not struggled too much with body image compared to other women (and men) I know but one thing that I have always been self conscious of is my skin. I struggled with acne since grade 4 or 5 which is a long time since I am only 24! It has only been in more recent years that I finally feel confident about it. Regardless of a body part, skin, or hair, if we don’t feel 100% sure about ourselves, of course we are going to be less confident when interacting with others. Despite what we want to believe about not judging a book by its cover, appearance will always be the immediate first impression you give off. When we walk into a room we not only want people to listen to what we say but see that we feel confident in our body image and how we carry ourselves.
Loving our bodies can be a difficult thing at times. Throughout a lifespan our bodies change and adapt to puberty, pregnancy, childbirth, hormonal changes, menopause, stress, and everything in between. The most important thing to remember is that our bodies are just like trends, ever-changing. I truly believe in the power of loving ourselves from the inside out. When we can be more confident of who we are and what we stand for, we can more easily withstand the outside pressures as well as the changes that life can throw our way. Leading a healthy, active lifestyle with foods that fuel and movement to promote health, our bodies on the outside will reflect exactly how our bodies will be feeling on the inside - AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL!
Be fierce. Be strong. Be vibrant.
*Discover You is offering a panel discussion on Body Image on November 27th. Find more information here.