You know how body image has become such a thing? It has grown extensively over the past couple of years to where not it’s one highly talked about, gossiped about, and mediated depiction. You hear about celebrities being praised for “embracing their body image” and Instagram posts going viral because athletes are showing their bodies in their “real” and “natural” state, which is different from how the media and Photoshop depicts them.
While this is great, learning to accept and love ourselves, have you ever thought about how so much focus is actually counterproductive? I agree, it needs to be heard, but so much talk about it keeps the focus on both positive and negative body image. If you have a young girl, who is growing up listening to all of the media concerning this, that will be a constant focus for her. She will begin to worry and lose sight of focusing on enjoying who she is and who she is becoming.
The reality of it is that not everyone condones self acceptance. We put so much focus on how we look and less focus on how we feel. We worry constantly about how other people see us (myself included) when we should worry about being true to our self. Are you one of those people who compare yourself to just about every other person? I will admit I am, I think this is mostly female related but I believe males feel this way too. When I am out with my fiancee I’m not judging girls, but I am comparing myself to them. “Wow, her eyes are gorgeous! I wonder if I do this or that if I can make mine look more like hers.” What’s so wrong with my own eyes? I was born with them! They are my own. “Her lips are so full! Why is my top lip so thin and mine are small?” Because girl, just because. That doesn’t mean mine are less beautiful does it? Maybe to some guys it does! But why do I care about “some guys”?
Basically, I could talk about this all day but let’s get to the point! In today’s society, what can we do to keep our body image mentality a healthy one?
Here are some tips:
- STOP COMPARING YOURSELF. Just as I said up top, I am notorious for doing this and it is a struggle everyday for me to try to control this. For my own sanity, it MUST be controlled. Literally, I could drive myself crazy with how often I am comparing my looks and abilities to other people. Here the reality: Most things you compare to can’t be changed anyways! You might as well embrace your uniqueness and love other people for their own.
- Wear Things That Make You Feel Good. For me it’s usually things that fit snug, bright colors, or active wear. I promise you, everyone has something that just looks GREAT on them. Maybe it’s a color that brings out your eyes, or you have a great butt and look killer in some fitted jeans! Try different things, experiment. Even if it’s just a really great pair of shoes 😉
- Develop a Mantra. I’m sure you have heard me say it before but if you tell yourself something over and over again, you can trick your brain into finally believing it. That’s why in fitness we always say to tell yourself you can do it, if you keep telling yourself that it will happen. Your mind is stronger than your body realizes. Everyday when you wake up, look in the mirror and tell yourself something positive. “I am beautiful.” “I will eat well today.” “I won’t compare myself to others.” “I am smart.” “I will ace my exam this week.” Keep it simple and positive. Another cool idea would be to write a bunch of positive quotes on sticky notes and post them to your mirror or fridge. Every morning you will see these and be inspired.
- Surround Yourself by Positivity. I think at some point in our lives we have all had this one person, be it a friend, coworker, family member, whom was just always a Negative Nancy. Negativity is a disease. It will spread like wildfire until everyone infected is utterly miserable and drowning in despair from the tainted villain. Do yourself a favor and limit your interaction and keep your distance. Sometimes that is really hard, I know. In the end it will be a better path for you. If you really can’t find yourself able to break off this relationship, be open with this person and be honest. Tell them how they are constantly negative and it’s bringing you down. If they aren’t willing to change this, you have no real choice but to part ways. Unless you’re willing to follow them down this path that only leads to a dead, miserable end.
- Realize Your Potential. Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, focus on what you can do and do it very well. I am not a very talented individual but I am amazed every day at what my body can do! I can workout strong for like an hour straight! I can jump and lift weights. I can run 3 miles without having to stop and I know, compared to a year ago, that’s an improvement for my body. I am great at staying focused. I am great at multitasking. I am great at having big dreams for my future and getting those executed. What are you good at? If you’re not sure, try something new. You never know what you like or what your talents are if you never try anything!
Guys, life is so short and you begin to really realize this as you grow up and settle into your adult life. So why are we spending time being negative about ourselves and craving acceptance from everyone around else? The cold hard truth is not everyone will like you, plain and simple. No one can please everyone at one time. Period.