Real Ways to Improve Body Image
3 Ways to Improve Body Image. Hey everyone! In this post I really feel compelled to touch on the relationship we have to our bodies and physical appearance. I don’t want to tell people what to do (ever) but being a woman and hearing how so many people talk, this is what it is in my mind.
For ourselves, for our children, for the younger eyes around us (heck, even the older ones), for those affected by the energy we vibe outwards…we’ve got to change how we talk about bodies.
Are we STILL talking about weight loss, diets, losing fat, restriction, deprivation, fixation, stress, being critical of our body? Why? Why the heck does that continue to be celebrated and awarded?
This is an Opportunity
We have an opportunity to talk about feeling good, learning to love ourselves in each phase and each form, body awareness, appreciation, health, wellth, mental health not being exclusive from physical health, taking accountability for how you’re talking to yourself.
Man, we really, really, really gotta change it. Change the framework. Change the narrative of how we talk about bodies. Change/lose the corrosive language. Add in the good wordage, the self care, the caring + loving + understanding words we tell ourselves and taking an inventory of the impact.
How we do that is being felt by other people, your energy impacts others, and it’s a chance to take accountability for the energy you put out there.
My Backstory with Body Image
For backstory and reference, below is a list of comments I heard growing up as a female athlete about my body + capabilities. This list was important for me to write out. Acknowledging these comments allowed me to trace back to when some of my own body image struggles began:
-“You seem like you work out a lot, why aren’t you skinnier?”
-“Your legs are huge”
-“What are your running PRs? Oh, I thought you were faster.”
-“What are your lifting numbers? I figured you were stronger than that since you like Crossfit so much.”
-“You might be pretty but you’re not a good athlete.”
Us women can be tough, but we can also have sensitivity to match that toughness. I’m more comfortable with who I am as a person now that I can deflect these comments if I were to hear them present day.
But, what about young girls today? I wasn’t able to deal with the comments well when I was a young athlete (which is probably why I remember these comments many years after the fact).
Real Ways to Improve Body Image: Understanding the Mean Spirited Comments
It took me a while to realize that having compassion for mean spirited individuals is the best route for me to go. I feel for the younger generations who are currently processing these comments. I wish I could hug them and let them know it’s not about them. It’s about what’s in the mind & heart of the person making the comment. Which is probably not good self-loving, positive, healthy stuff. Also, that person is revealing how contaminated their own self-worth is.
What’ll solve it? I don’t know for sure. But, I do know that the people I’ve met in my life taking care of their own happiness don’t make those comments. Those who project those comments are not good with themselves. Maybe, more people need to take care of their happy. Then, do their best to spread it so that more of the light can illuminate the dark.
Real Ways to Improve Body Image: Everyone has Insecurities
I have insecurities just like most people. I don’t let them run the show like they did at one point in my teenage years. But, it would be dishonest to claim that i’m 100% confident all the time.
One of them is my uneven facial complexion. Another is having visible body fat, cellulite, dimples, jiggly body parts. Those are real and those are hard to admit, even though I am supported and often told how these things are non issues.⠀
I love myself despite those things. In fact, I’ve grown to love myself because of those things. They are a part of me. To disregard them is to not love myself wholly. I am continuously learning to be okay in the life space that’s imperfect, unplanned and full of mystery.
Working Through Insecurities
My solution of sorts for me has been gradually reaching new levels of consciousness as the years have progressed. These new levels of consciousness have allowed me to put my focus into developing more meaningful thought patterns.
Realizing that my existence is a limitless conglomerate of vibrations. That I don’t have to do anything to prove my worth or my value. That my value is inherent. My value as a human is innate. Ultimately, knowing and believing that I am more than my physical appearance has been huge. I hope you can root for yourself despite your insecurities, too.
Real Ways to Improve Body Image: Body Acceptance is not Exclusive to One Body Size⠀
Here’s a scenario (that I’ve actually seen happen 39578 times on social media) in regards to body image:
-A person that appears fit (muscular and/or lower body fat) shares a photo in underwear or swim suit. She/he is ridiculed. They are called names. They are picked apart.⠀
-A person that appears full figured (not as fit with higher body fat) shares photo in underwear or swim suit. They are high fived. They are called brave and inspiring.⠀
DO YOU SEE THE PROBLEM I DO? it’s not celebrating all body types. it’s selectively applying judgement to people in terms of body image.
If you are skinny, fit, not fit, fast, slow, muscular, not muscular, hippy, curvy, full figured, (wow, why are there so many names for body types) you should feel free to practice this loving on yourself with ZERO SHAME.
Some people feel comfortable sharing photos like this. Some people don’t. that doesn’t make the sharers scandalous and the non sharers closed off. As long as it feels good to YOU what you share, that’s groovy man.
Stopping the Judgement
Dang, I feel like I have so much to say in a post like this and I don’t know how to articulate it perfectly. *wipes sweat from brow*. But, I’m trying.
I JUST WANT PEOPLE TO STOP JUDGING SO HARD; holy crudbuckets.
3 Real Ways to Improve Body Image
Practice radical acceptance of your body.
Radical acceptance of your body means that under any condition, you remain on your own team. There’s no room for abandoning yourself and sabotaging your efforts by letting doubt, loathing and fear grow. You can only do this by centering your attention on the present moment. Allowing how you currently are to fully exist. Think about radical = regardless. Start practicing the art of loving yourself no matter what. Don’t allow it to be a conditional feeling. You can love yourself starting right now; it doesn’t matter if you haven’t reached full potential, in your mind. You can’t criticize yourself into healthy change. Try loving yourself. Love is the water that will help you (the plant) grow.
Redirect your attention.
You will get more of what you focus on. So, instead of focusing on your perceived “flaws”, focus on ways to get your body moving that you genuinely enjoy. Carve out more time to participate in activities that allow you to stay active and celebrate the beauty of your human physique. Another mindful redirect can be being more intentional about who you spend time around. Don’t allow yourself to absorb others’ unhealthy mental habits. If you are surrounded by people that are endlessly critical and use language that is deteriorating to self acceptance, work to limit that. You deserve to absorb better energy than that. Wish them well and send them love, but don’t let them drag you down.
Remember that you are the example.
Every single person in your life that you come into contact with (whether it’s a fleeting interaction or a daily meeting), is an opportunity to be a loving force towards them. There’s something about observing your life from an aerial perspective that can allow you to see how negative body commentary has a ripple effect on those around you. Be the example of what loving your body looks like. Changing your relationship with your body will not only help you, but it will give others permission to do the same. In addition, taking accountability for your energy can be a helpful focus when changing your internal dialogue about your body.