“You can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion, for yourself and those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul.” ~Lupita Nyong’o
Don’t Strive For Perfection, Be Realistic
I feel like for a lot of young girls and women, we get caught up in the media – especially social media. Body comparison and feelings of guilt are ever increasing with the rise of “instagram models” and paid sponsoring from celebrities claiming this “new special waist trainer and skinny tea will give you your dream body.” I never believed this toxic stuff from the beginning, nor do I strive for it, and I don’t think anyone should. It’s not real.
A Real Woman
This image of a Greek goddesses body in statue form, is what I call an authentic woman’s body. Some of you guys are probably like, um it’s a statue lol. But it’s a statue representing the real beauty of the female body. She’s not photoshopped, she’s not airbrushed, doesn’t have the romanticized thigh-gap, tiny (always toned) waist, or put on a specific diet and exercise regime. It is an authentic, honest representation of the female body, and it’s so beautiful. Abs are overrated. we shouldn’t be afraid to admit we have soft edges and roles here and there. That’s the beauty of having a human body – we’re not suppose to be solid and chiselled. We’re soft and spill over the edges sometimes, and that’s awesome!
Social Medias Toxic Role
We need to step out of the social media, fashion and beauty bubbles we can put ourselves in, and realize, the boobs, butts, tiny waists, abs, biceps, etc. aren’t always what they seem to be.
A lot of the time those with the “phenominal bodies” have the help of paid nutritionists and trainers (essentially, a team) to help them achieve their physique. That’s why I feel like certain “influencers” can be so damaging for not only women and girls but men as well because they’re making people question their bodies and appearances. Why isn’t my butt that big, lips that big, abs that toned? Hair that long?… Some of us try to achieve this, yet we’re forgetting about the team behind these people. Step outside the bubble, and realize it’s all marketing, it’s lighting, editing, makeup, and modifications through surgery and injections, and diets and workouts. That’s their job. That’s how they make their money. It’s made for photos and videos. Even those who do show off these physiques are working at it every day to keep up with the image and be like their counterparts. Don’t fall for it, love yourself instead.
Accepting Your Body
A big step in accepting and loving your body is no longer wanting to have a body and appearance like that of models in the media and on instagram. For me personally, I haven’t had instagram since 2015, so I can’t imagine how its advanced. But I can remember the kinds of body images there were in 2015 and how damaging they were for self-esteem. When you stop comparing, you get so caught up in loving your own body, you no longer pay attention to others and how they look.
For me personally, I think removing a lot of social media from my life has really changed my self-love game. I’m not looking at people thinking, oh why isn’t my stomach that flat, thighs that thin, butt that big. Since I don’t have all these people online to compare myself to, the only person I really have to compare myself to is myself. How can I make my life better? How can I get one step closer to doing what I want to do? It’s no longer a race against other people. It’s no longer trying to attain the same body as the girl in the image. It’s about loving how my body is right now in this very moment, because I know my body is always changing, and it’s always aging. I hate to say it, but our bodies are the youngest they’ll ever be right now, and in sixty years I’m scared of regretting not loving myself more. One day I’m going to be this 80 year old women with wrinkly, blotchy skin, and short grey hair, and I’ll look at pictures of my twenty year old youthful self and think, why didn’t I love myself more then? Love your body and your appearance as you are right now because it’s not forever.
Diversity is Beautiful
I grew up in multicultural Canada, and my Mom also raised me to not be judgemental of others. I honestly and truly think every girl is beautiful in her own way. Some people may role their eyes at me writing this depending on your views, but we seriously all are beautiful. The different body ratios, skin tones, eye colours and shapes, hair colours, hair textures, features, laughs, and smiles. If we were all the same it would be kind of creepy and get boring real fast. Having our own uniqueness about ourselves is the foundation of our identities. How could we be our own individual if we all have the same desired look as everyone else – it doesn’t work.
For me personally, I have blonde hair and green eyes, but I’ve always thought brown eyes and brown hair are beautiful. Throughout my teen years I died my hair brown and always wanted brown eyes, but as I got older I came to appreciate my appearance, while still appreciating brown hair and brown eyes on others. They’re all beautiful. Meanwhile, someone with brown hair and brown eyes may want what I have. The reality is, we all want what we don’t have, and it’s damaging because even if we get that thing, we’d still find more to want. It’s an endless cycle. That’s why it’s important to accept who we are right now in this very moment. 🙂
“When you aim for perfection, you discover it’s a moving target.” ~ George Fisher
The Body Is Forever Changing
Your body won’t be the same tomorrow as it is today. Cells are always dividing and creating new cells. Old cells are dying off, our skin is aging, gut bacteria is changing, nails and hair are growing, stomach is digesting, the brain is changing neurologically according to the information we’re taking in. Most importantly, our body size is fluctuating. I think this is something a lot of people skip over when critiquing their bodies. If we look thicker in the wrong places, bloated, or like we’ve gained weight, we feel like we need to cut back on the kinds of foods we’re eating or start working out more, etc. But we forget our bodies fluctuate with the amount of sodium we consume, where we are in our menstrual cycle, water retention, and more. It’s important to not beat up our bodies because it’s not going to be the same way tomorrow. Instead we should put that energy into taking care of our bodies so we can ensure we’ll feel our best the next day.
How Do I Love My Body Right Now?
To learn to love your body I recommend the following:
1. Honour and accept how your body is right now in this very moment.
2. Speak words of love to your body. Say affirmations while hugging yourself such as: I love my body, I am beautiful, I am perfectly human, I love my legs, hair, etc. I embrace and accept my flaws and imperfections because they’re beautiful.
3. Stop comparing. Comparing is the most damaging thing you could do.
4. Be real and honest with yourself about women in social media and online – it’s not real. Remind yourself it’s not real and not something worth striving to attain.
5. Touch your body: Give yourself a hand message with intention, a foot message with intention (I do this often during yoga as it helps me connect with my physical body).
6. Find what works best for your body: All bodies are different, so what works for mine might not work for yours. Dress in what feels good to you, eat the foods that make you feel your best, move the way that feels best. When we have the strength to care for our bodies in the way that feels best for us, we take back full control and give zero energy to anyone else (such as the models, influencers, celebrities, etc.).
7. Be compassionate towards yourself: Don’t be so harsh with yourself when you don’t meet certain standards. Drop the standards and accept yourself for everything you’ve blossomed into.
8. Change your mindset from one of hate, to one of love. Mindset is 99% how we treat ourselves. In order to change your mindset for the better, you need to better understand what you’re thinking. Ask yourself:
~ When’s the last time I’ve said something positive about my appearance?
~How often do I spend on my self-care to ensure I’m receiving enough self-love? Do I need to spend more time on it?
~Do I feel like I’m lacking in self-love? How can I give love to myself today?
Additional exercises include:
~Make a list of all the features you love about yourself.
~Write down every time you catch yourself feeling negative towards your body, or you think/say something negative about yourself. (write down what you said, how you felt, and the time it occurred. This way you can see how often the criticism occurs, and you better understand what you need to work on loving more).
~Have time each day (even just 3-5 minutes) to love yourself. Whether it’s reading affirmations to yourself, looking in the mirror and giving yourself a smile, a hand message, etc. Anything to show you care and you’re here for yourself.
Be Gentle With Yourself
“In order to find real happiness, you must learn to love yourself for the totality of who you are, and not just what you look like.” ~Portia de Rossi
Loving your body is not a destination, it’s a life-long journey. I say I love my body everyday, but I still have moments where I look in the mirror and think, oh what happened there? My God is that cellulite? Why do my thighs look bigger? Is that back fat? What a nightmare… It’s a process. Every time you catch yourself criticizing yourself, you have to step outside that bubble and say: I’m human, I’m soft, I’m squishy, and that’s beautiful. This face and body is mine and only mine to have, and that’s amazing. Be gentle with yourself. 🙂
The Outline of The Self-Love Series
Chapter Four: Learning To Love Your Body
Chapter Five: My Self-Love Story
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