Body Confidence: Practice Self-Acceptance and Hike Self-Worth
You gaze in the mirror and mutter, "Gosh, look at the muffin top." "Ugh, stupid hooked nose!" "What the heck happened to my butt?"
Many of us have complicated and negative relationships with our bodies, impacting our self-image, self-esteem. It may even stop us from engaging and thoroughly enjoying our lives. We're constantly bombarded with popular images of the perfect body and flawless beauty. It's no wonder we base our value on external appearances, and we obsess on how to 'fix' ourselves.
But you can reduce negative self-talk and increase body positivity and self-acceptance. Here is what real Canadian women shared with me when I posed the question, "How do you practice body confidence?"
I Focus on Finding New BFFs
I delete anyone on social media that makes me feel worthy only when I lose weight, dye my hair blonde, or buy the latest miracle wrinkle cream.
I now follow role models who make me feel positive inside and outside. I choose inspirational champions who are passionate about similar interests and causes that I support.
I Focus on My Side of the Fence
I stop short every time I compare myself to what others are wearing, what trips or parties they attend, and what they have that I don't own.
I'm also hyper-aware when I mentally judge others for their differences, whether their body shapes, skin colour, hair texture and physical abilities. It's also none of my business what food or amounts others eat.
I Focus on My Health
I separate exercise from the sole purpose to fit into smaller size pants, to impress anyone or attract a mate. I focus on moving my body so I can tackle daily tasks and feel energized to join friends for a mountain hike or a day of skiing.
I Focus on Gratitude
I'm not the same woman as I was in my 20s. Pregnancy, aging, an accident, and medical conditions have changed my body's size, priorities, and my outlook on life.
I've stopped obsessing over things I can't control. Instead, I focus on all possibilities, adventures and abundance on the way. I also journal the things I'm grateful for – my witty personality, the guts to take drum lessons at 55, strong, delicious coffee and the butterflies in my backyard.
I Focus on Self-Love and Self-Care
If I don't take the time to love and care for myself, who will?
I review and list all the amazing things about myself; the skills and talents I've developed, the goals I've achieved, and how I help others see how amazing they are.
I allow for 'me time' without feeling guilty. I also engage professionals like massage therapists, yoga instructors, swimsuit, and breast prostheses fitters who offer a safe, non-judgmental space. And sometimes I even buy myself flowers for no reason!
I Focus on the Front Windshield
I remember reading that you need to stop looking in the rearview mirror but look ahead. That's what I practice. There's always something new to learn, people to meet, adventures to experience and challenges to conquer. When I'm busy living, I'm happy, and I spend less time worrying about my looks or what other people think of my cellulite.
I Focus on Flipping My Perception
It's so automatic to say something negative when I look in the mirror. These days, I replace "You have large thighs" with "Wow, your legs make you a fast runner!"
I also have inspirational quotes pinned to the kitchen bulletin board, and there's nothing wrong with turning up the music, dancing by yourself and shouting, "I love you!" Loving yourself is one of the best feelings!
Accepting and celebrating the 'whole you' raises your self-respect, self-worth and self-love. Practice some of these methods to develop new attitudes, emotions and behaviours.
Imagine our world if we all practiced body confidence and self-acceptance.