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You Can Rebuild a Positive Body Image—From the Inside

When you look in the mirror, what is your first thought? (Image: Marra Taqos/flickr)
When you look in the mirror, what is your first thought? (Image: Marra Taqos/flickr)

A negative body-image does not discriminate, it is an outlook owned by people of all shapes and sizes.

Even the most attractive people can feel insecure about their bodies—let alone the rest of us.

You are beautiful in your uniqueness (Image:Idhren/flickr)

You are beautiful in your uniqueness. (Image: Idhren/flickr)

Therefore, a positive image truly does come from within—it’s a perspective we own. You can therefore be empowered to change your perception of your body to a positive or neutral one—through acceptance.

How to appreciate your body and gain a positive body-image

  • Don’t compare. Apples are apples, right? You are unique; work with that fact, not against it. Everyone is born with their own innate style of beauty and are a unique expression of life—discover what this is and cherish it.
  • Play up your good features.  Everyone has some good features. Professionals, such as photographers, stylists, and make-up artists, know how to play these up—you can learn too. Everyone is working with what they’ve got.
Work with what you've got: chose clothes and colors that flatter (Image:rawartismedia/flickr)

Play up your strong points to feel more confident. (Image: rawartismedia/flickr)

  • Train yourself to see the beauty in all. All living things and people have beauty; thanks to the media, we are conditioned to judge beauty with a very narrow scope. Widen your viewpoint and learn to see beauty in all people. When you begin to do this, you may open up to recognizing the beauty in yourself.
  • Wear what makes you feel and look good. To feel beautiful is to be beautiful. People look their best when they feel it, and this air of confidence is sensed by others. Wear clothes and colors that are flattering, and don’t be afraid to dress up—there is no shame in looking tailored and dignified.
  • Looks mean nothing—after 3 minutes. This is generally true: after a brief time getting to know you, people make up their mind about you based on your manor. Looks dissolve into the background.
  • Gain self-esteem and identity. Focus your attention on things outside of the “body-image” context. While you improve on your other skills and interests, you will feel dynamic as you begin to value yourself as being more than your flesh-body alone.
  • Break the pattern of negative self-talk. If you catch yourself thinking or saying negative things about your body, try to recognize this as a habit. Habits and belief patterns can be changed. You can be your own best friend, and talk to yourself as such.

The myth of physical perfection and the unattainable

Your mom would want to reassure you here—looks don’t matter!—of course you know that’s not completely true. Perfect body image is big business and the media is constantly selling the “unattainable” to us.

Don't fall for the unattainable photoshopped ideal of beauty- it's not real (Image:jturn/flickr)

Don’t fall for the unattainable, photoshopped ideal of beauty—it’s not real. (Image: jturn/flickr)

When you actually think about it, there are so many industries making money off the idea of “physical perfection” to sell their product. Truth be told, if you feel beautiful and secure—you most probably would not need to buy their product, and they wouldn’t make money.

What’s most important here is how you feel about yourself, and the character you develop and share with the world—these things do leave a lasting impression.

What do you want to be remembered for? a beautiful and kind friend (Image:falcon1961/flickr)

What do you want to be remembered for? A beautiful and kind friend. (Image: falcon1961/flickr)

Here’s a question for you: When you part ways after having met a new person, what is the lingering impression? Most likely you will be remembering the overall impression the person left you with—which has everything to do with that person’s heart and character, and very little to do with  how big their butt was!

You’re not alone in feeling this way

This life-changing documentary Embrace, by the Body Image Movement, is gaining momentum, inspiring women to love their bodies.

Watching this video brought home how important this topic is to us all—especially the younger women and girls—who need strong role models to teach them how to love their bodies.

Think, feel, and be

Accepting and respecting yourself invites others to accept and respect you. As spiritual as it sounds, there may be nothing more important in your life than self-acceptance. A difficult journey, but a grand one!

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