By Staff of Forum Health Modesto
We live in difficult, confusing times. On the one hand, you’re supposed to love yourself no matter what, but the “what” is clearly working against you, embodied by the media and the social media that can oftentimes completely skew our perception of beauty or what it truly means to love the person in the mirror.
Body image has long transitioned from a purely aesthetic problem, to a problem about who we are on a deeper level. It’s no longer just about how you look physically, but how your physical image is intertwined with your thoughts, language, and beliefs. All of this shapes your perception of you.
Without a doubt, it can be difficult trying to wrap your head around it all, let alone to cultivate a lifelong positive image of your body and who you are. And that’s what we’re going to help you achieve.
Here are some healthy and sustainable ways to build a positive body image.
Stop comparing yourself to others
We are going to start with the most difficult of all challenges, at least for many people. How do you stop comparing yourself to others in our modern day and age, in a world where you’re constantly bombarded across online and offline media of what the ideal body should look like?
If you are not looking at heavily photoshopped images of fashionistas and influencers on social media, then you’re reading about the 10 ways to lose those stubborn few pounds or why your body is just not good enough in some way. Sure, maintaining a healthy weight is important, but starving yourself to reach some unattainable and unhealthy ideals is definitely not the path to self-love.
One of the best ways to stop comparing yourself to others is to cut the obvious triggers out of your life. Limit your time on social media and unfollow the people that set these unattainable and toxic standards. Understand that the other people’s “outsides” do not define who you are on the inside, or your true worth.
Within a healthy body resides a healthy mind
We cannot deny that how we feel physically has a deep, powerful impact on how we feel mentally, or what we think of ourselves. That said, there are always extremes to consider and recognize in our pursuit for a more able body and a healthier self-image.
One extreme would be stubbornly trying to reach a certain number on the scale, forgetting to stop and realize that you have already sculpted a beautiful body. In the same vein, you might not realize that holding on to a few more pounds makes you feel powerful, energized, and alive.
This is why, while it is important to build a healthy, able body, mental health can come from a variety of places. You need to discover what a healthy body means for you, and when you feel empowered to look good and love yourself.
We are all different, and no, skinnier is not always better.
Learn what lifelong body positivity really means
As we mentioned, building a positive body image is a journey, but it’s not one you have to take alone. Nor do you have to wander through the dark until you find the answers you’re looking for, or the tools you need to build a healthy relationship with your body.
There are people just like you who want to feel their best both mentally and physically, and there are communities out there that will help you achieve your goals, and you can do that by joining our upcoming workshop all about body image, positivity, and healthy weight management. We are here to help you unlock your own secret to lifelong happiness, and to fall in love not just with who you are right now, but with the person you can become.
To learn what lifelong body positivity really means, you not only need to learn to talk to the person in the mirror and change your mindset, but you also need a concrete, sustainable plan for the long haul.
Surround yourself with body-positive people
There’s no way around it – the people you hang out with can and will influence your mental state. Not only is it important to surround yourself with likeminded people in your life and to stay away from the energy vampires while cutting out the toxic people, it’s also important that you surround yourself with people who love their bodies.
These are the people who are unencumbered by what the media is pushing, who give no credence to social media influencers and their unrealistic ideals about weight or how a human body should look.
Start surrounding yourself with these people, and their positive mindset will start to rub off on you.
Be mindful and cognizant of the triggers
Lastly, know your triggers. Listen to that little voice in your head and learn to recognize when the negative thoughts start creeping up on you. Be honest with yourself and pay attention to how you react internally upon seeing unrealistic beauty standards being represented on social media, or when you look at yourself in the mirror when you’re in a bad mood.
Focus on the positives, and make sure to list several things you like and admire about yourself every day, and pretty soon you will replace the negative triggers with positive reinforcement. This will be a key stepping stone towards developing a healthy mindset and will allow you to finally start loving yourself and all that you are.
Building a positive body image and a healthy mindset around all of this is a journey, and a long one at that. The good thing is that you don’t have to walk that path alone, and that there are some practical steps you can take to make the journey as enjoyable and rewarding as possible. You can also join our community and participate in our body positivity class to uncover the secrets to lifelong health and happiness with yourself, through all the stages of your life’s journey.