Do you want to learn how to accept your body and break the cycle of negativity?
If so, you’ve made the best decision of your life.
Because when we don’t accept who we are, we limit the amount of joy and success we can feel in our lives.
Because wherever you go, your body goes too.
And if you don’t love it 100%, that feeling of dissatisfaction will most probably spill over and affect your daily life.
And then every single moment of your life has the potential to be made less happy because of your negative body image.
But what if I were to tell you that you can change all that?
What if you could click your fingers and feel 100% confident in your own unique beauty? Would you do it?
Because we all hold the power to be able to change our beliefs, and this is one of the most liberating changes you can decide to make.
Admittedly it isn’t as simple as just clicking our fingers, but once we’ve been through the transformation it can truly feel like that when we look back at our journey and witness where we’ve come from and to where we’ve arrived.
So if you’ve ever suffered from doubts about your own beauty, I’d like to offer you the opportunity to join me in this article where we look at why we feel the way we do and what we can do to change it.
So without further ado, let’s dive in.
Why do We Believe that We’re Not Beautiful?
According to a survey done in 2020 in the UK, 61% of all adults and 66% of children feel negatively about their body image most, or all of the time.
That’s shocking if you think about it.
Do we want our children to think their bodies aren’t good enough?
Is there any child who has a ‘less-good’ or a ‘better’ body than another?
If you’re like me, the answer is no.
Children are never ugly, they’re beautiful.
Children are born with a kind of innocence, of living their life through feelings, without judgements or inhibition. They throw themselves into things and absorb the experiences which come at them.
Over time, those experiences begin to take form as their ‘truths’.
You have to be a good girl.
You must do your homework.
You mustn’t look stupid in front of your schoolmates.
These simple truths become consistently more complex and self-limiting as we grow up and by the time we’re young adults, we have firm beliefs about what a beautiful body should look like.
But who decides, really, the definition of beauty?
Yet even though we know on a conscious level that society has affected our opinion of what’s beautiful and what isn’t, we stay stuck in the belief that we’re not as beautiful as the model girl who lives down the street.
Get Curious About Your Own Beliefs
Where does your idea of beauty come from?
Is it from social media, from magazines, from the TV, from friends or family around you or from your younger years?
Is it because you’ve aged and you resent the passing of years on your skin?
Whatever the origin of your beliefs, it’s helpful to recognise them and expose them to your conscious mind.
You’ll probably find it’s a great hot-pot of lots of different sources.
For example, I never believed I was beautiful at all. I felt ‘less’ (valid) than those around me. I thought I would be ‘vain’ if I looked in the mirror and saw my own beauty.
In fact, I never recognised my own inner beauty until my late 40s when I began to get curious about my own self-image and rebel against my self-imposed limitations.
And it’s taken me years of work to reach the point where I can truly say I honour myself and love my body.
And I’d like to share with you what predominantly shifted my opinion around the topic of beauty and why I now know that we’re all beautiful exactly as we are.
So in this article, I will focus on what helped me personally.
Developing a Positive Body Image
The primary reason for a negative body image is that we identify it as being US. My body = Me.
If you doubt the truth in those words, ask yourself whether you’d say the same things about somebody else’s body that you say about your own.
If the answer’s no, that you wouldn’t insult another person’s body but you would insult your own, then one of the most powerful steps to take is to work on recognising that your body isn’t you.
Did you design it?
Did you create it?
Do you remember choosing it?
And if the answer’s no, then the most logical consequence is that somebody else did.
Someone designed it, created it and gifted it to you.
And if it’s a gift, how can we be so rude about it?
And each time we disrespect it, we’re disrespecting our gift.
How lucky am I, to have this body to live my life in?
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Challenging Society’s Beauty Standards
The truth is, we’re all blinkered by society.
To a greater or a lesser degree, but we’re all affected.
But if we allow society to ruin our life for us, we’re also allowing it to stop us from showing up and empowering others so that they can also enjoy life just as much as the ‘pretty’ girl next to them.
Our younger-adult years may challenge us more than when we reach our 50s as we may find ourselves believing ‘the truth’ of everything we live through.
But as we grow older, we can recognise that our memories and experiences and the conclusions we draw from them are all stories.
Stories which were created by our subconscious and conscious minds to protect us, often counter-productively.
I’m sure we can all think of things which happened in our lives and subsequent stories we created. How about this one as an example: your best friend lies to you.
What’s the probable story your mind will create after this experience?
That you can’t trust anybody because if the one person you thought had your corner lied to you then anybody can lie (and probably will)?
The most important thing we can ask ourselves when we believe in our story is:
Does this thought serve me?
Because the most important thing in life is to be happy.
And that happiness is a choice.
We don’t allow other people to choose our happiness for us.
We have to choose it ourselves.
Make a conscious decision to be happy right now.
And to love the gift you’ve been given regardless of what you think other people may say or think about you.
I mean it’s only our imagination anyway because we don’t really know what anybody thinks. We just assume that we do.
So what, what they say, right?
Let our friends be people who recognise our inner beauty and let the negative, critical people go their own way.
Who needs friends who judge you on your looks anyway?
People are always going to speak badly about us, whether it be that we’re beautiful or not.
So don’t buy into the illusion that beauty buys happiness.
Because it doesn’t.
You get to choose your own happiness regardless of the circumstances around you.
And I’ll let you into a secret – the beauty of today’s standards is a load of nonsense.
Total utter nonsense.
We have to be slim, medium height, shiny hair, big luscious eyes with long eyelashes, a perfect body and have smooth skin.
Have you ever wondered what percentage of society actually fits into our idea of perfection?
Less than 5%.
Don’t get me wrong. Society will and can continue to idealise a certain type of body and create its glamour and sexiness.
That’s the nature of humankind and if none of us took it as being real then it wouldn’t matter.
The problem arises when we actually buy into this stuff.
Dare to stand up and say, ‘I am ME and THIS is who I am!’
Practising Gratitude to Increase Our Positive Body Image
If we stop and recognise that our body is an absolutely incredible machine, we can begin to shift our focus from what we criticise to what we admire.
We may be able to hike or to swim, dance or sew. Whatever we love doing, it’s because we have this body.
By practising gratitude we can strengthen our understanding of living a happy life and accepting that the standards set by society aren’t real.
We can’t change other people, but we can change how we reflect on our situation.
Choose gratitude and see how much your appreciation of your body can grow.
Looking After Our Body
As we build true gratitude for our body, we also create a desire to take better care of her (or him).
Because when we know that we’re in this body just to experience this lifetime, we recognise that our body is the vehicle with which we can travel through life.
If you were setting off to drive a car from London to Amsterdam, would you make sure you put the right type of fuel in the car?
Of course, you would! Because you’d want the vehicle to keep running, and if you use the wrong fuel, your car may conk-out way before you reach Amsterdam.
In fact, it may only get as far as Dover before the engine stops working.
And so it is with our bodies. We need to feed them the right fuel, at that includes diet, exercise and software (our thought patterns).
Maybe you’ve never thought about longevity before.
But now is the time to choose to free yourself from useless judgements about your looks. Judgements that serve nobody.
And instead, cherish your incredible body and make the choice to live a free and happy life.
Why We Forget to Choose Happiness
One reason we get caught up in our heads is that we hook our happiness onto our circumstances when in truth we need to try to reverse-engineer that.
Our thoughts are what make us happy or unhappy.
Our thoughts about our circumstances. So if we can change those (and we can!), we can invite a much more successful, happy and healthy reality into existence.
What Can We Do Specifically, to Improve Our Self-Perception?
- Challenge Negative Thoughts
- Cultivate Positive Inner Chat
- Practise Gratitude
- Look After Your Body
- Work with a Coach
Challenge Negative Thoughts
When you hear your negative voice popping in to tell you how (e.g. rubbish) you are, hear the thought. Answer it. Say thank you but I choose not to listen to you anymore.
Ask the voice to become a spectator. Don’t try to bury the negative thoughts by pretending they’re not there. Instead, bring them up into your conscious vision and expose them for what they are: stories made up from your software.
Cultivate Positive Inner Chat
As you become more aware of your inner chat and you start to recognise the negative thoughts, start to cultivate a positive response each time. In the beginning, the positive comment may not sound true to you.
The trick is repetition. Our brains begin to take things seriously when they’ve heard or seen them many times over.
So by continually responding to the negative with a positive alternative, you start to re-program the brain. For example, your negative inner-speak says, ‘I’m not dressed right. I feel uncomfortable.’
Answer it, purposefully and consciously. ‘Who cares. It’s just clothes. I’m fine.’
Get into the habit of always, always presenting the opposite side of the coin so that you balance out your inner-speak.
There are lots of ways to actively practise gratitude. Start a journal and write down three different things you’re grateful for at the end of each day.
Practise mindfulness and bring gratitude into your every moment of every day.
Sit in meditation and meditate on what it feels like to feel gratitude.
Write a list of all the people you love and who you are grateful to have in your life.
Be sure to connect with the feeling of gratitude when you do any of these exercises.
Look After Your Body
Taking care of our body is an essential part of learning to accept and love ourselves. Choose high-quality natural foods and avoid processed foods as much as possible.
Most of us know what we could do to improve our level of self-care in this aspect, so if you have a gut feeling, follow it.
Make sure you give your body healthy fuel, plenty of movement and also some soul food.
- Vegan Guide to Eating a Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet (WFPB)
- Learn How to Cook Without Recipes (Vegan WFPB food)
Meditation’s a whole topic of its own, but it’s worth mentioning here because it’s a powerful tool for working on changing any of our deeply inground habits and beliefs.
And meditating can be a great way to tune in to our inner self and support our journey to self-acceptance.
- How to Meditate on a Question & Connect with Your Intuition
- What to Focus on While Meditating? (13 Trusted Techniques)
- Is There a Wrong Way to Meditate?
Work With A Coach
This is where a coach can really help you to unlock your transformation and get from where you are to where you want to be.
A coach can help us move forward much faster than we can on our own.
Contact me for a free chat to see whether we would be a good fit to work together or for more information about how I may be able to help you.