“Body confidence” – the words on everyone’s lips. But how do we actually achieve this elusive self-love when our whole society is built around messages of comparison, self-doubt and striving to change the way we look?
Body confidence is such a huge trend that it is almost intimidating. You can feel ashamed for not having achieved this self-accepting mindset. But in all honesty, it isn’t as simple as waking up one day and deciding you are comfortable in your skin.
I feel extremely lucky to say that I am in a place where I accept my body for the way it is. I appreciate it for more than how it looks and I don’t place my value in its appearance. But this took time, it took effort and it took self-reflection. I hope that through my experiences I can help you speed up your journey to finding your body confidence too.
1. Focus on body neutrality and acceptance rather than all-out love.
There is a pressure to love every aspect of your body from our stretch marks to our cellulite – and everything in between. This can seem unrealistic and daunting. Instead, I think it is more productive to focus on just accepting your body for what it is – all parts of it. Don’t tell yourself you have to love, adore and celebrate every element of the skin you’re in. Just come to terms with it, accept it and move on.
2. Understand your worth.
We often place so much of our value in our bodies and our appearance, when in reality this isn’t what shapes who we are. If you asked your friends to describe you in three words they wouldn’t mention the way you look. They would focus on your personality and energy. This is what people value you for, not your appearance. Your body doesn’t define you, who you are as a person does.
3. Realise what your body is for.
Your bodies purpose isn’t to look a certain way, your body’s purpose is to carry you through life. Realise what it does for you every day. It takes you from A to B, it extracts nutrients from food, it heals wounds. It literally fights infection, injuries and illnesses to keep you alive. Harbour gratitude and respect for your body, it does so much for you.
4. Change what you’re exposed to.
You control what you see on social media and you can ensure that this content supports your mission to accept your body. Instead of following accounts which lead to feelings or comparison or self-doubt, try to diversify your feed. By exposing yourself to a wider range of body shapes and sizes, it helps to relieve the pressure to fit a certain “ideal”. You can also follow “body positivity” accounts which may be helpful, but personally I find these can draw even more attention to our bodies. Instead I like to follow accounts of people who are just comfortable in their skin and don’t even mention their shape or size.
I always feel more body confident when I know I am taking care of myself. Eating nourishing food, moving my body, getting enough sleep and managing my stress levels are all things which make me feel more comfortable in my skin. I may not look any different when I practice these healthy habits, but deep down inside they tell my body that I respect it and I care for it, and that harbours a sense of self-appreciation.
I was in two minds about writing this blog post. I want to help people achieve body confidence, but I also don’t want to feed into the pressure to find “self-love” and accentuate any guilt you may feel for not yet being in this mindset.
We place too much pressure on our bodies. Pressure to hate them, pressure to change them, pressure to love them. We need to step away from this mentality of our value depending on them. Ultimately they are our vehicles through life and that is how we should view them, not something which defines our worth.
Ultimately, I think we waste valuable time thinking about how we look. I personally find that as someone who accepts their body, I spend so little time thinking about my appearance. I hardly spend time in front of the mirror and I don’t obsess over my face or body. This is so freeing and it gives me so much more time to do things which really matter to me like working on exciting projects or spending time with people I love.
I hope you can find this freedom too.