Healing body image issues can be a life long journey that many women never complete. It’s easy to say that we’re supposed to love our bodies, but even the fittest and thinnest women find flaws in how they look. Being decidedly unhappy with your body is hugely isolating and can not only make you feel crummy, but it can make you feel lonely.
With a gazillion definitions of what it means to look good, no wonder our hearts and minds have made a mess of our self-image. Apparently, it’s ideal to be thin but not too skinny, you can be plus-sized and still be beautiful, but if you’re obese, someone could perceive you as an outcast. You could be too fit, not fit enough, chiseled, cut, ripped, or skinny fat. Perhaps you’re an endomorph ectomorph or mesomorph? Pear-shaped, apple-shaped, square-shaped? The world is obsessed with defining our physical bodies, and the more we pay attention to labels, the louder our inner critic is bound to grow until we are overwhelmed by self-sabotage.
When I was 21, I remember working out with a personal trainer who insisted that I was an ectomorph, with an hourglass shape, and was skinny fat. The plan was to slim me down but beef me up at the same time. That traumatic event led to a decade of trying to build Beyonce’s backside in the gym, which eventually caused a hip injury and chronic lower back issues but no worthy twerking mechanism. As a healing coach for women who want to be happier more often, I found that most of my clients battle with body image issues on top of everything else. That’s why I developed a step-by-step system to help women get along with their bodies, even when they don’t love the way they look. Here it is in a nutshell.
1) Start to think of your body as the “Gift of Life“.
Even if you don’t love your body, it’s essential to recognize that you wouldn’t be here without it because let’s face it, you can’t just be a brain and a heart. You have to have a decent mass of flesh and take up space to live your life. Acknowledging your body as a gift will help you be grateful for it. But just because your thankful for it doesn’t mean you have to love it.
One day I woke up and realized I was not made for others. I was made for me.Unknown
2) Work on your relationship with it.
When you’re forced to live with someone you don’t love, you have to find a way to have a relationship with them. Otherwise, you’ll get frustrated, and you’ll start to hate them. Start talking to your body in front of a mirror every day. Simply say kind things to it like, you’re worthy, and you’re beautiful in many ways. Having dialog with your body is an excellent way to develop a lasting friendship, and although it may feel a bit awkward, you’d be surprised by how much a little dialogue can help you build big confidence.
Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful.Sophia Loren
3) Set healthy social boundaries.
Social media is all about community, which is excellent, but it’s also about comparison and criticism. Even in interest-based groups, where we feel at home, it’s hard not to compare yourself with others. Depending on how much time you spend on social, it can become a sphere of influence that can damage the way you view yourself. Don’t forget that most photos posted on social are touched up, filtered, or taken at just the right angle. If you find yourself scrolling and you get discouraged, take a break. Put your phone down and engage in a self-care activity that honors who you really are.
4) Delegate time to reflect on your purpose each day.
When we recognize why we are here in the first place, our bodies’ shape and size matter less. What we contribute to the world matters much more. Our body is the vehicle that allows us to turn ideas into impact. Spend more time thinking about how you’ll use your body to make a positive contribution to the world rather than beating it up for not being perfect.
The one thing that you have that no one else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. Write it all down and build it all up by living it all out. That’s how you’ll change the world one day.Lisa Roulette
5) Find the perfect mantra.
Mantras are beautiful tools that you can use on any healing journey, especially when paired with a hand gesture known as a mudra. State aloud: Sampoorna Hum — संपूर्ण हूँ – (sam-pour-na hum) 5 times a day until you can repeat it with ease. Pair the mantra with the Ahamkara Mudra by bending your index finger toward the palm of your hand. Then take your thumb and place it on your index finger with your middle, ring, and pinky fingers extended outward. Hold the finger positions with both hands for a few minutes while repeating the mantra. This exercise activates the solar plexus, our power center, and it is an excellent way to build lasting self-confidence. Try to implement this as a practice to supplement your time in reflection.
You are beautiful, even if you don’t see it. Regardless of how you think your body appears, it’s the light within you that matters more than your physical structure. Work on cultivating your light and practicing ways to share it with the world. When you shine bright, the world will see you for who you are, and you’ll find that the way you look never even mattered in the first place.