How to Improve Your Body Image and Self Esteem

How do you feel about the shape you are in? Do you “hate” your body? Our bodies do a lot for us, carrying us through each day. Unfortunately, negative self image and old tapes can sabotage our attempts to like ourselves. These same forces can even sabotage you when you are attempting to change your body. Whether you want to change your body or just come to terms with where you are, it’s time to start accepting and appreciating your body. The following are a few truths that will help you improve your self image.

The first truth is that practically no one is completely satisfied with their body or their looks. Would it surprise you to know that in a recent interview Nicole Kidman spent a good amount of time speaking about how she had always wished she looked differently?.. Many people would say that she is a beautiful woman with a beautiful shape. It seems Nicole spends a good amount of time wishing that she had the curves of Marilyn Monroe. The point is that the vast majority of people wish they could change some, or many things about themselves. Nor does a person’s appearance really equate to their level of self acceptance. A person you think looks fine may really, really dislike their body, their appearance, themselves. Realize that focusing on our physical flaws can be a way to distract us from looking at other life issues. When it is too scary to change other things in our lives, we may revert to harping on something we feel we “should” be able to control, our bodies. If you are waiting till “when” ( when you are thin enough, pretty enough, fit enough, anything enough) to really live your life recognize that for what that is: a diversion to keep you safe from going after what you want out of life. If diet and exercise are your life’s main focus, you are missing out.

The second truth is that almost every single person is flawed in some way physically. Did you know ninety percent of adult females have cellulite? Ninety percent.! What we see in magazines does not represent what women generally look like. The majority of the photos are airbrushed. Many of the models are underweight and many suffer from eating disorders. The average American woman is five foot three and weighs over one hundred and thirty five pounds. That’s not what we are shown in the media. There are these standards of what is “supposed to be attractive”. In reality, that person is a statistical anomaly, something that usually does not occur. No matter what your weight or size you can help yourself tremendously by deciding not to compare yourself to anyone but you..How are doing compared to how you have done at other times.? That is a standard that is worth considering. Many women would do well to stop looking at magazines that show bony women as some standard of beauty. Many more would do well to give up the idea of “better” in favor of living the best life they can “as is”. Perfect does not exist. .Even the pictures of perfect we see are fakes.

A third truth is the scale .(or the mirror, or tape measure ) does not have to have much impact on your life. How many times have you seen someone who is smiling brightly, engaged, the life of the party..and an imperfect looking person?. I see this type of thing often. Who would you rather be, the self confident person enjoying life or the one timidly clinging to the side because of their imperfections? The truth is, you can be either and the choice is yours. Usually the limitations on our lives are ones we put there ourselves. Unless your weight interferes with your movement, the only thing that is holding you back is you. Again look out for the “I’ll do it when syndrome”. Chances are if your appearance is your “get out of trying card”, the situation will not change because staying mired in how you look is a source of protection. If you will make a change in what you do, you will make a change in how you feel. It will follow naturally. Decide to live today in the body you have today. Focus on doing more and thinking less about “what needs improvement”.

The last thing I am going to suggest to help improve your body image and sense of self worth is to change what you say about your self and your body. Start blessing and thanking your body for all it does and has done. Your body has gotten you this far, despite sometimes being treated shabbily. Any time you think a thought that is a criticism of your body, get in the habit of following it with one thanks and one compliment for your body. Start viewing and speaking about your body in better terms, even if only in your internal dialogues. It is far from just a size or a shape. It’s a complex machine. Vow to treat your body better with things like adequate nutrition, water, sleep and kind words. Hating your body never helps you like yourself. Treating your body well and appreciating all it’s abilities and finer points will help you feel better no matter where you are now. Give your body a break….it’s earned it.

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