Living in a world of fad diets and ‘beach body ready’, plastic surgery and airbrushed magazines, we are surrounded by reasons to hate our bodies. Not only are we told that thin somehow equates to being happy, but we’re also told we should have pumped lips, sleek hair, a small nose, glowing skin, and enough curves. The whole thing is exhausting.
I am guilty of body negativity as much as any young woman. In fact, as a teenager, I couldn’t see my body as anything but an ugly lump that was carrying me through life. I couldn’t see its worth. Now I know that I was wrong.
Think about all the time and energy that you put into criticising the way you look. For some people, this might be an occasional thought, and for others it might be a constant feeling of discomfort in their own skin.
But either way, these thoughts are so wasteful. Your time is too precious to be spent on negativity.
Imagine if you took all of the energy consumed by picking apart what you dislike about yourself, and channelled it into something amazing. Think of all the things you can achieve when you accept yourself.
The more you think negative thoughts, the easier it becomes for your brain to leap to these conclusions. If you tell yourself every day that you hate your thighs, eventually that thought will become ingrained in the way you think, and it will become very difficult for you to see yourself in a different light.
If you spend one minute in front of the mirror every day and think about what you do like, it will have the opposite effect: eventually, you’ll begin to feel much more positive about the way you look.
It’s easy to compare yourself to others, but nobody else is you. You can do things that other people can’t. You have traits that other people want.
The moment you stop wishing for somebody else’s body – or somebody else’s life – you will become happier with yours.
Stop criticising your flaws and embrace them as a part of your beauty.
Stop thinking about everything you aren’t, and think about what you are.
Think about what you have the potential to do.
And if you’re having an awful day and you’re struggling to find anything you love about yourself, remember this:
Your body is doing so much for you. It is literally keeping you alive. It deserves some respect – you deserve to respect yourself.
Yes, eat healthy and work out if you want to lose weight. If you want to invest in skin creams and expensive hair products, go ahead. It’s ok to want to change. But you have to do this out of self-love and not self-hate. Treat your body right because you love yourself. Reward it. Nurture it. Love it. Don’t punish it.