I often hear clients, friends and family talking about all they don’t like about their bodies. Our culture is filled with images and messages that reinforce the idea that we need to change the way we look. It is painful to hear people make harsh, negative statements about their body that they would never make to a loved one. I will often ask clients, “If it doesn’t seem okay to say to a friend, then why is it okay to say to yourself?” I think to change these voices in our head, we need to start to challenge our inner dialogue by focusing on all that our body does for us. This inner change is a process that can take years of concision attention to our thoughts and verbalizations. A great place to start making this change is with this list of ideas to improve body image from the National Eating Disorder Association that I will often share with my clients.
Appreciate all that your body can do. Every day your body carries you closer to your dreams.
Celebrate all of the amazing things your body does for you—running, dancing, breathing,
laughing, dreaming, etc.
Keep a top-ten list of things you like about yourself—things that aren’t related to how much
you weigh or what you look like. Read your list often. Add to it as you become aware of more
things to like about yourself.
Remind yourself that “true beauty” is not simply skin deep. When you feel good about yourself
and who you are, you carry yourself with a sense of confidence, self-acceptance, and openness
that makes you beautiful regardless of whether you physically look like a supermodel. Beauty
is a state of mind, not a state of your body.
Look at yourself as a whole person. When you see yourself in a mirror or in your mind, choose
not to focus on specific body parts. See yourself as you want others to see you–as a whole
Surround yourself with positive people. It is easier to feel good about yourself and your body
when you are around others who are supportive and who recognize the importance of liking
yourself just as you naturally are.
Photo from flickr.