Updated: Oct 19, 2020
You are not your body. You are not your face. You are much more than all of these temporary possessions. Your body image is how you perceive and feel about your physical self. A negative body image can hamper the quality and in extreme cases, the length of your life. When you are completely obsessed with your external appearances, you are merely objectifying your own self. Defining your self-worth basis how you look in the mirror is the most hurtful and harmful thing you can do to yourself. Before you expect people to respect you, learn to respect your own self. Learn how to build self confidence.
How to get over a negative body image and improve your life?
1. It is your intelligence that makes you truly attractive, not your body image
“You have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens”
- Louise Hay
Focus on your mind. Improve your knowledge. Instead of focusing on your body and external attributes, focus on your intelligence, and improve your IQ. Read, explore, and learn new things. There is so much more to life than just looking good in the mirror or what you think looks good in the mirror. Do not criticize your body image, accept it.
Even while you’re at it i.e. still focusing on looking good on the outside, you can learn in the process. Instead of following some hack, you found online to lose weight or ‘look good’, learn to validate, and find out how they help. Don’t just follow some fad blindly. Know your facts. Ask questions. Do your own research. Learn. Have an inquiring mind.
Don’t just flood your mind with information; fill it with the right knowledge. Soon you will realize, most of these ‘fixes’ that just fixate on external appearances are empty, fake, useless, and in certain cases even fatal.
2. A healthy body and mind are more important in the long run
“Your weight does not define your worth”
- Rachel Pate
Instead of fixating on a slim body, focus on having a supple body. A supple body is a healthy body. A slim body may or may not reflect optimum health. Instead of fixating on getting 6 pack abs, focus on reducing or gaining just the appropriate weight. Lose or gain weight only if it is affecting your health, not your ego. A negative body image can dampen your confidence. Be comfortable in your body instead of cribbing about it. Don't measure your self-worth basis your perception of your body image.
Your health is far more important than your beauty. Live a healthy lifestyle, rather than an objectified lifestyle. Anything that you see other than in real life is filtered. So don’t begin to believe what you see on social media or the internet. Don’t let your insecurity fool you into believing fake as fact.
Focus on your health, both physical and mental. Simple things can give you extraordinary results. Eat nutritious food. Stay physically active. Get good sleep. Meditate. Be mindful. The world will give you a thousand reasons to crib and cry, choose to be a bigger person, and focus on what is right for you.
3. Don’t live in a reel world, get real
“Your body is a sacred garment. It’s your first and last garment; it is what you enter life in and what you depart life with, and it should be treated with honor”
- Martha Graham
Learn to differentiate between fact and fiction. What you see in movies, television, or web series is highly edited, filtered, and based on fiction. Unless you are watching a documentary based on facts, everything else is just entertainment. Do not let the happenings in the reel life, affect your real life. Obsessing about your body image can affect the quality of the life you live.
Don’t get obsessed about how your favorite celebrity has a well-maintained body or good skin or hair and all of those superficial qualities. You don’t really know them personally and the kind of human beings they are. You don’t know what is going on in their mind and their lives. Hence we have no right to judge nor should we get unduly impressed.
Don’t live in a fantasized world. Be smart enough to understand the difference. Getting inspired by someone’s story is great. Use it to your advantage. But getting obsessed with someone’s appearance is mere foolishness. Stay away from it.
4. Who you are on the inside is what truly matters
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion”
- Dalai Lama
It doesn’t matter how attractive you think you may look on the outside, what makes you truly attractive is the kind of person you are on the inside. Being kind and compassionate to everyone makes you a truly attractive person. It personifies your personality. It also attracts the right kind of people in your life, not the ones who judge you basis your physical appearance. Surround yourself with the right kind of people who uplift you, not the ones that make you develop a negative body image.
Feel empathy towards other people. It will help you live your life in a much more meaningful manner. It will also widen your perspective towards life and help to change the way in which you view yourself. You will soon realize beauty is only skin deep. Be kind, compassionate, loving, and empathetic. More importantly, when no one is watching. It will enhance the quality of the life you live, as compared to staring in the mirror and criticizing every little thing about yourself.
5. Don’t just look good, feel good
“A perfect body is not required to achieve a divine destiny”
- Russell M. Nelson
The most important factor of all is to feel good, no matter what. It is quite possible to have all the money in the world, success, fame, beauty, etc, but still, be unhappy from inside. This is a clear indication that the material world cannot provide you with soul food. You can be truly happy, peaceful, and content even without materialistic accomplishments. But this is a choice that you have to make. Either choose to run behind temporary happiness all your life (the race is never-ending by the way) or choose to make the most of what you have. A perfect body or flawless skin is a myth. All of these are a matter of perspective. What may seem perfect or flawless to one, need not be so for another.
You can look good in the mirror, but still, feel empty on the inside. And that is not a good sign. If you feel this way quite often, then seek an emotional wellness coaching session. Share your innermost feelings with a professional. Seek answers for yourself. Delve deeper into life, don’t just float on the surface. Do not let your body image affect your self-esteem
Focus on how you perceive yourself at all times. Recognize the things that make you truly happy and the ones that only put a temporary smile on your face. Feeling good is a 24 /7 job. Hence if you feel good about your physical appearance only when circumstances are in your favor, then it is time to pause and reflect. Feel good about yourself no matter what. Respect your body. Don’t torture it because of your negative body image. Be stronger than your insecurities.
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