Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Love Thyself

What do you see when you look in the mirror? I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that most of us see what we don't like about ourselves. When I look in a mirror, (and I avoid it as much as I can), I see chubby cheeks, belly flab, and hips. Lots 'o hips. Most women can quickly rattle off a list of their physical flaws, but become tongue-tied and speechless when asked to list what it is they like about their bodies.

How you feel in your body and about your body makes up your body image.

Women with a positive body image have a true, clear perception of what their bodies look like. They can appreciate their body's natural shape, and feel comfortable and confident in their own skin. These women understand that what makes us all fabulous and loveable really has nothing to do with what we look like.

Women with a negative body image have a distorted perception of the shape of their bodies. They (we) are convinced that only other people are attractive and that their size or shape is a sign of some failure. They feel ashamed and uncomfortable in their own skin.

What factors influence our body image? Of course, these feelings can come from within each of us. But often they are fed by others. If someone says something negative about you, you believe it, don't you?

And don't even get me started on the media. Okay, I'm gonna go there anyway. Did you know that women's magazines have 10.5 times more weight loss articles than men's magazines? And that 1 out of 3.8 commercials sends some sort of "attractiveness" message? This "thin is in" mentality is making us all think that we have to conform to some "ideal" body type to be beautiful.

Why is having a positive body image so important? Well, first, how can we teach our children to have healthy attitudes about their bodies if we don't set a good example? (more on body image and children next week) How can we foster an environment of love and acceptance in our homes if we don't love and accept ourselves?

How can you improve your body image? I've done some research on this subject (believe me, I didn't already KNOW this stuff), and here's a list of 10 actions or attitude changes that we all can make:

  1. Try experiencing your body as a whole, instead of a bunch of parts that you want to change.

  2. Make a list of 5-10 of your great qualities, both physical and mental/social/spiritual, and keep it with you to read whenever you have negative thoughts.

  3. Exercise for the joy of feeling your body move and get stronger.

  4. Don't wear clothes that are uncomfortable or that you don't like, just to cover up something or to divert attention from your shape.

  5. Notice how much time you spend worrying about your appearance instead of being aware of what's going on around you, or with your family.

  6. My favorite--Kill your inner supermodel. Who says that stretch marks, C-section scars and curves aren't beautiful?

  7. Experiment with a weight that feels comfortable. Try to find your "set point," a number that your weight seems to settle at.

  8. Accept that your weight will vary throughout your life. Hormones, anyone?

  9. Accept compliments graciously, and BELIEVE them.

  10. Repeat this with me: "I will treat my body with respect and kindness. I will feed it, keep it active, and listen to its needs. I will remember that my body is the vehicle that will carry me to my dreams!" (taken from Ten "Will-Powers" for Improving Body Image, NEDA)

Let's go girls!

Read on for more great posts from my fellow authors here at Project {Create a Home}.


You can also find me at Reinvented.


  1. i'm totally off to kill my inner super model! great advice...did you see my post yesterday? i think so...and sadly, almost every comment said they struggle with their body perceptions too! crazy!

  2. WoW! That is all I can say...I loved this post...because like many of us...I have struggled with this...I think we all need to really take this in and learn to finally love ourselves...:)

  3. I'm killing my inner super model too! I hate that girl! :)

  4. the kill the inner super model idea, too! She has such thin thighs, I don't know whether to pity her or wanna kill her!! Thanks for the laugh, but thanks for the reality check, too!!



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