This post will change your life… if you let it.
You can write this post off as fluff, saying “oh, that’s nice”, and walk away. Or, you can take the truths here to heart and allow it to literally change your life.
I know I don’t need to tell you that women often struggle to see their bodies in a positive light. According to Dove’s ‘The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited’ study, “Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful” – FOUR PERCENT! And “80% of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful, but do not see their own beauty.” Isn’t it a shame that we can easily recognize beauty in other women but have trouble recognizing it in OURSELVES?
And the problem with that is that how we view our bodies can hugely affect how we view ourselves as individuals. So regardless of how your body looks, however fat or thin, toned or jiggly, tall or short, tan or fair, I challenge you to start changing how you view yourself and your body. I’m no stranger to the fact that this is easier said than done, so let me give you a few ideas to help you along…
Make a list
Even if there are aspects about your body that you’re not a fan of, I know there are aspects that you do like. So grab a piece of paper and a pen or start a new note in your phone and write those down. Maybe you love your gorgeous eyes, or your strong arms, or perhaps you have amazing eyebrows. Maybe you love your healthy, shiny hair. Maybe you love the fact that you’re tall. Write down as many things as you can think of and review that list every single day to begin to change how you view your body.
Make another list
Next, start another note and title it “What I Appreciate About My Body”. Here’s where I’d like you to write down all the amazing things your body can do. In case you hadn’t noticed, our bodies are incredible! The fact that our bodies can heal themselves when we have a cut or scrape or broken bone, the fact that we’re constantly generating new cells to replace the old, or the fact that as women we can literally grow another person inside of us! I experienced the benefit of making this sort of list while on vacation last month. I was experiencing a lot of pain in my foot and knees and was feeling pretty frustrated and kind of discouraged. I decided to write a list of all the things my body can do – and it turned out to be a LONG list. Being able to walk, stand, eat, hug, cook, smile, talk, laugh, and tons more, I finished that exercise being in awe of how amazing my body is and feeling incredibly thankful for all my body can do. Review your list every day — this simple action will cultivate an attitude of thankfulness and help you see just how incredible your body truly is.
Check your motives
I believe that it’s possible to love and appreciate your body and still want to change it. Your motives are key, though. Do you exercise in order to ‘burn off’ the calories from that frappuccino? Do you try to eat healthy because you’re scared of gaining weight? I encourage you to consider the things you do to take care of your body and ask yourself why those things are important to you. And then shift your motivation from being fear-based to simply wanting to take care of your body so you feel good and so it’s able to take care of you. Your mind and thought life will thank you.
Look beyond the exterior
Our North American society certainly places a LOT of emphasis on appearances, but our bodies are really just our ‘shell’. Your body is not who you are; it’s simply where you live. Therefore, I think there’s a lot to be said for looking inward rather than fixating on the external. Some of you know that I’m a Christian, so I look to God for my sense of self-worth. I know that regardless of how I look and regardless of what people think of me, God thinks I’m incredible simply because He made me and I’m his child, loved more than I can even imagine – and the same goes for you, regardless of your beliefs 🙂
The media certainly doesn’t help when it comes to changing how we see ourselves, but don’t let that stop you. You see, as long as you blame the media for your poor body image you’ll continue to feel powerless to change. Yes, it sucks that the media perpetuates narrow (and sometimes even unrealistic) views of ‘beauty’, but that’s not the be all and end all. The good news is you have complete control over your thought life. So on a daily basis, think about your thinking and begin to replace those self-defeating thoughts with positive ones. You might feel silly or even insincere at first, but there’s something so powerful about taking control of our thoughts and filling our minds with what we want.
There are few things worse than unrealized potential. And often one’s potential goes unrealized because of how she views herself. I challenge you to take these words to heart and begin the process of changing your thought life and how you view yourself and your body. I PROMISE you won’t be disappointed 🙂