*This article was written with women in mind, but can apply to anyone that has negative self talk.
Body image is how you see yourself when you look in the mirror. It can include memories you have about your body, or assumptions you make about your body. Body esteem is one part of your body image. Specifically, it’s how you feel about the your own image. This might also include how you feel in your body. Usually it’s a positive or negative image. It’s how you feel about your height, your shape and your weight, along with attributes, like your hair, your eyes etc.
For many us, gaining weight combined with having major changes in our bodies, even during something as important as pregnancy can create feelings of low body esteem.
Here are a few ways to feel good about your body now:
1. Be your own friend!
We all have a positive way and a negative way to think about things. You have a choice in what you think and can choose what to focus on when it comes to your body. Good body esteem means knowing how your body looks today, accepting it, not hating it, and taking action steps to promote a healthy relationship with your body. Thinking constantly about another surgery or what you don’t have, or how you never measure up to someone else is not good body esteem. Don’t denigrate yourself.
Positive image technique: Try starting your day with positive affirmations like: “I am happy with who I am”, or “Today, I see nothing but beauty when I look in the mirror!”
Challenge: Do this for 14 days and see if you notice a difference.
2. Radiate confidence from the inside out.
Studies show confident women feel good about their insides as well as their outsides. If you’re carrying a baby, that’s a big deal. Celebrate that beautiful body you have as a special vessel designed to nurture and support that beautiful gift you are carrying! Affirmations like: “My belly is beautiful and has a beautiful baby inside of it”. Or, “I sure look beautiful pregnant!” can help ease poor self esteem.
3. Accept the changes.
We all know the changes are going to happen. With time, with age etc. . . What the media doesn’t talk so much about is the fact that our bodies are changing all the time. Life = changes. It’s simply how the human body is wired. Get in front of this by creating a positive script in your head to playback when the self-criticism starts. Self talk like “My body is great the way it is”. Or, “my body is changing and I accept the changes” can go a long way.
4. Find one or two attributes and focus on them.
Attributes are qualities you have that you like. Focus on the ones you love. Enhance them, enjoy them and keep the positive talk going in your head. If it’s your nails, keep getting your nails done and fall in love with them again. If it’s your hair, keep trying new things or keep that cut you know you love and feel good about.
Try this: When you feel the critical voice start to kick in, take a deep breath, say to yourself “I don’t want that”, count slowly to 5 while you let your breath out. Repeat this several times, as often as you need to to break the self criticism cycle.
Be a friend to yourself and your body. Model healthy self -esteem and body image for yourself and the women around you, and make life a little easier!