The majority of women at one point in time or other suffer from low self-confidence and low self-image. I’ve always been one of those. But, during college, I worked hard to love myself and my body. Then, I got pregnant. I won’t lie, I looked awesome and amazing pregnant. However, now that I’m not pregnant anymore, I miss my old body. I miss my old weight, my old shape, I miss not having the pudge I do now, I miss having a clear face, and I miss having my full head of hair rather than this continuous hair falling out.
However, always listing what you don’t like about your body and yourself will just make the way you feel worse. Just as we should focus on gratitude to improve our relationship with Christ, we should focus on the positives of our body to love ourselves.
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Have a Gratitude List
Not only can gratitude lists apply to your religious or every day life, it can also help you love your body more. List out what you do love about your body. For me, even though I have terrible eyesight and can’t really wear contacts, I love the color of my eyes. Even though my hair is falling out, I adore how red it is in the sunlight. Even though I have super pale skin, my ankles rock! In fact, skip the “even thoughs”! Just list what you love: I love the color of my eyes, the color of my hair, my ankles, my smile, my freckles, my curves.
Be An Example
I didn’t know much about the specifics of grammar when I started teaching it to my 7th grade students. But, I learned as I went, and I began to love diagramming and labeling sentences. I was enthusiastic and an expert for my students…but it definitely didn’t start out that way. Do the same with your body. You don’t want your kids, especially your daughters to be body-shaming themselves. So, set the example now. Fake it until you make it. Don’t obsess over scale-goals, calorie-counts, top-fashion clothes, expensive brands, etc. Be yourself, be happy, be confident, and that will bleed over into your children’s mentalities. Again, fake it until you make it. If it’s hard to concentrate on yourself, concentrate on your children’s body. Tell them directly what you love about them. They will then take that example and eventually begin to do the same for you and others.
Set Small Steps and Goals
We all would love to hit the ground running and immediately see success in our body. But, that’s not going to happen. Set small goals and try to focus on your overall life. Take a walk to the park, take the stairs, have a healthy lifestyle, read a book instead of watching trash-TV, smile more, take 10 extra minutes to do your hair and put basic makeup on, wear a clean shirt, enjoy hobbies, grow talents. By focusing on your life as a whole, you will come to have more self-confidence and be prouder of your self-image.
Screen Your Messages
In our day it’s not uncommon to let your ringing phone go to voicemail if you don’t know the number. We want to avoid any social situations that we’re not comfortable being in. It’s harder to screen the messages we’re spent daily. Whether it’s your current workout buddy or the fitness Instagram account you follow, make sure the way the messages you get from those things impact you is positive. It’s nobody’s fault if it’s not. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you or the other person, but if you find yourself feeling down or bad about yourself–remove the cause. Once you’ve made some progress, see if you can add some of those things back in without receiving those negative messages. I think this is a very important process for all things–not just body image–and something we need to have an awareness of at all times.
Move Your Body
Do things that make you FEEL good. That includes exercise, but find exercise you like or enjoy. Since becoming a stay at home mom, I have had the awesome opportunity to make time daily for at least 30 minutes of time to sweat (as I like to call it) and time for movement throughout the day as I play with my daughter, dance with her, vacuum the floor, and go on walks. The mental clarity and overall better view of life has been a direct result of daily exercise. It’s so good for you–but it’s even better if you enjoy it. This will allow you to listen to your body and feel good in your body-which will in turn help you to appreciate and value your body. Actively valuing your body will naturally lead to a healthier lifestyle. Sometimes when we try to force things, it makes us feel badly about our bodies or it almost seems like punishment. No matter where you are in your health journey, please don’t punish yourself. Love yourself and you’ll see how quickly your body will start to love you back.
Find a Support System
This will look different for every person. Not only do you need to remove negative influences, but you want to incorporate positive ones. Whether that’s an online community, family members, friends, or even divine influence–make sure you let everyone know what your goal is and that they can help you. I have personally let my husband know what kind of support I need from him and what my goals are ultimately. I have to be extremely clear with him. I have also been working really hard on working through some of my bigger issues with my Heavenly Father. Some of the LDS conference talks this past weekend are going to be studied in depth as I do so-including this one.
I am talking about my conscious decision not to lose the weight right now on the blog today while I work on some things to improve my body image. I plan to tackle all of the things I shared her today in-depth and more in the future. I’d love it if you wanted to join the conversation!
Sharlee from My New Lines
Sharlee is a wife, mom, and the writer behind My New Lines. A blog about the things most important to her in her life as a woman. I don’t take many selfies or wear skinny jeans, but I exhaust myself trying to take a pictures of my daughter and revel in a good pair of PJ’s at night! Navigating life as a woman is always better with friends, I’d love to meet more!
How do you love your body?