For every age, size and skin colour, that can be a loaded question.
It makes sense considering we’re immersed in messages about how we look all day, every day.
The constant bombardment can leave us feeling less than positive when our bodies don’t match society’s made-up standard of beauty.
As a pro-health community, we can choose to distrust, ignore and disregard the messages we hear. We’re often happier and more confident because of it.
In the same way, choosing to disregard negative messages about our bodies can give us that same happiness and confidence.
It also leaves us more freedom to make decisions based on pleasure, rather than fear—and that’s good for us in many ways.
If you’re ready to accept and appreciate your body even more, these tips may help.
1. Stay present.
Our bodies are constantly changing throughout our lives. Most of those changes are due to natural, normal shifts in muscle tone, metabolism and hormones—among other things.
Try to stay present and appreciate what your body looks like and is capable of right now. Rather than looking back at the way your body used to be, a year ago, two years ago or 20 years ago.
No matter how your body may have changed, it is, at the very least, keeping you alive. That’s not a gift everyone gets, so it’s not a gift to take lightly.
Your body is likely capable of many things you may take for granted: walking, sleeping, reading, writing, hearing music, seeing beauty in nature, solving problems, smelling fresh coffee in the morning or tasting amazing food and converting it into energy.
2. Be realistic.
It’s a rare individual who can say they love absolutely everything about their body, and that’s okay.
Appreciating your body isn’t about trying to force or fake anything.
In fact, researchers have found that repeating statements you don’t believe—like an affirmation that you love your love handles, when you actually don’t—can have a negative affect on your body image and self-esteem.
Instead of faking it, start wherever you are and work towards “body neutrality.” That means accepting your body without any negative feelings like guilt, shame or fear.
Perhaps you can’t say “I love my love handles,” or “I love my fine lines.”
But if you can look at whatever your least favourite feature happens to be without feeling the need to change it, you’ll be well on your way to appreciating every part of yourself.
3. Find value and self-worth in other places.
Do you believe that who you are depends on what you look like?
Yet, it’s so easy to start criticizing yourself and your worth when your body doesn’t fit society’s made-up ideal.
When those thoughts show up, question them. Where does your value really come from?
You may look at your family and friends and think about all the love you bring to so many people. Or consider what you’ve accomplished in your career or who you’ve helped in your life. Think about what’s still ahead for you, and how your presence makes the world a better place.
Your value is about so much more than what you look like.
Appreciate all of yourself inside and out!
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