It’s an unfortunate reality that a large percentage of women will, at some point, have negative thoughts about their bodies. If you struggle with body image issues, you’re not alone. Here are a few suggestions that will help you subdue your inner critic.
Get to the root. Body image challenges are often symptoms of deeper fears or insecurities. Ask yourself what those might be and take steps to address them. Consider working with a professional who can provide an objective perspective.
You are enough. Remind yourself that you are valuable the way you are right now. You don’t need to lose weight—or make any other changes—to be worthy of respect. Shedding a few pounds may make you feel better about yourself, but what builds lasting happiness is self-acceptance.
Get passionate. Whether it’s a hobby, a sport or an academic subject, find something you love and set aside time for it. Engaging in activities that are meaningful to you will give you more satisfaction than having the “perfect” body ever could.
Visualize your dream life. Focus on what you want, not what you look like. What are your goals? How do you want to spend your days? Know that you’ll be more likely to achieve those things if you are more nurturing of yourself.
Disconnect. We all know that images in the media have been Photoshopped—but that doesn’t stop us from comparing ourselves to them. Be more aware of the steady stream of disempowering messages by turning off the computer and TV when they come on.
Change the conversation. The next time a friend says, “These jeans make me look huge,” don’t reply by saying, “This top makes my arms look fat.” Refrain from making negative remarks about your body and suggest that your friend do the same.
Keep good company. Whether it’s a group of friends or a romantic relationship, don’t hang around people who make you feel badly about yourself. You don’t need their approval. Instead, spend time with those who support you and encourage you to grow.