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Body Image: How to Change the Way You See Yourself

Body Image: How to Change the Way You See Yourself

Your body image echoes how comfortable you are in your skin. Chances are that you will often find fault with what you see when you look at yourself in the mirror - often due to the pressure from society to appear perfect. Chances are also that you underestimate your own genuine beauty and positive attributes.

Airbrushed images of models and celebrities abound, leaving the impression that standard physical qualities are unacceptable. Wrinkles, curves, and laughter lines are often considered “things that need fixing”, when in fact, they should be embraced and appreciated as part of a healthy, strong and inhabited body that lives, enjoys life and loves.

Change your view

Look at yourself in a full-length mirror. Imagine it's the first time you've set eyes on your reflection. Ask yourself how someone gentle, loving, honest, and positive would describe the image of you. Perhaps, through kinder eyes, your body appears earthy, organic, stealthy, and strong. There again, you may seem willowy, graceful, and ethereal. Other words someone positive may use include curvaceous, shapely, attractive, and interesting.

When you look at your reflection, forget preconceived ideas about how you think you ought to appear. If you hadn't recognised societies take on supposedly ideal physical qualities and had only seen regular, everyday people, you wouldn't judge your body and face harshly. You might appreciate fine lines, thinking of them as evidence you've lived and experienced a multitude of emotions. Similarly, your weight and figure may be unimportant to you.

Write a list of positive words to describe yourself as though you are a poet. Use rich, imaginative language, just as a poet might use to describe a landscape. Are you rugged and powerful, sloping and vital, or perhaps characterful and undulating? Using words you don't routinely consider will help you see yourself differently.

Reassess your body image

While observing your reflection, use the new descriptive words you've discovered about your appearance. See your body in a positive, artistic, and appreciative way. Also, think about how grateful you are for your body and all that it does for you. Let your thankfulness grow as you consider how important your body is when it comes to experiencing life. Contemplate how it provides sensations, allowing you to experience taste, smell, sound, touch, and vision.

Choose to take a permanent break from thinking about your physical qualities in a judgmental fashion. Realise society changes its parameters regarding physical perfection regularly, and how absurd it is to use them as your yardstick. Vow to give your body the health, nutrition and genuine respect it deserves, ignoring stereotypical and critical ways of estimating your value. When you see yourself differently, you are free to bathe in appreciation instead of negativity.

Think of yourself as a whole entity - including your abilities and personality. Ask someone whom you love to write down how they would describe you and read it often for an added perspective - a reminder of how special and valued you are.