Body Image Booster: Finding Self-Acceptance
Every Monday features a tip, activity, inspiring quote or some other tidbit that helps boost your body image, whether directly or indirectly — and hopefully kick-starts the week on a positive note!
Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at mtartakovsky at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to feature it. I’d love to hear from you!
“Seeing ourselves in a way that is not just linked to our physical appearance or the roles we play in our lives is essential,” writes Rosie Molinary in her book Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self Acceptance.
(I love Rosie, and just think she’s amazing. You can read her blog here.)
I couldn’t agree more. When our self-worth is wrapped around our weight, size, shape and physicality, we suffer. Paying too much attention to our outside leaves us obsessed with losing weight or looking a certain way. It leaves us miserable, and we become chained to numbers. And let our value waver depending on a scale or our looks that day.
Worse, we forget about ourselves. We lose our sense of self or we lose our way.
It took me a long time to figure out, really figure out, that I was more than my belly, hips and thighs.
Yes, it’s obvious. But it’s harder to grasp when you think that thinness will bring you the world.
And it might seem counterintuitive that in order to improve your body image, you need to think beyond your body. But your body image isn’t just accepting your physical appearance right now. It’s more than that. So much more.
As Rosie writes in Beautiful You:
A poor body image isn’t usually at the root of a woman’s negative feelings about herself. A poor self-concept and lack of confidence are often at the core of a negative body image. Having a negative self-image or a negative body image is like always having a gate-crashing critic watching the events of your life, as they unfold.
I’ve also talked about what body image means in this past post:
I used to think that a healthy body image was all about being OK with how you look, or better yet, being happy with how you look.
And I wasn’t. So I thought that I had to somehow become happier with my hips, thighs, belly and essentially all of me. My initial idea for a path to a positive body image was losing weight.
But then after years of yo-yo dieting, gaining and losing weight and realizing that at my thinnest, I was actually the most obsessive about food and my weight (and much more frightened than happy), I realized that this was an ineffective solution, to say the least.
The more I wrote for Weightless, and thanks to many wise bloggers and readers, I started realizing another important fact: Having a healthy body image means a multitude of things. Each is a brick on a skyscraper. Each takes time and care to cultivate. Each is a process.
I listed some of the things that signify a positive body image in the same post:
- Accepting yourself
- Taking good care of yourself
- Nourishing yourself (with food, fun physical activities)
- Giving up the diet mentality
- Being kind to yourself
- Thinking that you’re worthy of healthy and meaningful relationships
- Knowing that your presence matters
- And ultimately, loving yourself as you are
So helping to improve your self-acceptance can help to improve your body image, a concept that Rosie discusses in her book. In it, she provides readers with daily activities and advice on, as she puts it, realizing “your own brilliance every day.” (Love that.)
One of her tips involves describing yourself in 25 words or less, “without using any physical descriptors or naming any of your roles.” This is a helpful way to see ourselves in our entirety. Plus, “When you read what you’ve written, you might discover a simple truth about yourself – a mission, a vision, or a crucible,” Rosie writes.
Rosie shares two of her own examples:
I am a woman who is proud of her history, aspires to use her creativity positively, and looks forward to her future.
I am a woman who is suddenly aware that I can control my destiny by creating the day that I most wish to have.
So today or sometime this week, write out your sentence or several sentences. See where these sentences lead you. And please feel free to share it below!
Tartakovsky, M. (2011). Body Image Booster: Finding Self-Acceptance. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 4, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/weightless/2011/10/body-image-booster-finding-self-acceptance/