Mondays can be rough for many of us, and this doesn’t create the ideal environment for building a better body image. To help you turn that around, every Monday features a tip, activity, inspiring quote or some other tidbit to help boost your body image – and kick-start the week on a positive note.

Today, I’m pleased to present a guest post by Amy Harman, a a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who writes the blog Becoming a Better Woman from the Inside Out. She urges us to rethink our view of looking good and being good and more!

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!

A lot of times we get caught up worrying about whether we look like we “should” (which is of course defined by our culture in narrow, unrealistic terms).

Am I too fat?  Do I have the right legs for this skirt?  Does my hair flatter my face?  What color should my nail polish be?  Is someone going to notice my zits?  Do I have to wear a swimsuit???

Sometimes it helps to get back to basics.  We have to remember that looking “good” does not make you a good person.

Being a good person starts from the inside.  And when we’re put together on the inside, it doesn’t matter so much what we look like on the outside.

When we’re put together on the inside, we will naturally appear more attractive to others—especially those people that we want relationships with like our family and friends.

Here’s a little tip to help you focus on your inner beauty:

  • Think of 5 people you admire.

For example, the people I would put on my list are my grandma Andrus, my grandpa Benny, my friend Jyll, my boss Dr. Berrett, and a lady in my church.

{Amy’s grandma}

  • Next, think of all the qualities you admire about these people—the qualities that make these people beautiful to you.

My list would go on and on, but here’s a start: strong, engaged in many worthwhile activities, happy and positive, loves everyone, generous, down-to-earth, doesn’t get bogged down by trials, out-going, good leader, honest, caring, kind, faithful, spiritual, has a good marriage, passionate, dependable, etc.

  • Now notice the things you truly admire.

Did you write down any physical qualities?  Usually most people write down qualities that are associated with inner beauty, not outer beauty.  Do the people on your list have perfect bodies?  You will most likely find that the most influential people in your life rarely have the type of body you would require of yourself.  And you still think they are wonderful!

I notice that most of the people on my list are older.  And they don’t care about trying to look young! Our society often equates youth with beauty.  I find that growing old often makes someone more beautiful because they have had years to develop those wonderful qualities.

When it comes right down to it, most people find that it’s what’s inside that counts.  Try to think about these people you admire more often.  Perhaps pull out the list of inner beauty qualities that you admire when you’re struggling with body image.

Remind yourself that there’s more to a good person than simply looking “good.” And most importantly, find those qualities of inner beauty in yourself!  They’re there, I promise!

Amy Harman is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a wife and mother.  She has worked as a therapist for several years, most recently as a therapist for women and girls with eating disorders.  Because of her work with women and the examples of strong women around her, she has developed a desire help women realize their worth.  While taking a break from working full-time, she has created a blog to empower women by strengthening relationships and improving mental and emotional well-being.  Visit her blog at becomingabetterwoman.com.

Who do you admire? Why do you admire these people? What does inner beauty mean to you?

P.S., Don’t forget that Julie is giving away one copy of Be Yourself Be Beautiful, an e-book filled with original inspirational quotes and beautiful illustrations. I’ll announce the winner Wednesday! All you have to do is answer this question on that post: What’s one quote you live by or what inspires you?