Feeling comfortable in your own skin isn’t always easy. ‘Far too many women feel uncomfortable in their own bodies,’ says Rosie Molinary, author of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance (Seal Press). As children, many of us felt comfortable in our skin and our bodies were treasured, she explains. However, somewhere on the path to adulthood, something changed, and body confidence took a big dip. Too often, we believe we will be content when our bodies change, but in actual fact, says Molinary, we’ll only be truly happy when our minds change.
Here, let Molinary share her tips and help you on your way to accepting yourself for who you are.
Start keeping a journal. We’re often too busy to listen to what is going on inside of us. To really know yourself, you have to have silence and an entry-way. Journaling provides that.
Realise that you are not your body. Our bodies are not who we are. We are a compilation of our heart, our soul and our mind. Our bodies are simply vehicles that take us through life, allowing us to experience the world, and each was chosen, through genetics, for our particular journey.
Treat your body well. Your body is your vehicle of expression. It is what allows us to experience, enjoy and grow from life. If we don’t reasonably maintain our body, we diminish our capacity to experience, love and grow and that, too, is a form of paralysis. Do at least one thing today to more thoughtfully honour your physical body so that it continues to be capable of doing what you ask of it.
Consider the time you’ve lost. Consider the thing that you most obsess over with regard to your appearance, then add up the time you have spent obsessing over it in your life. Now ask yourself these questions: Is it worth it? Is your hair, your makeup or your outfit deserving of the time you have left in your life? Can you let a little of it go? Can you start today?
Break your self-deprecation habit. Too often, we normalise our body hatred by letting unkind words pass our lips about ourselves without a thought. We should catch and correct ourselves because our whole lives are affected by how we think and speak about our bodies. Find a bowl, vase, or piggy bank and deposit some change each time you knock yourself, and watch your self-awareness soar and your habits change. When you have collected enough, treat yourself to a gift from the money you have collected, or donate it. We can all change our language – and our minds.
Ditch the fat chat. Take breaking the self-deprecation habit a step further. When a woman criticises herself in front of you, don’t join in. Instead, celebrate what you love about her and tell her just how wrong she is.
Have a comeback. Think of the jabs you sometimes hear from friends and family members. They might be about your appearance or your relationship status. Now, take some time to come up with the perfect comeback: what you can say the next time it happens to let that critical person know you would like to be treated differently, or that your body is off-limits for discussion. Periodically practice the comeback, in your mind and out loud, so you are ready when you need to use it.
Embrace your passion. One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is a passion; something that brings us so much joy and satisfaction that we can’t help but feel successful when we are doing it. When we are doing something we are passionate about, we can’t help but feel like we have something to offer.
Make eye contact. Much of our confidence is projected through our eyes. Avoiding eye contact is just one way of communicating to the world that you want to be invisible. It also communicates to the person whose eyes you are
avoiding that he or she isn’t worthy of being seen, even if you don’t mean to send that message.
Get political. Recognise that by being consumed by your appearance and the ways you do not measure up to someone else’s beauty standards, you are holding yourself back from being consumed by the calling of your life. Imagine your life without the beauty obsession. Would you have time and energy for something else? If so, begin exploring that something else now.