Spending as much time as I do on social media, I frequently see the negative effects of low-self esteem and bad body image. Bad body image is an unfortunate by-product of today’s social savvy society that a lot of girls experience. We are surrounded by media promoting the idea of ‘perfection’ and have even grown up with our friends and family constantly talking about ‘looking better’ and ‘wanting to lose weight’.
Then, add to that the accessibility of broad spectrum social media. Not only are we able to compare ourselves to others, but we are able to make comments where and when we want to regardless of appropriateness. While we can use these to send a message of encouragement, cyber bullying has also become a large problem for our society and our body image. The so called “keyboard warriors” are becoming progressively more detrimental in this regard.
So in a world where we are all striving to better ourselves, how do we stop or decrease sinister attacks on our own positive self body image?
I believe it is super important to embrace your body, your mind and learn to love yourself. Regardless of whether you are wanting to lose a little weight, tone up, or simply try to live a healthier lifestyle, if you do it for the wrong reasons mentally, you may not necessarily be in a better place mentally, no matter what you look like physically. I always say that you should exercise because you love your body (or at least want to), not because you hate it.
1. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others:
This is my biggest tip, and I think it is one of the hardest things to overcome. It can be so easy to compare ourselves to that girl you see on Instagram with the amazing clothes, toned body and ‘perfect’ life. I have said this before and I will continue to say it, what you see on social media are often the parts of people’s lives that they choose to share with you. You don’t see the lows, the hard times or the times where they doubt themselves too.
For many people comparing themselves to others is a daily habit. So the next time you do it, try to be more aware of it. Note down who you are comparing yourself to, why and how it makes you feel. Ask yourself, are you being realistic or fair? Understanding this and working through it can really help you in the long run.
I think the most important thing to remember is that no matter what we do, we cannot be anybody else, ever. We were born the way we are for a reason - to be uniquely beautiful. When I am feeling a bit down, I try to think of all the things I’m grateful for in my life. If you keep comparing your body to other people’s you will never be happy, simply because you aren't them.
2. Turn the Negative into Positive
I think setting goals is such an important part of life as they can help to keep us motivated and give us something to work towards. However, instead of setting weight based goals, or goals based on other people's appearance, try to set ones that focus on a leading a healthier or more positive lifestyle. This can be things like increasing your energy levels or being a more positive thinker in daily situations.
If you are a negative thinker, try your hardest to replace that little voice with a positive one. It is so interesting that many people don't even realise how negatively they are thinking on a daily basis. I encourage you to pay attention to your attitude for one day and you may be surprised. For example, instead of saying “I can’t do this” or “this is too hard, I give up” when working out, acknowledge it is not easy, and instead say “this is hard, but I am going to try my best”. It sounds like such a simple thing but trust me, it makes all the difference!
3. Surround Yourself with Positive People
This step is SO important! Do you hang around people that are constantly complaining about their lives and feeling sorry for themselves? If your ‘friends’ are making you feel down on yourself and your image, then they may not be true friends after all. In a world where staying positive can be trying at times, you need to surround yourself with the absolute best people to help you reach your goals. These are the ones who are sad for your losses and happy for your wins. They are the ones that are there to help you reach your goals and understand times when you need a little space.
If you are hanging around people who are all about ‘image’ and ‘status’ and only care about what others think of them, this can slowly cause you to look at yourself and your body negatively. The saying, “you are who you hang out with” is SO true. So pick people you are going to support you, motivate you and compliment you as we are all a product of our surrounding environment.
4. Educate Yourself
I think it is super important to be aware and educate yourself on health and wellbeing. Be aware that it is not always possible to change every physical aspect of your body. For example, your legs can’t grow any longer and your hips can’t get any smaller. However, you can exercise and eat healthy to feel fit, happy, confident and comfortable in your own skin. This has to come as a direct result of loving yourself and having the right support and motivation in your life.
Loving your body starts with loving yourself first, sometimes mental workouts are just as beneficial as physical ones.
Love, Kayla xx