Sometimes, looking in the mirror can be one of the most difficult things to do. After all, in a mirror, you have to face yourself. You’re looking right at you. And though looking away might be the simple remedy if you don’t like the way you look, you’re still you even after you’ve looked away.
Your body image is not something that you can escape. Nor is your body. But sometimes it’s not easy to look at yourself and love yourself, especially if you have a poor body image. But the good news is, your body is special. It’s unique, and there’s not another one exactly like it in the world – even if you have an identical twin.
Body dysmorphia can be a huge problem for those who just can’t deal with the sight of their own body. But with a little help, you can learn to love your body – and you should!
Could you use help with improving your body image? Contact the experts at Ellie Mental Health for support today.
What Is Body Dysmorphia?
Maybe you’ve thought that you’re not tall enough. Or perhaps you think you’re not skinny enough. Your ears stick out a bit. Your tongue is weird. Or maybe that left pinky finger is just a bit too short. Well, believe it or not, this just scratches the surface of the type of thoughts that body dysmorphia can cause.
Body dysmorphia is a condition where you just can’t stop focusing on a perceived physical flaw. And this can be both real or imagined. This condition can also become severe, even causing the illusion that you look a certain way, when in reality you don’t. And this is all about your own perceived self-image.
A few examples of actions caused by body dysmorphia are:
- Perpetual grooming (attempting to make the flaw look better)
- Trying to hide your perceived physical flaw
- Avoiding social interactions
- Constantly comparing yourself to others
- Frequently looking in the mirror
Those with body dysmorphia often claim that they hate their bodies – that they can’t stand to look at certain physical features. And you may even fixate on these perceived flaws to the point that it causes significant depression or anxiety. But getting better acquainted with your body is one path that you can take to begin loving your body. And this has good feels written all over it.
7 Tips for Learning How to Love Your Body Again
When you were a child, you probably didn’t worry about that one long toe on your right foot. And you certainly didn’t care that your skin was freckled. In fact, you probably showed everyone your long toe and thought it was pretty cool to try and count your freckles! But as we become more self-aware, that childlike innocence fades and we’re left with an image of ourselves.
Making the best of your body image is the key. And here’s how you can begin living with that square-shaped elbow.
1. Focus on What Your Body Can Do
It’s always easy to get caught up in what’s going wrong. And the main problem with this is that we forget to think about what’s going right.
The truth is, your body is capable of some amazing things. And the trick is to begin remembering and being grateful for all of the wonderful things that your body can do. For example, maybe you’re a great runner. Or perhaps you can swim like a fish. And it’s also a good possibility that someone loves you exactly the way you are. And if this is the case, so what if you can’t reach the top shelf? Can you reach the bottom? Score!
Keep the focus on what that body of yours can do and you’ll begin to realize how beautiful and special it truly is.
2. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
This is probably the biggest one. But if you can master the art of NOT comparing yourself to others, you’re going to be well on your way to victory.
But what about Tina? She’s tall, has the perfect body, always gets the best-looking guy, and her personality is contagious. Well, that’s Tina. And she probably has plenty of issues of her own. When you focus on others, you’re basically shooting yourself in the foot before you even take the first step.
Sink into yourself and get comfortable. Take a break from looking at social media. Focus on who you truly are and what you love to do. Escape into the best version of you – and have a little fun while you’re at it. After all, this is the only body you’re going to get. So, you might want to shake hands and say hello because you two are in this for the long haul.
3. Movement and Get Active
It’s a known fact that being active releases endorphins – those feel-good chemicals hiding throughout your body. And when these little friends come out to play, you’re going to start feeling better.
Even the most out-of-shape person will feel invigorated after a short workout. And it’s not uncommon to look in the mirror after a bit of physical activity and see a much more vibrant looking you.
Getting active offers more than just physical benefits as well. Just take a look at a few of these perks:
- Improved self-confidence
- Better sleep
- Improved focus and concentration
- Sharper memory
- Improved blood flow
- Better skin tone
- Greater heart health
- Reduces depression and anxiety
- Relieves stress
Even if it’s a short walk around the block with your extra-long eyelashes flapping in the breeze, getting out there and being active will work wonders for your mental health – and your body image.
4. Be Kind to Your Body
Taking care of our bodies can be accomplished through much more than exercise alone. In fact, you can even talk to your body. Give it the thanks and respect it deserves. Have issues with your wrist? Maybe go buy it a nice bracelet, and thank it for being attached to your hand.
Seriously, taking the time to take care of your body can be done in many ways. You can stretch, take a hot bath, go get a massage, treat your stomach to some new and delicious foods, or go get a pedicure to let your feet know that you appreciate how they’ve taken you all over the planet.
Doing nice things for your body, whether it’s buying a new cologne or a facial scrub will help connect you to your body and allow you to build a better body relationship – and a healthier body image.
5. Test Your Body
You’ve been given this magnificent machine. And now it’s time to see exactly what it’s capable of. This is the great thing about being human – we have so much potential under our hoods. And it’s up to us to figure out how far we can go.
This perspective is a lot like getting a new car. You might want to see how fast it can go, or how it can handle sweeping curves and corners. The same is true with your body. You’re never going to know what it’s capable of until you get it out of the garage and take it for a spin.
Try new activities, engage in team sports, take hikes into the wilderness, ride a bike, climb trees, or summit Mt. Everest. Remember, your body won’t show you what it can do — you’re in control of this show. Even if it’s climbing a rock wall at a playground, get out there and test that beautiful machine. You’ll be happy that you did.
6. Set “Body Talk” Boundaries
If you don’t want to have a conversation about dieting, exercise, or how Matt can bench 500 pounds – don’t. There’s nothing wrong with setting boundaries when it comes to talking about your body. In fact, this is personal. So, you should be the one who decides when to talk about it.
First of all, there’s nothing wrong with giving or receiving compliments on physical appearance. But if the conversation shifts to what you should be doing with your body, change the subject, or let people know that you don’t want to discuss these things. Tell them it triggers you or makes you uncomfortable, and that you and your body will talk about it whenever you’re ready.
7. Love Your Body
You only have one body. So, it’s time to fall in love with yourself.
Self-acceptance is much more than knowing who you are, it’s all about accepting yourself, no matter your flaws, regrets, or shortcomings. After all, it’s not what’s “wrong” with you that makes you unique, it’s everything – hairy bottom lip and all.
Being comfortable in your own skin is all about understanding that no two people are alike. And no matter how much you wish you looked a certain way, unless you figure out a way to trade in your body, you’re going to be you no matter what. And loving yourself is the greatest step you can take.
Remember – Be Yourself Because You Can’t Be Anyone Else
You’re you. And this in itself is a beautiful thing. What you have to offer the world are your presence and your uniqueness – and we wouldn’t want it any other way. So, the next time you look in the mirror, remember that your body is only a small part of who you really are, because you have so much more to offer the world.
So, get out there and let us have it – from your beautifully frizzy hair to your bony toes.
Need help with improving your body image? Talk to the experts at Ellie Mental Health for support and advice today.