Sarah and I have been good friends for many years now. When I first knew her, she was fit, toned, and had a flat stomach that she worked hard for. But after giving birth to her first child, she started seeing some changes in her body.
The first thing she noticed were the red stretch marks that covered her once-smooth belly. They were a reminder of the physical toll of carrying a child for nine months. No matter how much lotion or cream she slathered on them, they remained etched into her skin.
Sarah’s breasts were no longer perky and full. Instead, they sagged and drooped. She said she didn’t recognise them as her own, and they no longer bring her the same sense of confidence and sex appeal that they used to.
What about her stomach? It protruded outwards. Due to all these changes, Sarah’s confidence plummeted. While narrating her experience to me, she said she missed the feeling of pride and confidence she once had about her body.
She knew she needed to find a way to love and accept her new body, but she didn’t know where to start.
Have you ever looked in the mirror and wished you had a different body shape or size? I guess we all have. But the truth is that no matter what shape or size you are, it is possible to boost your self-esteem and learn to love and appreciate your body.
In this article, I’m going to show you how to practise self-love. Ready? Let’s do this!
Recognise the beauty in all sizes
There is beauty in all sizes. Our society often celebrates a particular “ideal” body type, while other shapes are, unfortunately, neglected. But it’s high time we started celebrating all bodies as beautiful because that’s exactly what they are!
Acknowledge your flaws
Are you always ashamed of the scar on your body? Do you often feel sad about the colour of your skin? The first thing to do is to accept your body for what it is—with all its imperfections. Instead of focusing on the parts of your body that you don’t like, try to appreciate them and look at their beauty.
Avoid negative thoughts
We all have unhelpful thinking patterns that we fall into sometimes; it’s just part of the human experience. The key is to challenge these patterns and replace them with healthier ones.
Ask yourself: Is this thought true? Does it help me? How does it make me feel? By becoming aware of your negative thoughts about your body, you can begin to make changes and reframe them into positive ones. For example, instead of saying “I hate how I look”, try saying “I am beautiful just the way I am”.
Avoid body comparisons
Life is too short to always be worrying about your flaws and comparing yourself to others! Rather than comparing yourself to others, focus on your own positive qualities.
This doesn’t mean you can’t work towards health goals based on your own opinion of yourself; it just means you have to first be comfortable with who you are before making any changes as a form of self-love.
Focus on your strengths and abilities
Self-love is all about shifting your perspective. Instead of looking in the mirror and feeling like your flaws define you, try focusing on what your body allows you to do. Think about all of the activities you can participate in and how your body enables you to go about life in a confident way. Put the focus on the physical and non-physical things that make you unique and beautiful.
Always wear attractive clothes
You may not like the way your body looks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dress up and look stunning. Before you start shopping for clothes, it’s important to know your body shape so you can choose clothes that highlight your best features.
For example, if you have great legs, wear a skirt or shorts that show them off. Plait your hair, wear some accessories, and strut your stuff like you’re walking down the runway at Fashion Week. Who cares if you have a little extra fat? Dress to express yourself and not to “hide” certain parts of your body.
Self-care is important
Practising self-care can help you feel more positive about your body. This may involve things like getting enough sleep, eating nourishing foods, exercising, and engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.
Set goals and work towards them
Depending on what you want, you can set body goals and work towards them. For example, if you are overweight, find out what you can do to lose weight for your health’s sake and not because you want to fit into the societal standards of beauty. Also, you don’t have to wait until you reach your weight, shape, or appearance goals before loving yourself for who you already are.
We all have insecurities, and there’s no shame in admitting them. But despite these insecurities, committing to loving and accepting your body, will help build your resilience against body image issues.
Your physical and mental health both matter more than anything else. Ultimately, it’s all about reflecting on what you truly value in life and appreciating the beauty within yourself. It’s about knowing that our physical appearances don’t define our worth.
Remember, learning to love your body is a process, and it may take time and effort. So, no matter where you are in your journey, always be kind to yourself and celebrate every small victory along the way.