How do you feel when you think of women and body image?
If you'd rather not think about your own body and how you view it, then perhaps it's time to improve your body image.
The obvious media influence on body image is clearly one of the greatest reasons why women especially are prone to see their looks and their bodies in a negative light.
So how can you begin to develop a more healthy body image? Well, let me tell you a little (just a little, I promise) about myself first.
Beginning from childhood, I've had multiple surgical hip procedures that have left numerous large scars on my body. When I was young, I was totally oblivious to them. They were just there and I hardly even noticed them.
Even as a teenager I still didn't consider them to be anything unusual. But then it only took one very nasty comment from someone when I was 18 years old about how ugly all the scars looked, to completely destroy my own body image.
I went from joyfully wearing bathing suits (even winning a beach girl competition) to never showing my bare hips and upper thighs in public again.
I also developed acne that began in my early teens and didn't begin to clear until I was nearly forty years old. I use to avoid talking to people because that meant they would come close enough to see my face in more detail.
Your reasons for having body image
issues are likely to be very different to mine. Even if you haven't been
on the end of negative comments about your appearance, society in
general idolises perfection and this alone has the majority of the
population feeling bad about the way they look.
And now after two pregnancies, my droopy tummy looks more like a half empty sack of rice than the perfect post-baby abs of so many celebrities.
So what advice can I offer you about how to improve your body image and develop a healthy admiration for the reflection in the mirror?
My belief is that if you feel really good about yourself in general, then you won't tend to have such negative thoughts about yourself, including your appearance.
Of course it's only natural to want to look nice, but that is different from feeling disgust at your own image.
So here are my tips on how to improve your body image:
1. Write a list of all the things you like about your appearance.
And don't say there aren't any - there must be something. For example, even though my thighs are now larger than they've ever been, I still really like my calves and slim ankles. And I like my full lips.
What about your eyes, do you like their shape or their colour? Are you happy with your nose? Or perhaps you have nice hands or soft hair?
Look for any tiny little thing you like about your appearance, no matter how small, and write it down. Then every time you find yourself focusing on how bad you think you look, get out your list to remind yourself of the aspects you feel good about.
And even add to the list each time if you can.
2. Let go of the past.
If anyone has made any negative comments to you in the past about your appearance, then they probably did so for one of several reasons:
- they feel bad about themselves so their way of dealing with that is to make other people feel bad about themselves as well
- they were trying to hurt you, perhaps as a backlash
- they are jealous of something else about you.
Whatever the reason, it's time to let that go. Holding onto past hurts just stops you from going forward. Letting it go is not about giving your approval to the other person or their behaviour, but it is for your own benefit.
If you need help to forgive someone, have a look at my pages on how to forgive and emotional healing exercises.
3. Nurture yourself and your body, because you are so worth it!
If you are not use to pampering your body, then it may feel a little odd at first. But if you begin to do nice things for your body and show it some appreciation, then gradually you will begin to feel more positive about it.
Here are some body nurturing ideas for women and body image:
- go for a massage by a qualified massage therapist
- have a manicure or pedicure
- get a good haircut in a new, flattering style
- buy yourself some beautiful natural body lotions and perfumes, and use them every day
- go for a walk or some other form of exercise that you enjoy
- have a facial and have the beauty therapist apply some makeup afterward if you wish
- eat healthily and feel better for it
Please have a look at my page on self nurturing for many more general ideas about how to pamper yourself.
4. Make the most of what you've been given.
You can choose clothing and accessories that accentuate your favourite features, and that will draw attention away from the things you don't like so much.
For example, I mentioned above that I like my slim ankles, so in summer I wear pretty anklets to show them off.
Go through your wardrobe and get rid of anything that doesn't make you feel good when you wear it, and treat yourself to something new every so often.
You could also go for a new haircut and ask the stylist for advice on what style would best suit your face shape.
5. Improve your overall confidence and self esteem.
I believe women and body image are strongly linked to our personal level of self esteem in general. If you are confident and happy overall, you are less likely to be dragged down by the way you look.
Please visit my pages on overcoming low self esteem for ideas on boosting your self confidence.
6. See the beauty in those aspects of you that don't look great.
As I mentioned, two pregnancies have left me with a less-than-flattering belly. However, each time I see it, it reminds me of my beautiful children that were created within that belly. I wouldn't change the way it looks for anything.
7. Use the flower essences to help improve your body image.
The flower essences are a safe and easy form of natural healing that have the potential to make positive changes within ourselves.
The flower essences help us to heal ourselves from the inside out, and if you would like to improve your body image and self esteem, why not give the flower essences a try?
I am a Certified Australian Bush Flower Essence Practitioner and I offer flower essence services via this website.
If you would like a personalised flower essence remedy to help you create a more positive body image, then please click here to go to my Flower Essence Services.
Thank you for reading my article on women and body image - I hope you have found it helpful.