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Body image

Self-love and body image are closely linked to each other. A positive or negative body image has a great influence on our ability to love ourselves. Body image is a complex issue that affects people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. It’s the way we perceive ourselves, and it’s shaped by a variety of factors, including societal standards of beauty, cultural ideals, and personal experiences. Unfortunately, negative body image is common, and it can have serious consequences, such as low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. In this article, I’ll discuss how to love your body and how to overcome negative body image, as well as provide tips on how to practice self-acceptance.

What is body image?

Body image refers to the way a person perceives and feels about their body. It can be positive or negative, and it’s influenced by many factors, such as culture, media, family, peers, and personal experiences. For example, a person who grew up in a family that praised thinness may have a negative body image if they are not thin. Alternatively, someone who grew up in a culture that values a certain body shape may feel pressure to conform to that ideal.

Man looking into a mirror and reflecting on his body image

Self-love is about accepting and appreciating yourself, including your body. When we have a negative body image, it’s hard to practice self-love because we’re constantly criticizing and judging ourselves. We may feel ashamed of our bodies, compare ourselves to others, and engage in unhealthy behaviors to try to change our bodies.

On the other hand, when we have a positive body image, it’s easier to practice self-love because we’re accepting and appreciating our bodies for what they are. We’re less likely to engage in negative self-talk and more likely to treat our bodies with care and respect.

Negative body image

Negative body image can have serious consequences, such as low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. It can also lead to unhealthy behaviors, such as disordered eating and excessive exercise. Negative body image is often fueled by unrealistic beauty standards, which are perpetuated by the media and social media. For example, the media often portrays a narrow definition of beauty that is unattainable for most people, and social media can exacerbate these standards by showcasing perfectly curated images of people’s lives.

Depressed women

A negative body image doesn’t only have to come only from your physical appearance. Suffering from a disease can also negatively influence the way you perceive yourself. I myself have always been thin and reasonably “in shape” according to the standards set by (social) media. Yet I to have had a negative body image for years.

This was due to my cluster headache. On the outside I looked fine, but because of the cluster headache I knew something was wrong on the inside. This had a negative effect on my body image. My body was not working as it should be, and I resented it for that. Besides the cluster headache, I have had warts on my right hand for more tan a decade. This too had a negative effect on my body image. I tried all sorts of things to get rid of them, but to no avail.

How to love your body

Loving your body is an essential part of self-acceptance and a positive body image. It’s important to recognize that your body is unique and worthy of love and respect, regardless of its size or shape. Take into account for a second that when you were conceived, you were the 1 sperm cell of 14 million cells competing to impregnate the egg. It is the vessel we use to experience this world, and we should be thankful it allows us to have this experience.

It can also help to remind yourself that everyone perceives beauty differently. You might not like the freckles in your face, but to some else they are the reason they fall in love with you.

Woman with freckles

In my personal experience, once I started to show my body more love, things started to go better and better. My cluster headache became more manageable, and I cured my warts without any medication or outside help.

Here are some tips on how to love your body:

  1. Focus on what your body can do: Instead of focusing on what your body looks like, focus on what it can do. Your body is capable of amazing things, such as running, dancing, feeling and creating art. Celebrate your body’s abilities and be proud of what it can do.
  2. Practice Self-Care: Take care of your body by getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly. When you treat your body with care and respect, you’ll feel better about yourself and your body. Every 7 years you will have rebuilt your entire body. We do this by consuming food, the better the food you eat, the healthier your body will be. Eating more healthy is the action that helped me cure my warts.
  3. We become what we feed ourselves with: This applies not only to food but also to content. Surround yourself with positive messages that promote body positivity and self-love. Follow social media accounts that promote body diversity and self-acceptance, and read books and articles that celebrate body positivity. Stear away from accounts that promote artificially attained body types like implants and fillers.
  4. Challenge Negative Thoughts: When negative thoughts about your body arise, challenge them. Ask yourself if they’re true and if they’re helping you feel good about yourself. If they’re not, replace them with positive affirmations that promote self-love. Speak to yourself as if talking to your best friend and be gentle with yourself.
  5. Give yourself a tight hug and say out loud that you love your body and that you are thankful for all it does for you.

How to overcome negative body image

Overcoming negative body image takes time and effort, but it’s possible. Here are some tips on how to overcome negative body image:

  1. Challenge Beauty Standards: Challenge the beauty standards that fuel negative body image. Recognize that these standards are unrealistic and unattainable for most people, and that they’re often rooted in sexism, racism, and ableism.
  2. Practice Gratitude: Practice gratitude for your body and all that it does for you. Make a list of all the things you’re grateful for about your body, such as your strong legs or your beautiful smile.
  3. Focus on Health: Instead of focusing on weight or appearance, focus on health. Make healthy choices that make you feel good, such as eating a balanced diet and engaging in physical activity that you enjoy.
  4. Seek Support: Seek support from friends, family, or a therapist. Talking to someone about your negative body image can help you relativize and change the negative image to a positive.

In conclusion

Self-love is an essential part of living a fulfilling and happy life. It’s about accepting and appreciating yourself, flaws and all. Unfortunately, negative self perception can often get in the way of self-love. It’s easy to become critical of our bodies, especially when we’re bombarded with unrealistic beauty standards in the media.

Self-acceptance is a critical aspect of mental health and well-being, and it’s essential in developing a positive body image. Negative body image can lead to self-criticism, shame, and self-loathing, making it difficult to accept ourselves. By focusing on our strengths, practicing self-care, challenging negative thoughts, surrounding ourselves with positive messages, seeking support, and practicing mindfulness, we can cultivate self-acceptance and a more positive body image.

So be aware about what you expose yourself to and try and focus on the positive things your body does for you. You can use something like a mantra to reaffirm that your body is strong, beautiful and in service to you. Apply this line of the John Legend song All of me to your self and; Love your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections, and remember, you are unique, beautiful, and worthy of love and acceptance.

Want to live your best life? Then you got to beinlovewithyourself!