Many of us struggle with body image issues. There may be many reasons behind this, but whatever they may be, this strife never contributes to our happiness. Our society puts a lot of pressure on how we should look, how we should feel, what we should eat… And, sometimes it is very easy to just go with the flow and forget about ourselves. We tend to concentrate more on what others think than on what really matters for us, on what we really want. I think many of us even forget how to feel, how to choose, how to live for ourselves. Sometimes we do not even have the time to notice.
In our busy lives, we do not eat or sleep properly, and keep ourselves going with caffeine and sugar. With time, we will eventually disconnect from our body, hating it because it does not look like it should (or how we think it should)! And, that's when it will start complaining, in an attempt to call our attention. You may end up having digestion issues, pain in your joints and muscles or feel tired and exhausted.
Eventually, you will realize that your relationship with your body needs to be fixed. This is actually a very important step towards healing and making peace with your body. You become aware that you have to go through some changes, namely accepting and loving yourself as you are.
Here are some tips that may help you on your journey to healing:
1) Get to Know You
First thing, you have to get to know yourself. You can start by looking in a mirror and really observing yourself. Go through every detail of your body; try to feel it, try to appreciate yourself as you are. Do not pay attention to what your mind may say. Just observe and feel. The first time you do this may seem strange and uncomfortable, but do not feel intimidated. Try a second, a third time, until you can feel comfortable with what you see and feel. Just accept and surrender yourself to who you are.
2) Be Gentle with Yourself
Now that you got to know yourself better, start treating yourself with the due respect, just as you would treat another human being. Say nice things to your body, hug yourself, be your best friend…
3) Write a Letter to Your Body
As you become more comfortable with yourself, developing a new relationship between your body and your mind, it is probably a good idea to write a letter to your body. No, I am not joking. This may seem strange, but it is very powerful indeed. It can get pretty emotional, so make sure you have tissues with you when you do it. Be sincere, apologize if you have to, and complement as well. Just release what is inside you; you will feel much better after, and I am sure that you will feel even more connected with your body.
4) Nourish Your Body and Your Mind
Make sure that in this new relationship you nourish your body and your mind with what is best for you. Choose healthy foods; try to shift towards a plant-based diet if you do not already follow one. It is not only best for you, but also for the environment. Maintain your mind in a state of peace and tranquility through meditation.
5) Pamper Yourself
There is nothing better than rewarding yourself when you deserve it! Have a sweet treat now and then, but choose a healthy one and do not feel guilty after. Just accept that you deserve a treat, and enjoy it! Have an oil massage for example! It moisturizes your skin, stimulates circulation and makes you feel more relaxed.
6) Practice Yoga
The practice of yoga is very important to establish and maintain a strong connection between your body and your mind. It is a moving meditation. It allows you to get a very good perception of your body, how it moves and its limitations. It may not be easy at the beginning, but with time, yoga practice will teach you to respect and accept your body.
7) Practice Mindfulness
Become aware of your every activity, of your every step, without any kind of judgment. At any moment during your day, stop for a few seconds, focus your attention on your breath and try to feel your body. Let your thoughts go, and just feel your hands, your feet. During these moments of stillness, you realize who you really are, how your body really feels. These moments will help you learn to live in the present moment and enjoy your life to its fullest!
In summary, my main message to you is: treat your body as a temple! Make sure you nourish it, pamper it and love it as much as you can. You will certainly feel better about yourself -- confident, successful and HAPPY! And, what other people say about how you should look or how you should be will no longer hold importance.