I spend a lot of time on social media, posting, liking and commenting on pictures. In my field, I often see a lot of “selfies” of lean, muscular bodies and the negative effects they have on low-self esteem and bad body image. So many girls comment on these pictures “body goals” and “I need to look better.” Then there are the ones that comment “too thin,” “too manly,” and never think twice about how that comment might effect the original poster. I try to send out messages of encouragement myself, encouraging everyone to love themselves first, try to not concentrate on how your body looks but what it can do. Nether the less, cyber bullying is a huge problem in society and how we feel about ourselves.
In this world where we are trying to be healthier, be better and more successful, how do we stop this bullying from being detrimental to our own self images?
Let’s start off with 4 simple steps.
- Stop comparing yourself to others.
I’m guilty of this, except not when it comes to body image but running. I see everyone’s shots of their garmins and how far and fast they ran and see how I measure up to them. But when I do this I try to become aware of what I’m doing and think “Is it realistic of me or fair of me to compare my journey to theirs?” Understanding your own thoughts and working through your feelings about why you’re doing this can help you turn around your line of thinking. If you keep comparing yourself to other people, you will probably never be happy all because you will never be those people.
2. Focus on the positive
Shut down those voices in your head that tell you your body is not “right” or that you are a “bad” person. You can overpower those negative thoughts with positive ones. The next time you start to tear yourself down, build yourself back up with a few quick affirmations that work for you. Instead of thinking, “I can’t do this” or “this is too hard,” realize that yes, it is hard to get to your goals and tell yourself “I am going to do my best to do this.” Sometimes when I’m not feeling very body positive, I start to think that I’ll never be able to get through my work out, but I try to tell myself you can at least do 15 minutes, then when I get to those 15 minutes I realize that if I can make it through that I can make it through 15 more and more and more (if the work out calls for that much time). It’s amazing how a simple change in thought can make a huge difference.
3. Surround yourself with positive people
It is easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you are around others who are supportive and who recognize the importance of liking yourself just as you naturally are. Think “Mean Girls” when it comes to this, remember the scene where Regina George made Cady pick something out from herself that she didn’t like? Cady didn’t have anything that she didn’t like about herself until they forced her. Negativity is contagious. Sometimes it’s hard to suck that negativity out of your life and get rid of those people but not matter what it’s always for the better.
4. Look at yourself as a whole person.
Stop picking yourself apart. You are not the size of your thighs, the thickness of your waist of the number on a scale. When you see yourself in a mirror or in your mind, choose not to focus on specific body parts. See yourself as you want others to see you–as a whole person. When you feel good about yourself and who you are, you carry yourself with a sense of confidence, self-acceptance, and openness that makes you beautiful regardless of whether you physically look like a supermodel. Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of your body.