Learning to love the skin you’re in, along with every bulge, sag and scar is no easy feat. After 25 years of failing to achieve this myself, I’m pretty confident of what doesn’t work! Diets don’t work. Exercise fads don’t work. Pills don’t work. Hating and criticizing myself doesn’t work.
So what does work? Acceptance. Love. Gratitude. All for the body we have NOW! Many of us have reached a weight or size goal only to still feel unsatisfied with how we look. We all know a larger woman who truly loves the skin she is in, just as we all know a woman with a body we’d kill for who only sees her flaws.
Love and acceptance of ourselves comes from within. Outside influences in the form of weight loss and compliments are only temporary. We must build a solid foundation of love and acceptance for every part of our being, inside and out. In doing so we act from a place of love, respect our bodies and nourish them with healthy foods and exercise. Because we genuinely want to, and not out of obligation.
Balance is key in all aspects of life. Counting every calorie, and exercising for hours on end just to reach a ridiculous goal to please others is no way to live. And waiting to truly live until reaching that goal is just letting life pass you by.
The good news is that learning to love and accept yourself is possible. Though it takes work, time and leaving your comfort zone, it is worth every ounce of effort. So I’ve heard. I’m still a work in progress, and will be for the rest of my life. It’s a journey after all, not a destination.
Below are three practices I find helpful in boosting my confidence and accepting myself just as I am right now!
1. Throw away the beauty/celebrity gossip magazines
All those magazines do is make us feel bad about ourselves. We compare our bodies to photo-shopped images of women with naturally good genes, while the truth is that we are the normal ones while they are the outliers. It is incredibly hard in our society to not base our worth on our looks, while images of what beauty is supposed to look like are everywhere.
What magazines do is reiterate the message that looks matter the most, and that supermodels and celebrities are superior to us normal gals. I used to be addicted to these magazines, buying them all the time. Then one day I realized I hadn’t bought one in a while, and I felt liberated! I haven’t looked back since.
2. Shift the focus from what we don’t like about ourselves to what we do
This doesn’t have to be about our looks. In fact, it’s better if it isn’t. Shifting focus entirely from the external to the internal, is a great way to bring to our consciousness the importance of who we truly are. Write a list of all of the non-physical things that you love about yourself.
Read the list at least twice per day. When you first wake up and right before you go to bed are great times. I have mine in my phone. Starting the day with reading all the things I love about myself is definitely a positive motivator to get up and moving.
3. Make yourself a priority by practicing self care
Taking care of our own needs sends a message to ourselves that we matter. Self care comes in many forms. It is time spent doing what we love. That might be a coffee date with the bestie, time spent on a hobby, a spiritual or religious practice, or curling up with a good book and glass of Chardonnay.
Nourishing our bodies is just as important as nourishing our souls. A brisk stroll while appreciating Mother Nature, drinking plenty of water, and limiting processed foods are perfect ways to love and appreciate our bodies.
Learning to love the skin we’re in is a process, not an event. It takes patience, as well as a lot of practice. There are no shortcuts or quick fixes on the road to self love and acceptance. The best approach is to take it in baby steps. Small changes gradually over time make it so much more attainable, as well as sustainable.