Ever heard the phrase “fake it til you make it?”
Loving ourselves and our bodies is really hard to do. After all, our culture has done QUITE a number on us. For years, through TV, movies, magazines and the internet, we’ve usually only seen ONE version of “beauty” reflected back at us.
Case in point: this is what comes up when I google “beautiful woman”:
Long straight blonde hair, blue eyes, light skin, small nose, size 2, early 20’s…
Such a tiny percentage of us actually look like that! Aside from the fact that it’d be incredibly boring if we all did; most of these images are retouched, photoshopped, and augmented in some way. Even if we know better, seeing these images over and over totally messes with our brains. It reinforces a singular sense of beauty and leaves out all of the other ways in which women all over the world are considered absolutely beautiful.
Understanding that loving ourselves is a practice, and not something we’re expected to nail overnight— below are a few exercises to engage in, so we can keep our psychological muscles strong and focused towards the goal of loving ourselves!
“Everybody has a part of her body that she doesn’t like, but I’ve stopped complaining about mine because I don’t want to critique nature’s handiwork … My job is simply to allow the light to shine out of the masterpiece.”
Here are some of my go-to’s on the mornings when “loving my body” is too tall of an order:
1. Say Affirmations
This is actually where the inspiration for this post came from! Of course, I knew about affirmations. But for the most part, I’ve used them to reinforce my capabilities and my attitude— not my looks.
I was recently in a seminar with a fabulous 50-year-old woman who was going through a divorce and it was really taking a toll on her self-confidence. Rather than letting it get the best of her, she decided to start doing everything she could to restore (or cultivate for the first time) her sense of sexiness and divine feminine prowess. She said, “Every day I wake up and I look in the mirror, and I trick myself into thinking I’m beautiful. I say,‘YOU are drop-dead gorgeous,’ and you know what? After that, I feel a little more beautiful!”
Honestly, as she said those words, I believed her! Her skin was glowing, her eyes looked alive, and she had an energy about her which completely transformed her entire look.
So, try out an affirmation for yourself. For instance, “I am a sexy, beautiful, and confident woman” is a good start. Will you feel ridiculous? Probably! Especially because, I don’t know about you— but first thing in the morning is not my best look of the day. But try it! Laugh at yourself, and repeat! It can really help reinforce your sense of direction: you ARE a beautiful, confident, and sexy woman!
2. Curate Your Media
There is NO better time to take control of the media you ingest. With Netflix, Hulu, Instagram, blogs, etc., there are SO many opportunities to be a little more choosey with what you surround yourself with.
Find one TV show, one blog, and/or one social media influencer who makes you feel really great about the way that you look, and who gives you inspiration for your own beauty regimen and wardrobe.
There is an awesome trend towards “real” looking models, diversely beautiful actresses, and different people who celebrate body positivity. In fact, these women are in many ways leading the way towards a new standard of beauty (and also becoming the muses and crushes for many!)
And if you’re STILL struggling— consider traveling to another country with completely different beauty standards. Some other cultures have way more diverse standards of beauty— places that honor age, embrace curves and celebrate a more complex sense of womanhood.
“Parisian women have an inner elegance that’s envied the world over. They are so relaxed about ageing and seem to acquire more charisma and beauty with time. Who wouldn’t want to be like them? That’s the trick – to embrace the natural progression of life and to be confident.”
3. Dress for Your Body Type
So many of us buy clothes that we love on the rack, but when we try it on, we only like it if we suck in, or turn this way, or sit down, or lose 5 pounds, or get a tan, or wear a different bra, or if, if, if…
Our clothing should not come with these caveats!
I like the “capsule wardrobe” concept, where you ONLY keep clothes that you 100% LOVE in your closet. They have to be comfortable, AND they have to make you feel beautiful— there is no in-between!
Reach out to a stylist, an honest friend with great style, or a service like Stitchfix, and don’t buy anything new unless it fits the categories of being totally comfortable, AND you feel beautiful in it— as you are right. now.
Lastly, if you really need to dig deep (and need some belly laughs), check out the new series of Queer Eye, where they NAIL body-positivity and the concept of loving yourself for exactly the way you are.