When you look at your naked self in the mirror- are you in awe of what stares back at you or are you embarrassed at your reflection?
If you love the image staring back it may mean you have a good connection with your body, however, when feeling ashamed or mortified, it may result from body dysmorphia.
What is body dysmorphia disorder?
“Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance. These flaws are often unnoticeable to others. People of any age can have this disorder, but it’s most common in teenagers and young adults. It affects both women and men.”– NHS, 2021
As women we tend to put pressure on ourselves to have the ‘perfect’ body or compare ourselves to others that we deem as ‘fantastic’ figure. We often look for external validation or quick to look at avenues for a quick fix, like waist trainers or surgery. No judgement (I regularly have thoughts like this). From having this unhealthy relationship, we will have an intricate connection of love or hate that can eventually turn into self-esteem issues, depression and anxiety, eating problems and an over obsession about how we look and what changes we must make to drastically improve our quality of life.
So, how can we improve our relationship with our bodies? By changing our thought patterns, by increasing the connection we have with our body, our mind and our feelings. To love and accept us as is and be happy with our acceptance. So here are my three approaches to improve body positivity.
Know that You Are Unique
So, we all have one thing that we hate about our bodies. It could be stretch marks, scars or severe hyperpigmentation we tend to hide whenever disrobing. Growing up, I was so ashamed of my tiger stripes (stretch marks) and still am to this day; however, talking to my friends has given me a different perspective to learn how to appreciate these marks for these following reasons:
- They’re natural and normal.
- They fade with time and become hardly noticeable.
- There is a sign of growth. A big ass. A baby. Growing pains of an adolescent
Due to the new trend of natural bodies appreciation or being isolated for the last year, I no longer feel a huge embarrassment whenever I stare at myself in the mirror. I still have my days where I cringe when looking at them, but I no longer hate them. I can now take small pride in my body as I value the skin, I’m in.
Maya Angelou beautifully wrote, ‘If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude’. This statement is how I feel about body image. Changing the areas, we want to improve can. eventually enrich your self-esteem and body confidence. These include cellulite, lumps and bumps and fat in unflattering places; like your face, it has something to do with biology and genetics.
I have cellulite, but I don’t have any problems with it, I kind of love it, actually. But you may have a different relationship with your cellulite. As 90% of women have cellulite, it is very common, and dermatologists consider it to be a secondary female trait. It has nothing to do with the fat in our bodies but more to do with the connective tissues, so we develop cellulite. From the influence of estrogenand our genetics, cellulite is unlikely to fade away, no matter how hard it to work out to get rid of them. Start loving them!
Now, as for lumps and bumps and fat in the WRONG places, I struggle with this daily. I have inherited chubby cheeks from my lovely family, and no face yoga, jaw workout, or healthy eating will reduce the fat stored in my cheeks. It’s inevitable; I will grow old with flubber around my face. On the other hand, you can lose stomach rolls and neck fat, but it will never go entirely, unless you work out religiously and stop eating the food you have grown to love, now I don’t know about you, but this will be hard for me to do. So, I have learnt to love my rolls, bumps, and pouch; as long as I can maintain a healthy and desired weight, I can’t come kill myself over washboard abs. I have learnt to love the body I’m in.
Work it out
I think we all have the image of what a perfect body may look like, an hourglass figure with fat in the right places, slender arms and toned but jiggly legs. However, life could never be so kind and give us what we want; instead, you either born that way, get surgery or work out hard to achieve your desired body. Obviously, working out is the most effective and cheapest way to get the body you always wanted, and in turn, improves body positivity. Yet, I have found this challenging as I lack consistency, so watch this space.
All in all, I have gained a newfound appreciation for my body and curbing my body dysmorphia tendencies, to which I am happier in the skin I’m in. We only have one body, so we should create and maintain a positive relationship with it.