Sometimes I take one look in the mirror and curse myself for ruining my day. *womp womp*
Other times, I tell myself I’m gonna go makeup-less for the day and than a few hours pass and I’m like why the hell did you do that? *sigh*
So what I’m saying is, I know about not liking your looks. And it’s okay, because we’re on the path to living our best lives
where we don’t hate ourselves, right? Let’s do it.
At its highest level, your physical body is a temporary home for your spirit and soul. But at the lowest, it’s this thing people use to identify and define you.
So what happens when you think your spirit‘s home is ugly? Well…you develop a chronic hatred for it, aka, body image issue or body Dysmorphia.
(Unless you do like Ugly God and embrace the label of ugliness, that’s always an option!) *fake smile*
But on a more serious note, body image issues are typically born of self-denial, and a high preoccupation with the physical reality.
Translation: If you struggle with body image issues, what you are really struggling with is your identity and what you think it means to look like you.
The first question you have to ask if you ever want to come to terms with your body image issues is: what would having my ideal body mean to me?
Would it mean you’re valuable? Would it mean you can finally be happy? Would it mean you receive more attention?
Whatever having your ideal body would MEAN to you…is what you truly feel you are lacking. And until you find a way to feel fulfilled WITHIN…you will struggle.
For some this may mean you go ahead and get plastic surgery, or work out more, see a dermatologist, or perhaps you will change nothing at all but your mind. Depends on what you need and want from life.
What I will say, though, is that you probably ain’t gon win if you ain’t right within. *Lauren Hill voice*
…and what I mean by that is, all of the plastic surgery you can get will not satisfy you if you do not learn to LIKE YOURSELF INTERNALLY, and realize you are MORE THAN A PHYSICAL BODY.
This blog post will explore:
-What are body image issues
-What is the psychological root of body image issues
-How to transform negative self image into body love
If you struggle with body image issues or body Dysmorphia, I want to start by saying that I truly feel for you. *HUGZ*
As a large-breasted woman who has an apple shape, that at times when I work really really hard, can fluctuate and turn into the most coveted hourglass shape, I know what it’s like to look in the mirror and be perpetually dissatisfied.
So what are body image issues?
Body image is how you think and feel about your physical body. If you have issues with body image, this means you have a negative view, or resistance to, your physical body.
How are body image issues born?
Too many ways to list. In summation though, many of us learn to hate our physical bodies as a result of being fed some sort of ideal as to how it should look.
As a black woman, the image I’m typically fed is that my body should be a perfect coke bottle with a big ole ass.
So when I had my first baby and my body blew up, I dealt with, and still deal with sometimes, some body image issues and incongruences with how I look now versus how I used to look.
As for the booty, I’ve always been busty so I don’t have the gig ole ass appearance, ever. I can build my ass with fitness, sure. But the way my bone structure is set up, I’ll probably always be top heavy without surgery. It is what it is. Moving on…
…bottom line is, body image issues are born from COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS or GIVING OTHER PEOPLE’S OPINIONS POWER OVER YOUR OWN.
How can you turn body image issues into love for your physical body?
Know that the force is WITHIN you.
I’m going to come out of the gate and telll you that this isn’t an easy goal. Not because I want to be a downer, but instead, because I want you to know what you’re up against.
It is not in the best interest of the hair salons, the media, or the beauty industry, for you to feel comfortable in your own skin. It would be better for them if you didn’t so you could buy their stuff.
It’s also not in the interest of a man who wants to control you, for you to be comfortable in your own skin, because he wants you to think you’ll never be beautiful enough so that you feel fortunate that he chose you.
Bottom line: once you’re an adult, no one is gonna help you build your self esteem. Gotta do that shit yourself.
Disclaimer: I LOVE BEAUTY and makeup. I’m not knocking the cosmetics industry. Instead, I want to point out that there will always be an “ideal” of beauty that may not suit your look, therefore if you want to fall in love with yourself, you’re going to have to know that there are forces already working against you, especially if you are an African American woman. So what can you do?
Learn about the body on a scientific level, especially the parts of you don’t like.
Seriously. Go pick up an anatomy book, and read. Or a fitness bible. For me, I’ve battled with negative thoughts about my hair as well as my butt. So what did I do? I learned about them.
What’s the point of this?
When you learn about how amazing your physical body is, you start to truly see how gifted you are to even have such body parts. (Some people don’t, you know.) You can begin to appreciate your body, at least more than you did before.
If you’re having body image issues, you probably rarely think about the value of your legs, or your hair, or your stomach, or your ass. But all of these things are valuable and have practical use in your body.
The first step to jumping out of negativity about your body is to become less emotional about it and simply learn what it is on a scientific level, so you can appreciate what it can do for you.
If you tend to get triggered, STOP looking in the mirror.
I did this for a couple of days and I’m not going to lie, it did wonders for my psychology. I realized very quickly that when I looked at myself, I was flooded with negative thoughts because it was what I had grown accustomed to.
If you’re a person who gets caught up in the mirror, and you’re able to do this, I advise you to leave the mirror be for a few days.
However, don’t be idle. Instead of looking in the mirror, you should use this time to start to implant new thoughts in your mind around your physical body. You can use an affirmation video like the one below, or you can recite your own affirmations.
Those particular affirmations can be a bit heady because there are multiple voices speaking at once, but I like them because they jumble my mind so much that I’m no longer able to sabotage the affirmations with my doubt. (Life hack, lol)
Anyway, the point of this step is to empty your mind of the junk that lived there before by stopping yourself from looking at the external, and to start to work on the internal.
Guard your heart. Guard your mind.
This, to me, is the most important part of this process. What you feed your mind, becomes the fabric of your reality.
If it’s not supporting the new beliefs you want for yourself and your body, and if it doesn’t make you feel good, don’t let it in. This may mean you get off of Instagram. Twitter. Facebook. Youtube. Or it may just mean you curate the pages you follow to keep you inspired.
This isn’t about acting out of fear. you’re not running away from social media because you can’t handle it. No. You are being loving to yourself and feeding your spirit with only the seeds you want to see grow in your life. You are building a new belief system, and belief systems need time to cement themselves to your mind. Trust me, you didn’t start hating your body overnight. It took time, emotions, experiences, in order to for, the belief that your body isn’t perfect.
If you want to grow love for yourself, especially when you have a lack of love for yourself at the moment, you need to clear all of the rubbish out of there. Aka, mental detox.
Social media is a tool. I’m not against it at all. However, the thing about tools is that they can be used by any means. A pen can write a love letter, but it can also stab someone in the neck.
Not everyone on social media is looking to lift you up. So if your body image is not where it needs to be, and you are constantly feeding yourself with images that make you feel like shit, how will you ever view yourself as beautiful? You won’t. So take a break. It’ll be there for you when you come back.
If you need to, seek therapy.
As a person who has gone to therapy before, if you’re willing to put in the work, I believe it can work for you.
However, I also believe you can also be your own sort of therapist at times. All it requires is for you to be HONEST with yourself about your beliefs and where they came from. That’s where most people struggle. They lie to themselves.
A therapist can help you to dive into your past traumas, and uncover the root of your body image issues, but it’s not a quick fix by any means. You’ve got to put forth the effort.
It takes time to change your thoughts. But you CAN DO IT! If you get off the path, just get back in there. Hell I get off and on the path at least once a day! 😹
What say you? How do you fall in love with your body?
If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to checkout How to Feel More Beautiful. 💋
Nia Venus 💚✨