Why do we often feel comfortable treating ourselves in ways we would never treat others? Ask any woman what she thinks about her own body and her response will be negative majority of the time. In today’s world, we are so hard on ourselves as we try to live up to the unrealistic image of perfect that we create in our heads. Would you call your friends “fat” “ugly” or “stupid”? Probably not, so why would you call yourself that? You deserve to be treated as kindly as you would treat others.
A positive self-image is needed to live a positive, happy life. When we constantly have negative thoughts about ourselves, it can lead to a negative attitude, affecting every other aspect of your life. A positive self-image begins with a positive attitude, and just like any skill, it takes time and practice. Here are effective strategies that will help you develop and improve your positive self image.
Positive self image begins with self-acceptance, flaws and all. We look to the outside world for this “perfect” image of what we should be in order to be accepted. We are human, there is no such thing as perfect. While you may want to change or improve certain things, you have to accept exactly who you are today and love your imperfect self. Once you do that, the process of transformation will be much more enjoyable.
You are more than a label
You are not defined by the way people see you as.. You are not your job, you are not an eating disorder, you are not overweight, you are not just a bodybuilder…you are not a stereotype. There is more to you that what the outside world sees. When I was very sick years ago, I remember walking around and hearing people say “that’s the girl with the eating disorder.” It killed me because I was much more than that, but they did not take the time to get to know me. Yes, I was a girl who was struggling with an illness, but I was also a girl who loved sports, reading, dancing and being around people. Take time to disconnect from the world and do self-reflection to discover or remind yourself of the inner you.You are a deep individual and that is what you should use as your image of yourself.
Focus on the people in your corner
Surround yourself with the people who support you, who want to see you do good and who help you build. The more you hang out with negative people, the lower you find yourself feeling. Create your corner with the people you admire who are have similar goals and will push you to be better. Let their positivity and self-esteem bring you up and feeling good. The past few years, I have truly learned this. There were many ups and downs in my life but the people who were with me through all of it, are the ones who are in my corner. It’s a great feeling knowing that there are people who believe in you and push you to keep going, no matter what.
Exercise and move that body! Not only does exercise release endorphins (happy hormones) and relieve stress, but it is very empowering. Think about how good you feel after you complete a tough workout, beat your PR or accomplish a new exercise. When we move, we feel strong and proud of what our bodies can do.
This past year I took off from competing due to life and other priorities. During this “off-season” I put on muscle, but it my eyes it was fat (which is naturally going to happen to a certain extent when you gain muscle). After years of always walking around lean, I was now uncomfortable in my own skin at the heaviest weight ever in my life. Everyday is a mental struggle but that is when I take a step back to remind myself of all the things I have accomplished during the off-season. I am lifting heavier, training harder, building muscle and pursuing my dreams of Sweet N Fit. Focusing on these positive outcomes has been a great reminder that my self-worth is not based on my body fat percentage but on my confidence and pride that come from the other aspects of my life.
Live your life
Make it a point to to engage in your life! You will find yourself becoming more positive as you actively pursue your skills, hobbies and goals in all aspects of your life. Make a commitment to explore and discover what interests you about yourself and life. When I take a step outside of the fitness field, I love learning and experiencing new worlds. It reminds me that there is so much out there that will keep you excited and positive every day!
The reason why we want to lose weight, lean out or make any changes to our body, should NOT be because we hate ourselves. We improve our bodies for physical health, mental health and our overall well being. Be proud of who you are, regardless of where you are in your journey. Remember, you can change your body while loving it at the same time. <3