We’ve all read interviews with celebrities where they talk about how they came to accept their looks and love themselves.
There’s something immensely frustrating about these interviews, in that the starlet is discussing how she’s always hated her looks, but right in front of the reader is a spread of images of a waif-thin, yet impossibly curvy, smooth-skinned, small-nosed, wide-eyed beauty.
You shut the magazine feeling that if such-and-such celebrity thinks she’s not good enough, how can you ever be?
You wonder whether you are pretty enough, funny enough, smart enough, successful enough… And the vicious cycle of criticism begins. It doesn’t have to be that way.
If you relate to the magazine scenario or if you’re just going through a period of struggling with loving yourself, here are some things you can do to finally accept your worth, from the inside out:
Do a media fast.
Unless you live in Nowheresville, Alaska, it’s simply not possible to remove the media from your life. Manipulated images and external judgments are a part of our modern day-to-day life, and whether we like it or not they influence the way we think about ourselves.
All that exposure to toxic thinking can build up in your head, so it’s important to allow your brain to warm up to the fact that you don’t have to be Photoshopped to be worth something. That’s why a media fast is an important step towards a healthy self image.
Set a specific amount of time every week (or every day!) to avoid harmful media and immerse yourself in positivity. Choose to do something that will have a lasting impact:
- Read an inspiring story
- Listen to music with empowering lyrics
- Watch a video showing what Photoshop does
You can even do something as simple as taking a walk to remind yourself what your body is capable of. A word of advice, though: be mindful of how things affect you. An inspiring tale of a woman who lost seventy-five pounds for her wedding may be impressive, but it echoes the message that we must be thin to be worthy.
Choose your “positivity time” carefully!
Make your beauty routine loving, not covering.
No, this isn’t me telling you not to wear makeup. This is about saying through your actions, “I care about my body.” Not saying, “My body’s not good enough so I want to change it.”
Establish a me-time self-care
- soak in a bath once a week
- try out the infamously luxurious ten step Korean beauty skin care routine
- use some new essential oils for aromatherapy
For my own self-care routine, I paint my nails every Thursday night. It gives me something to look forward to, it’s fun and relaxing. Instead of attempting to “fix” my appearance or look a certain way for someone else, I’m doing something fun for myself.
Treat yourself with compassion.
Have you ever stopped to consider how unfair it is that you expect yourself to be perfect? Would you expect the same level of neurotic perfection from your sister? Best friend?
If you think your mom is beautiful even though she’s put on weight, why do you need to go on a diet before the new year? Your friend’s loud, nasal laughter is one of the most endearing things about her. Why do you feel that your speech impediment makes you less sexy?
Sweetie, give yourself the break you deserve and stop the double standard. Self love begins in your own head.
Don’t make it all about the physical.
Somehow we’ve come to associate self love exclusively with liking how we look. You are not simply your appearance.
Yes, it’s part of who you are, but your large thighs, smooth skin, pretty ankles, and the bunion on your left foot are not what make you you. If you have negative thoughts about your appearance, it’s not likely that you can just change them overnight. Physical appearance also changes quite significantly over time, so it seems a little counter-intuitive to try to convince yourself to love your looks by working from the outside in.
Instead, work from the inside out and start with something the world can’t judge as quickly, that doesn’t have to look a certain way: your personality.
It’s a domino effect: you love one thing about yourself, you love two… You start to realize your special uniqueness and you embrace your whole personality. You realize that your physical appearance is an extension and reflection of that personality, and you begin to fall in love with that, too.
It’s not about making sure you conform to some magazine editor’s ideal of beauty. It’s about realizing that you do not and will not ever look that way and that is a good thing. Because you look like you.