Justin Bieber recently came out with a hit song Love Yourself, where he sings “If you like the way you look that much, then you should go and love yourself.” Although I like the song for the melody, I feel Justin got it all wrong. You should love yourself regardless of what you look like and how you feel about your appearance.
I understand body image is not a topic we all like talking about, and I get it. I know what it’s like to not love your appearance or your body. I was born a little chubby and any weight I gain goes straight to my face, making it instantly noticeable. I’ve been criticized by co-workers, family members and friends. I know they just joking, but I can’t take any joke about my weight or what food I eat lightly. I’m constantly looking in the mirror and seeing nothing but imperfections.
It’s especially frustrating when you see celebrities that advocate curvy and plus size bodies start to shed weight faster than you thought possible. Or when girls who have bodies close to what’s featured on Sports Illustrated speak about how insecure they are about their cankles. They have no idea what it’s like. It always feels like no one can truly understand you.
Although I can’t manufacture a magical pill that can automatically teach you to love yourself, I can offer four tips I’ve used to help me be more accepting of my body.
1. Know that what’s on magazine covers are not real.
I know, I know, you’ve heard this a million times. Photoshop works its magic on already beautiful celebrities to make their bodies appear to be what’s physically impossible. However, have you seen how the transformations take place, step by step? Dove has a wonderful video that goes through the entire process. What makes it more realistic is the model featured looks like any average person, not a celebrity superstar, which makes the entire thing more relatable. I have the link attached here, and I implore you to take a look for yourself.
2. Know every person has their own insecurities.
Growing up I didn’t have any siblings, so I never knew how people my age acted behind closed doors. During my first year at university, I finally understood that every girl has their own demons they are in constant battle with. My roommates were beyond amazing; always happy and kind to the rest of the world. Yet I discovered after a couple of months when I saw tears roll down their cheeks, that they held insecurities just as I did. Whether it’s because of acne prone skin, flat and lifeless hair, or love handles, every girl that I lived with had at least one thing about them appearance wise that they wish they could change. To be honest with you, I would have never guessed any of it; everyone really is their own worst critic. Even though you feel totally alone, everyone has something they can’t stand or flat-out hate about their bodies.
3. Find parts of your appearance that you love, and cherish them.
I know there’s at least one part of you that you love and makes you smile. Maybe it’s your eyes that look just like your mother’s. Maybe it’s the way your waist cinches in so elegantly that makes every dress you put on look amazing. Or maybe it’s the way your fingers look when you wear your favorite ring. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your legs or your pinkie toe, find ways to enhance what you love about yourself. By no means am I telling you to conceal the parts that you don’t love, but maybe with the extra attention paid to your assets and what you do love about yourself, your insecurities might just slip your mind.
4. If you decide to make any changes, make sure it’s for yourself.
I’m definitely guilty of trying crash diets and finding little success. Thinking back, I realized I went into the whole thing with the wrong mindset. I was too focused on having that bikini body than actually wanting to be healthy. So, before you try a new (and unattainable) lifestyle change, really dig deep and figure out why you want this. Your reason should be for you and you alone, not to impress guys at a club or fit in with your friends or give into the standards set by society. If your actions are motivated by a true desire to improve yourself, you’ll find a way to persevere through the trials any type of change will have on you.
I know the journey towards accepting your body is a difficult one, and one I’m still trying to finish, but if you get anything from this post I hope it’s this: you were given one body in this whole crazy, terrible beautiful life, please know there could never be a more beautiful you.
Featured image via Unsplash