Summer is here!
Kids are out of school; the North Carolina humidity is upon us and pools are open! This can be a time of year where we are (whether we want to or not) bombarded with messages about how our body should or shouldn’t look.
You can’t go to the grocery store without seeing images of perfectly chiseled abs and flat stomachs on the magazines at self-check-out. So, with all this influence swirling around us, how do we view our bodies in a healthy way and how do we build body confidence? Let’s talk about it.
Explore what is driving your negative thoughts about your body. If it’s fashion magazines, let’s dive in and ask a few questions. Do these people look like people you know? What percentage of those photos are Photoshopped? (Probably all)
It can be easy to compare our bodies with ‘perfect’ bodies that are not real. It could also be that social media is driving your negative thoughts. Maybe a friend posts a swimsuit selfie and you wish your arms looked like hers.
Sometimes we can channel negative thoughts about ourselves into tangible, healthy goals. If you want to work on your arms, can you make goals to do gym exercises that work on tone or building muscle? It’s important to see your own personal growth with those changes and not comparing your growth and progress to someone else.
We all have different body types and it’s important to celebrate them. Check out positive body conscious companies like Aerie that promote all body types instead of having one ideal for beauty.
What do I do for myself versus for others?
This question can be tied to the previous example as well. If I want to start working out my arms, am I doing it for others and appearances or am I doing it for myself?
When you wear make-up or get a pedicure, does it feel good for you or for others? Does it make you feel confident to dress up in a suit and tie or to work out at the gym? When you choose healthy food choices, is that for you? It’s important to evaluate your body self-care and the purpose behind it.
Think about what your body can do. We often focus on what we don’t like about our bodies that we forget all the amazing things that our body can do. Some examples are: run, hike, swim, breathe, touch, experience the world, give birth to a child, build a house, create, paint, etc. We can dance, jump, play sports, yoga, and kickbox. What does your body let you experience, or feel or see?
Staying with the above example, you start working out your arms and now you can do 5 pull-ups when at first, you could one. Embrace everything that your body can do.
Hope these tips are helpful in your journey in building healthy body confidence for this summer and beyond. Need additional support in developing positive self-image? Connect with me at FFT.
Renee Pugh, Licensed Clinical Social Worker