learn to love your body

Truth bomb: accepting yourself and the way you look is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do.

Society doesn’t make it easy. Instagram and TV are constantly shoving perfection down our throats. They make you feel like you’re not worthy of love unless you look like a supermodel.

And so it begins. The shame. The body hatred. You hate looking at yourself in the mirror and start hiding your body.

It has to stop.

Body hate is dangerous. It makes you do stupid things – like going on drastic diets or burying yourself at home – that damage both your physical and mental health.

It’s not worth it.

You know what’s worth it instead? Learning to love your body the way it is. I know it’s not easy. The road ahead is full of obstacles, tears and pain.

But learning to love your body is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It’ll bring you happiness, improve your self-esteem and attract positive people into your life.

Here’s how to learn to love your body. I hope these tips will help you as much as they’ve helped me:

1. Tame Your Inner Critic

Here’s a novel idea: what if you treated your body as your BFF?

So what if you have cellulite or your nose is slightly bigger than you’d like it to be? Would you tell your BFF she’s worthless because her thighs are a bit dimply?

Of course not! So stop saying those nasty things to yourself! Treat yourself like you’d treat your BFF. Speak kindly about your body. Or if you can’t, focus on all your strong qualities instead. Like your sense of humour. Your kindness. Your generosity.

While we’re on the subject, don’t criticise other people’s bodies either. Just put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if you heard someone call you fat? It’s not pleasant, isn’t it?

So don’t do it to others. If your friends start commenting about someone else’s body, either tell them to stop it or change the subject.

No one has the right to make others feel bad and unworthy for the way they look.

2. Focus On Your Best Features

Have you noticed that us humans like to focus on all the negative stuff? If you don’t like your belly, that’s all you think about. If you dislike your cellulite, it becomes the centre of your attention.

I believe these “flaws” are what makes you unique. But I know that, for you, right now, that may be hard to imagine. How can you go from hate to love and stop obsessing about them?

My fave trick is to take the focus away from them. If you really don’t like something about your body, learn to play it down and emphasize your favourite features instead.

Don’t like your lips? Wear nude lipsticks and wear more dramatic and bolder looks on your eyes to attract attention to that area. Hate your hips? Wear clothes that draw attention to your torso instead.

Then, take it a step further. Focus on your inner qualities. If you’re feeling down because of the way you look, take paper and pen and start writing down all your positive qualities. Are you intelligent, funny and generous? Loyal and creative? Write them all down and look at them!

Those are the things that make you really and truly beautiful, the reasons why you deserved to be loved and why people around you love you for.

Focus on them, not your cellulite.

Related: Get Over It, Cellulite Is Normal

3. People Come In All Shapes And Sizes (And They’re All Beautiful)

Who says you need to be sticky thin to be beautiful?

Nonsense. Look around you. Just as people have different eye and hair colours, they also have different heights, body types, shapes and sizes. Truth bomb: they’re all gorgeous!

Thank goodness we don’t all look the same. Can you imagine how boring the world would be if we were? Heck, models and celebs all look the same, you can hardly tell them apart these days.

Why would you wanna look just like everyone else when you can be your unique and beautiful you?

Your weight doesn’t define who you are. Your inner self does. So throw away that scale and never let your weight affect your self-esteem.

It doesn’t matter how you look. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Never let anyone make you think otherwise!

Related: 5 Reasons To Break Up With Your Scale Right Now

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4. Stop Reading Women Magazines

When I was younger I would devour every magazine I could get my hands on… and then I’d feel depressed because everyone looked so slim and pretty and toned. I felt so insignificant in comparison.

Stop reading them was one of the best things I ever did. Not being exposed to so many fake images on a daily basis helped my self-esteem a lot.

Remember: the photos you see in magazines just portray an image of beauty that NO ONE can attain in real life. Not even the most beautiful celebs and models look like that in real life.

Whenever they shoot photos for a magazine, there is always a team of stylists, hair stylists, makeup artists etc that helps women look their best. They’re also told which way to pose so that the lights on stage can help disguise certain flaws. Even then, all images are airbrushed and digitally enhanced anyway.

These images are a beautiful fantasy. But they’re NOT real. There’s no way anyone can achieve such unattainable standards of beauty. Stay away from them!

Related: Why I Stopped Reading Women’s Magazines (And You Should, Too)

5. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others

We are all guilty of this. If you see someone thin, you wish you were thinner. If you see someone with blonde hair, you wish you were blonde, too. If you see someone tall, you wish you were taller… You get the drift.

It’s time to stop it. You’re aways gonna find someone that’s taller than you, thinner than you, has bigger lips than you. Comparing yourself to them is just useless. Nothing good ever comes out of it.

There is nothing wrong in the way you look. You’re unique. One of a kind.

I’m sure there are lots of people out there that would love to have your nose, your eyes, your body shape and all the things you despise about yourself.

Why not appreciate them instead?

Don’t compare yourself to others. You’re beautiful the way you are.

What’s your relationship with your body like and how can you learn to love yourself more? Share your thoughts in the comments below.