The perception of beauty varies for each person however, media and cultural influences set the trending beauty standards. Although beauty trends change over time, there is a constant psychological burden the general population faces from societal influences.
This psychological burden consists of decreased self-esteem, decreased body satisfaction, and increased risk of depression. One researcher even highlights how there is an epidemic of beauty sickness (TedxUCONN 2013). In the video, the speaker shares the extensive lengths people take to feel, look and be beautiful.
I get it. As a tomboy my whole life and growing up with all brothers, I remember walking into Victoria’s Secret stores with friends and feelings out of place. The photos on the wall did not represent me (or the average women). I remember wishing I had the features of a model, or knew how to wear makeup flawlessly, or had an idea of how to dress fashionably.
The thing is, beauty comes within. I know. It sounds cheesy. But it really does!
“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”― Kahlil Gibran
It’s like those jokes going around right now about how Pete Davidson gets into relationships with beautiful, intelligent women. All of the ladies hinting at men that personality weighs more than appearances. Pete has a personality!
So if beauty comes within, then that means anyone struggling with body image, with confidence, and with a difficult mindset, can solve the root issue in their control. An individual cannot control the mass media but an individual can control their mindset.
Below are ways you can control feeling beautiful and confident in your body and in your mind:
Create a “Body Appreciation List”
Create a list of what you like about your body and what you appreciate about your body. When you look in the mirror, what do you see in a positive way?
Here is an example, “I like my eyes, my smile, and my hands. I appreciate that my body is healthy, that my body is strong, and that my body allows me to practice yoga.” Another example may be, “I like my arms and my hair. I appreciate that my body allows me to breath, to think, and to smile.”
Read this list each morning and before bedtime.
Wear clothing that highlights features you like AND makes you feel great.
You may find this step easier after putting your “Body Appreciation List” together. Given that each person is unique, you may want to try on different outfits to figure out what works for you. For me personally, I have learned that I like looser-fitted tops and tighter bottoms. My outfits tend to help me with my body image.
Be kind to yourself.
This means cut the negative self-talk! Being cold to yourself does not help change the circumstances. You’ve got this!
You are clearly working on being your best self because you are reading this post. We are all a work in progress. Remind yourself that it is healthy to have “off days” and to feel discouraged but remember, you have awhole community of women here to support you. We know you are doing the best you can and we see how beautiful you are.
Self-care is different for everyone. The definition of self-care is: “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.”
Do what works for you!
Surround yourself with positive people you enjoy being around.
There’s the famous Jim Rohn quote, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Surround yourself with people who inspire you, who make you feel comfortable, and who you can be yourself with.
Identify the triggers.
Identify what triggers your negative thoughts and insecurities. Often times there is a theme and you may need to recognize it is time to let certain behaviors, people, or stimulations go. Avoid negative people, negative comments, and negative environments.
Catch yourself being negative, and reply with a positive mindset.
When you catch yourself being harsh or critical in your head, instead of getting mad or upset with yourself, reply with a positive statement. When you practice this enough, you learn to let go of negative thoughts and to think more positively faster.
Avoid comparing yourself.
Comparison serves no one! There are studies upon studies about the dangers of comparison (and social media is a key topic in those). One day I’ll share those studies but for now, know that comparing does not serve you. Focus on your journey.
Remember, you are unique, and that alone makes you beautiful.
In conclusion, you are beautiful in your own way and you are not alone in fighting society’s standards for beauty. By working on your mindset and the tactics provided in this post, you will feel more confident, beautiful, and positive.
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