You don’t have to love your body to be body confident
When working towards body confidence, one of the things women often struggle with is believing they can only be body confident if they love every part of their body.
Having a healthy body image doesn’t mean that you have to love, or even like every aspect of your appearance (although if you do, that’s great!).
It’s okay not to like some parts of your body.
Being body confident means taking a balanced view of your looks. It’s not just about identifying what you like or even love – it’s acknowledging, although no dwelling on, what you don’t like.
For some parts of your body, you may feel neutral or indifferent. That doesn’t mean you lack body confidence. A neutral view is still healthy for your body image.
Body confidence comes from accepting your body as a whole – the good, the bad and the neutral!
Remember that acceptance isn’t the same as loving something. You can dislike something about yourself, but not allow it to hold you back. I may not like my nose or thighs much, but I accept they’re part of me. I’m not going to let them stop me living my life to the full.
Without this understanding, some women beat themselves up about their inability to ‘love’ their body.
Body positive messaging along the lines of Love your body, its beautiful can unintentionally leave women feeling they’ve failed because they don’t like all of their body.
If you’re berating yourself for not loving every aspect of your body, stop. You haven’t failed at body confidence. In fact, you might have a much better relationship with your body than you think.
To help you get a clearer perspective on how you really feel about your body, try this exercise:
How you feel about your body exercise
Note down every part of your body from head to toe. Next to each body part, describe it (as objectively as you can) and how you really feel about it.
Here’s some examples of what I wrote:
Hair: long and brunette. I really like my hair. It makes me feel feminine
Eyes: hazel and large. I like them. They make me feel sexy.
Nose: small and stubby. I don’t like it that much, especially in side profile. It makes me feel depressed sometimes.
Thighs: large and rounded. They make me feel self-conscious in a swimsuit.
Hands: long and thin. They’re okay. I don’t have any strong feelings about them.
Writing this out gives you a clear view of how you feel about your body. You may be surprised to discover that you feel neutral about a large proportion of your body. If you do, that’s great. Remember, feeling neutral about your body is still healthy for body image.
Even if you don’t feel great about a number of body parts, balance this against the body parts you do like or feel neutral about.
Finally, ask yourself if you have a balanced view of your body? If not, are your feelings mostly negative, positive or neutral?
Remember, that whatever you feel about your body is perfectly valid. Be gentle with yourself. Wherever you’re at right now with your body confidence is okay. Please don’t judge yourself.
We all have things that we don’t like about our bodies, and it isn’t necessary to love every part of them to be comfortable in your own skin.
In a nutshell
Body confidence does not require that you like everything about your body. There will be parts that you like and parts that you don’t. Achieving balance in the way you feel about your body – acknowledging what you don’t like, but identifying things you like or are okay with is the route to accepting your body.