Body Acceptance: Reconciling with the Image in the Mirror and Enjoying Fashion. The term body acceptance may resonate with you a lot more lately. At some point in your life, you’ve probably wished you had that perfect, magazine-worthy body. To get that perfect figure, you may have gone through some unhealthy dietary regimens, grueling exercise routines, and focused on unrealistic beauty stereotypes, weakening your relationship with your bodies.
Today several factors greatly influence the way we perceive ourselves. For example, television media, social networks, magazines, and fashion, among many others, coupled with the growing cultural tendency to lead a fit and active life to have a sculpted body or meet specific beauty standards.
This mentality can wreak havoc not only on how we feel about our bodies but also on our self-esteem since the way we handle what society deems as ‘flaws’ is a determining factor in our well-being and, above all, our mental health.
Digital media and the fashion industry have certainly exacerbated body image issues, but they are not inherently evil. So rather than uselessly attacking them, we will discuss the tools you need to achieve self-acceptance. With these tools, you can enjoy all that fashion offers in a healthy and fun way.
Meaning of body acceptance
Before we get more into the subject, let’s look at all this body acceptance stuff and what it entails.
Achieving body acceptance means,
- Having a compliant and conscious relationship between your ‘flaws’ and virtues, accepting that they will always coexist in your body.
- Not constantly fighting against your flaws.
- Understanding that you are more than your physical body. Additionally, you should understand that how others see us is often different from how we see ourselves. Everything is subjective, so a flaw that you are incredibly conscious of may be completely unnoticeable to someone else.
- Body acceptance implies that you accept your physique as it is and that it will change with time, age, and diet, among others.
- Giving up the need to have a perfect body no matter what.
The approaching arrival of summer and body acceptance
Summer is approaching, and the days of diving into beaches and pools are getting closer and closer, which means bathing suits and skin-bearing clothing are coming back in style.
Therefore, the arrival of summer can make many people feel frustrated, no matter their age, that they still haven’t managed to get the perfect beach body.
So, with this article, we hope to inspire you to enjoy summer without worrying about your body image.
Imagine that you have planned a dream vacation – that you are going to go to the sea and meet people you haven’t seen for a long time. Then imagine that you go on that vacation and don’t think once about how you look. Seems unlikely, right?
We know it’s not easy, but since summer is just around the corner, it is an opportune time to start working on body acceptance so you can go to the sea or the pool without covering up or battling intrusive thoughts about your appearance.
So let’s talk about some steps you can take to help you battle body image issues.
Steps to a better relationship with our body
This summer, be kind to yourself
As we have already mentioned, going to a public place in a bathing suit can be a daunting experience when you’re not comfortable with your body.
Exposing ourselves to the public eye can make us anxious and perhaps even embarrassed, thinking that others see us as we see ourselves.
So, we advise that you take a step back and think about how you want to spend your summer – enjoying it or remaining uncomfortable in your own skin. If you would rather enjoy your summer, try to prioritize it. Whenever you hold yourself back from spending time at the beach with friends because you’re embarrassed about your appearance, think about what’s more important – creating a memorable, lasting experience and enjoying yourself, or making sure people don’t see you in a bathing suit.
Now, if you go out and start feeling anxious about your body at any point, do a mini exercise. Look around you at the other people there enjoying themselves and note how they are different from you. Try to spot things that you admire about their bodies, features that may not be socially accepted as ‘beautiful’ but that you still like, and then try to do the same with yourself. What is one feature of your body that you think is beautiful? Try to list all the positive things about your appearance mentally, and hopefully, you should start to cheer up.
If it makes you feel more comfortable, nowadays, many swimsuit options help to hide those extra rolls and cover areas that we may not feel comfortable showing. So just look for the suit that makes you feel the most comfortable and enjoy the sunshine.
Do some social media clean-up
Social media is a wonderful tool. We can find practically everything on social media nowadays. It has long ceased to be a means to share only photos and videos of our daily lives and is now a vehicle for commerce, news, and entertainment, among others.
However, social media is a double-edged sword. Just as we find great content to help and inspire us, there is also a lot that can trigger our greatest insecurities and anxieties.
Some accounts can cause us discomfort because they showcase unrealistic beauty standards. However, photos online, whether amateur or professional, are often retouched with Photoshop, so it’s essential to understand that the ideal beauty you see in magazines and digital media is unattainable. There are no perfect bodies – such a thing doesn’t exist, so stop holding yourself to a standard that no one, not even the models you see online, can actually achieve.
Another problematic standard we find on social media is that of nutrition and fitness accounts. These types of accounts may make you feel like you’re not doing enough for yourself, your body, or your health. Of course, this content is not necessarily produced to make people feel insecure, but it can often result in this if the person viewing it is already struggling with their body image.
So, your goal should be to determine how those accounts make you feel. Do they satisfy you or encourage you to make positive changes in your life? Or, on the contrary, do they make you feel bad about yourself or that you are not enough? If the latter, unfollow those accounts. Block them and some of the tags they use if you have to. You’re in control of your social media experience, so why would you continue viewing content that makes you insecure if you don’t have to?
By ‘eat healthy, we don’t mean dieting to lose weight. Food is our main energy source, so drastic dietary changes can result in severe negative effects. A poor diet tends to cause health problems, which over time, can become serious.
Additionally, a bad relationship with food can lead to mental health problems and, consequently, issues with your body image and your closet.
Food should not be seen as an enemy but as an ally to our body and our health, hence the importance of eating well and eating healthy, to provide the body with nutrients and not junk food that can harm us.
Practice a physical activity
Exercise releases endorphins, which is the hormone of happiness, and if we are happy, we’re less likely to worry about flaws and insecurities. On the contrary, exercise can help us combat intrusive thoughts.
Do not see exercise as torture or something forced to achieve an ideal weight or a sculpted body. Instead, do it to feel healthy and stay active, and you’ll likely feel a lot more motivated and see better results.
Physical activity also helps our mental health, so choose an activity that catches your attention and causes you pleasure and excitement to practice. If it is outdoors, all the better.
Seek harmony and relax every day
A very flattering practice that helps us appreciate our surroundings is to take a moment in silence to connect with the place where we are, whether it is our home or somewhere else.
This can help your peace of mind. When taking this moment, let go of any thought that’s not kind and compassionate towards yourself and your body. This is a helpful practice for facilitating self-love and acceptance.
Know your body and your closet
Last but not least, knowing your body, its morphology, and what kind of clothes suit it best is an excellent step so that when we look in the mirror, we like the reflection looking back at us. Wearing clothes that we’re comfortable in can provide us with the security and confidence to feel beautiful and stop fighting with our closets every day.
Achieving a harmonious relationship with your body is a long process that you must cultivate and work on patiently. Still, above all, you should approach it with a lot of self-love and kindness towards yourself.