I’ve had positive body image for as far back as I can remember. Looking back on photos of me in those chubbier, puberty-days and sporting some not-so-flattering outfits, I always asked my mom, “why did you let me wear that?” My mom always responded, “you liked it.”
I think mothers are a big portion of a young woman’s own body image, and mine never commented on my appearance other than to say it looked beautiful. (She might tell me something wasn’t appropriate for a young lady or an event, but she never commented on my weight.) For that, I think I owe a lot of my confidence to her. Her, or my dad, never made my worth about how I looked. My worth came from my heart.
But for those who may not have had such a positive experience growing up, there are ways to retrain the negative thoughts evoked from a mirror or a bathing suit. You can see that you are far more than the skin that holds everything together so practically; your beauty is in the soul it encompasses.
And while even the most confident people still need reminders on how to stay positive about their body; in a world that inundates them with images of unattainable perfection, I wanted to share 10 ways that help me remain body confident.
10 ways I practice body positivity:
1. When my husband compliments me or tells me something he loves, I believe him. It’s so easy for us to say, “nooo you can’t like this because x,y,z” but your significant other sees you in a completely different light. Believe them. And then the next time you see that part of you smile because you remember it’s special. My husband loves my calves (among other things 😜) so I do too. ❤️
2. Be rebellious. Advertisements, bikini models, weightloss supplements all tell you that you’re not good enough. That the world doesn’t want to see imperfections. I send a big fat middle finger to that. I like to be rebellious in this way. Extra belly fat? Stretch marks? Cellulite? Yeah I’m going to have as much fun as possible on the beach wearing a bikini. Be a rebel when it comes to society’s expectations of you (except being a good human – definitely be that 😅). I always tell my hubby at the beach, “I love her confidence” whether it’s a perfectly toned mother in a thong bikini or a curvy girl taking photos in the waves. Don’t let anyone’s opinion dim your shine.
3. I remind myself I’m allowed and encouraged to be happy with me. My confidence doesn’t stem from looking good (I’m covered in flaws), it stems from God reminding me that I am wonderfully made (flawed and still unconditionally loved). My heart should be the only thing up for judgement. Plus it’s way more fun to be in the game than sitting on the sidelines.
4. My tribe. I’m surrounded mostly by women who uplift, encourage, and love me. My sister is confident in her skin and so is my mom. I’ve only ever seen her accept the many stretch marks 4 babies gave her, and I want to be the example she set for me. Does your tribe comment on your body? You might want to distance yourself from them. Your girls should rally around you and on the days you don’t feel your best, remind you that you’re beautiful and loved.
5. EXERCISE!! This one’s huge! Moving my body. Strengthening it. Working it to the point where I want to give up is very therapeutic. When you exercise you go from, “ugh my body sucks it isn’t small or flat or tight” to “holy cow I can squat and jump and run – this feels amazing!” Exercise makes you appreciate this incredible vessel you’ve been given. Find how you like to move and watch yourself fall in love more with your abilities than your outward appearance.
6. Flattering clothing. Feeling like a million bucks usually comes down to fit!! I feel the most confident in clothing or swimwear that complements my body. Like a wrap or waist-defining dress can have me hair flipping while an oversized boxy sweater leaves me self-conscious. Shop and purchase clothes that complement your body and you will see your curves (or lack thereof) in a whole new light. 😍
7.) Positive self reflection. If I pass by a mirror or see my reflection after a shower, I immediately hone in on the things I like. I’ve conditioned my brain to notice and applaud what I see as assets without having to even take notice of anything else. Also, I’m intentional with reflecting on what my body can do instead of what it doesn’t. Loose skin on your tummy? That belly grew a person or is really strong from so much laughter! That belly helps get you out of bed in the morning and works properly. Your mindset shifts from seeing something that needs fixed to gratefulness in its ability!
8.) FOMO. I know FOMO gets a bad rap but it really does make me not worry about what I look like and enjoy myself. I went on a trip to the coast and was so excited to go snorkeling I forgot my bathing suit. I had to borrow one from someone who was much smaller than me – and oooh boy was I hanging out! But again, the fact that I was about to get in the water and swim with sea life farrrr outweighed what I might have looked like. Adventures are calling!!
9.) Body positive role models. I follow people on social media who look like me. I’m an average size 10-12 with a large bust and a few stretch marks from puberty – and then a few more from pregnancy. I follow women who represent my body style not only in fashion but also in a public influence type of way. One of my absolute favorite things is women being unapologetically themselves! 🙌🏻
Here are some of my favorite accounts on Insta who aren’t afraid to be themselves:
10.) Love. I love love. I love people. I strive to live a life that is abundant in love. How can a life so full of love hate the body that God created? I don’t know. I just can’t do it. I’m far too obsessed with sharing a message of positivity and truly believing that people are amazing. And their own negative self image holds them back from seeing that potential. YOU ARE WONDERFULLY MADE! Jesus died to know you. You are highly favored! Over and over God reminds us how incredible each of us are, and I think many of us need to trust Him. Let go of the self doubt, the negative image, the insecurities, and begin to love yourself the way God does. You will feel free. 🕊
What do you think? In what ways do you practice a positive self image?
I hope you realize how special you are. You don’t have to look like her. You can look like you. ❤️