Do you have a girlfriend who’s always shit talking her body and talking about losing 10 pounds constantly? Or is it you who tells your friends, “I wish I had your body, your body is perfect.” Hate to break it to you, but you’ll never have your friend’s body, nor will you have a different body shape.
In sixth grade, I was told by some mean boys that if I lost 10 pounds, I would have a boyfriend. At twelve years old, I didn’t even know what a scale was, or why I should feel bad about my weight. But it took a few guys to screw up how I viewed my 5 foot 4 inch, 112-pound body at age twelve.
All of a sudden, I noticed how skinny my other friends were and how I felt fat and no longer hungry at lunch.
Those inferior feelings of not being good enough continued until I was 25 or 26. After a few months of talking to a therapist, however, she was able to convince me that I was beautiful and worthy of self-love and love from others.
Need tips to help you stop talking smack about your body and start being kinder to yourself? Here’s what my therapist taught me.
1. Do something every day that will make YOU feel beautiful.
For years, and I mean years, I wore all black everything. I’m talking from head to toe. My hair was black, my nails were black, and every item of clothing I wore was black.
So I started wearing a little bit of color every day. I changed my hair color, started adding some highlights, and wore less dramatic make up. I painted my nails a fabulous red to spice things up, wore new bright-colored zip-ups, and found myself bouncing to teach yoga, not walking with heavy feet.
2. Exercise in a place where it feels like a judgment-free zone.
I don’t know if a truly judgment-free zone exists, but I’d say yoga studios are pretty damn close. The fitness studios where I practice yoga in Seattle feel welcoming and friendly. I don’t put on make up: just a tank top and capris, and I’m at home.
3. Be with people who will bring you up and get rid of the people who don’t.
Simply stated, right? I LOVED my college friends, but I had to distance myself from them because every time I was invited to hang out, it was for a party. I can’t party anymore; my career, spirit, and goals have no chance of survival in a college party scene every weekend.
Distancing yourself from people who want to dim your light can be tough, especially if you’ve been friends for a long time, or if you have mutual friends, but it must be done in order for you to grow.
The last thing I’d say about building self-love is finding confidence from within. Doing the outside stuff helps, like going to yoga, talking to positive people, and adding color to your wardrobe, but it is the internal confidence that shines from within you.