Dispel negative thoughts about body image

Ah, springtime. The sun is shining – well, theoretically – birds are singing, the days are getting longer and the weather is warmer. This means spring and summer clothes are reappearing out of the depths of your closet. Suddenly, you find yourself wishing you could go back to bulky sweaters that hid the five pounds you gained at Christmas and resolved – and forgot – to lose by St. Patrick’s Day.

For me, warmer weather means tank tops and shorts. Unfortunately, for reasons beyond my knowledge, my mother’s Sicilian skin genes did not get passed down to me. I was blessed with the Irish, Welch, Swedish and Dutch skin of my father. In other words, I’m super pale.

This tends to make me self-conscious, especially when my bronzed friends stand next to me in pictures. I’m also self-conscious about buying certain bathing suits or wearing certain outfits. Then again, who isn’t?

I’m not the skinniest person, nor am I on the opposite end, but my average body has flaws that I would like to get rid of. While others may or may not see them, I do, definitely. I can name 10 things off the top of my head I hate about my appearance. I won’t list them here, both for your sake and mine. But my inner judge makes it hard for me to accept compliments. 

But you know what? I’m sick of looking in the mirror and seeing nothing but flaws. I know it’s human nature, but it’s ridiculous that putting ourselves down and comparing ourselves to airbrushed models and celebrities is the norm.

Girls and guys alike have these unrealistic ideals for themselves, and I think that needs to change. If you are feeling self-conscious, go shopping with friends and pick flattering outfits for each other. Also, giving someone a compliment can go a long way. It can jumpstart a process for them to repair their self-image. 

Another idea is to say at least one positive thing about yourself in front of the mirror every day. This will help you start to have a healthy self-image. You don’t always have to think of a body image-related thing; you can compliment something about your personality, like your sense of humor. The important thing to remember is it has to be about you. 

Now, you can also improve your self-image by improving your appearance. If you want a flatter stomach, that takes work, but is not impossible. Go to the gym or start a workout regimen at home. Do it with a roommate, a friend or a significant other. Make sure to be safe about working out. Do not overdo it – start slow and work at your own pace.

Eating healthier is also key. Find a safe diet, approved by someone who knows their stuff. Do not crash diet. Work to stay healthy and fit, not to be America’s Next Top Model.

Okay, I know you are reading this and thinking, “Wow, some of this stuff sounds corny” or “Really, does she think I have the time for this?” But think about it: what’s the point of beating yourself up with body-image issues if you can do something about them?

God made us the way he wants us to be. Sometimes I forget that God  made me and he loves me the way I am. I also have a great family and awesome friends who love me for who I am. I may not always see what they see, but I have to believe what they see is there. And as for those compliments I have a hard time accepting? I should let them soak in and boost my confidence.

Sometimes I feel that my boyfriend has to say I’m pretty, but that’s not true. He wants to because that’s how he sees me. Maybe I should learn to look at myself the way he does.

So if the springtime wardrobe has you down and the idea of a being in a bathing suit makes you cringe, remember to stay positive. You aren’t alone. Remember, you’re more than your flaws.


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