Do You Hate The Way You Look?
As the weather warms up here in the Southern Hemisphere, the ‘get-your-body-Summer-ready’ ads and ‘quick fix’ skin fads are starting to roll in. I’m seeing posts on social media, flashy billboards on the streets, flyers in my letterbox and posters outside gyms all spreading the same inadvertent message - ‘You’re not good enough how you are, let us help you upgrade and look better!’ Urgh, it makes my blood boil!
As someone who struggled to love and accept her body for many years, I know the huge negative influence that these messages can have on how women (and men!) feel about themselves. The particularly sad thing is that, because these messages are so constant, many of us are brainwashed to believe that there actually is something wrong with us (there’s not) and that we need to be skinnier/have ‘better’ skin/look different in order to be worthy (you don’t).
If you’re someone who doesn’t have a very positive relationship with yourself and is unhappy with the way you look, I want you to know that you’re not alone. I don’t want you to berate yourself for wanting to look different (heck, you’re talking to the woman who tried every diet, skin treatment, meal replacement and exercise regime under the sun in her 20’s in an effort to look ‘better’), but I do want you to know that there is another way - a way that won’t have you looking at yourself with disgust in the mirror, wishing to look different, compulsively weighing yourself or counting calories. It’s a way that feels joyful, light and freeing!
It takes time, patience and a whole lot of self compassion to begin to appreciate the skin you’re in, but here’s how you can begin to make that change ...
Remember, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL just the way you are.
I know, I know, it sounds cliche, BUT IT’S TRUE! For years I’d set myself ‘beauty goals’, thinking that I’d find happiness at the end of the rainbow (aka when I lost 5kg, healed my psoriasis or did an intense seven day detox) - but I NEVER did! Yes, I felt better for a while, but my feelings of self hate/loathing/disgust always returned and had me setting new goals for myself. It was one big repetitive and sad cycle!
It wasn’t until I began to actually like myself, that my endless goal setting stopped. Did not setting goals lead to me putting on weight, breaking out and eating poorly? No! The only thing that changed was how I felt about myself - and that was more kind and loving! I love the idea of encouraging people to live a healthy lifestyle, but not when weight is the main focus. Life actually feels so much better when we remember just how beautiful we actually are!
Educate yourself on YOUR body’s wants and needs
I spent most of my 20’s chasing the ‘ideal’ bikini body. I starved myself, obsessively exercised (and hated every minute of it!), jumped on the meal replacement bandwagon and tried every diet plan I could get my hands on. All this did was make my weight yoyo and lead to me forming a very negative relationship with my body.
It wasn’t until I started to make peace with myself; tune in, rather than focussing all of my attention outwards; and educate myself on MY body’s wants and needs, that things started to shift - both physically and emotionally. What I learned was that everyone’s body is different and what my body needs to thrive, is different from what your body needs to thrive. There’s no miracle products, pills or regimes! What DOES work is finding out which products, foods and movement styles work for you.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sharing this to say that you need to change, AT ALL, but I do know how energy depleting and emotionally draining it can be to exercise your butt off, try every skincare product under the sun and experiment with different ways of eating, and still not see the shifts you’re hoping for. When you learn what works for you and your body, creating shifts becomes much easier.
In saying this, I want to remind you of my first point - all the changes in the world won’t gift you the feeling you’re looking for if you don’t first realise your intrinsic beauty and worth. That really is where it all begins!
Look after yourself!
I cannot tell you how much my life changed when I began to prioritise looking after myself. Life can be hectic and we’re often over stimulated (hello social media!) and running frantically from A to B. When we slow down and do kind things for ourselves, with no motive but to relax and decompress, we begin to look at life differently. It sounds crazy, but it’s true! The things we once placed lots of importance on (like losing weight) start to matter that little bit less, our negative thoughts slow down and life feels lighter and more enjoyable. It won’t happen overnight, but done consistently over time, you’ll begin to see small shifts appear. Try it for yourself and see!
My favourite ways to look after myself are to take a bath, go out for a delicious breakfast by myself and read a book on the beach. Remember what lights you up and begin to prioritise doing these things at least once a week for 30 minutes!
You are who you spend your time with, so choose good people!
If you surround yourself with people who are constantly berating the size of their waist or look of their skin, it’s natural that you’re going to feel pretty bad about yourself too! Choose to only have people in your life who raise you up, feed you good thoughts, have your back and make life that little bit sweeter (I call them my HYPE QUEENS! HA!) On a similar note, I also suggest unfollowing anyone on social media who makes you feel less than! You don’t need them!
Regardless of what size you are, or how your skin look, this summer is yours lovely lady! Own it and embrace the skin you’re in! YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL! If you are looking for support to improve your health and reach your goals holistically and healthily, I invite you to join The Health Style Emporium (HSE) - the 16 week health and wellness program I coach in! You can find out more here!