28 Jun Overcome teenage body image issues by adding self-respect and self-care to your self-love list
Teenage body image issues are very real, and this is the fifth blog in our mini-series discussing the topic.
Last week we explored how our thoughts, feelings and emotions are an inside job, and so this week, I want to share the importance of self-respect and self-care and how to add them to your self-love list. You will gain lots of hints and tips from this article, so before you read on, please be in a position to makes notes in your journal or electronic device.
“Respect yourself and others will respect you.”
Growing your self-respect – top tips for a positive teenage body image
As you develop self-respect for yourself, you will naturally want to focus on self-care too. When you have self-respect, you automatically feel better about yourself and want to take good care of yourself.
Make a note of these top tips and practise them as you go.
Self-respect tip #1: Stop comparing
You may need to pull away from Instagram influencers and filtered photos of friends and so-called beautiful people. Give yourself a break, replace the finger scroll with feel-good media, and positive content to learn something beneficial or insightful. Seek out inspiring memes, YouTube videos or movies with motivating stories. My favourite recommendations would be Inside Out, The Greatest Showman, A Wrinkle in Time, Wonder or Gifted. The ultimate goal is to remove yourself from comparisons and simply be inspired.
Self-respect tip #2: Stop the hating habit
Comparing yourself to others, playing negative self-talk on repeat about how good they look and how you don’t have this or that will turn into self-hate. You’ve probably done it so many times that it’s become a habit.
It’s time to change this terrible habit and stop the biggest bully you’ve ever encountered from beating you up every day. That’s you! Self-bullying is the negative self-talk voice in your head that’s turned into self-hate.
You wouldn’t allow anyone else to say such nasty things about you, so why do you display them? Make a conscious effort to notice when you self-hate and catch the words. Catch the voice in the moment and tell it to shut up.
Self-respect tip #3: Use positive affirmations and incantations
As you tell the negative voice to shut up, you are more able to take control of your thoughts and emotions. Choose to replace the negative thoughts with a couple of positive affirmations or incantations. Drown out the negative with the positive.
Repeat the affirmations or incantations over and over and create new habits. Try these on for size and write them down so that you can refer back to them:
‘I used to think that perfect was the only way to be and now I know that all I need is here inside of me. I appreciate and honour myself and when push comes to shove, all I ever have to do is add a little bit of love’.
‘I had to be the best, better than the rest. But now I know I am good as gold and life is not a test. I celebrate my accomplishments but realise they are not me because I love myself. I am all I ever need to be.’
Learning such mantras by heart and repeating them will fill your mind with self-love and clear out the self-hate.
Self-respect tip #4: Meaningfully look in the mirror
When you look in the mirror, gaze past your physical attributes and look deeply into yourself. Acknowledge your natural qualities, the gifts inside that make you so wonderful. Acknowledge kindness, authenticity, honesty, care and love etc.
Emotionally, when you are in a great place, you will see your good bits in abundance. Everyone’s body is different. We are all meant to be different, so stop trying to be a body that you’re not and, instead, embrace the beautiful body that you have. Smile at yourself in the mirror and acknowledge your fine attributes out loud. Shout out ‘Wow [name], you have beautiful eyes’ or ‘WOW, you have great cheek bones’ or ‘Holy moly, what a great smile’. I promise you’ll smile as you say it
Self-respect tip #6: Ooze confidence
Breath in new confidence about who you are and give self-validation. That’s all it takes to feel more confident.
I read an article written by a female modelling agency owner who explained that in-demand, well-paid models weren’t chosen because of their fabulous looks. It wasn’t the prettiest or the perfect figures that gained the best modelling jobs. It was the girls who had the most confidence when they showed up. Confidence and self-assurance, not arrogance, is attractive. Create an air of confidence in you and see how well people respond to the new you.
“Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.”
Keep on growing
As you practice the top tips and become more positive and confident about your body and in your skin, your self-respect, self-esteem and self-worth will keep growing.
With healthier self-respect and self-worth, you’ll be more inclined to develop healthier self-care habits. Here are a few more hints to build self-care habits.
Step #1: Start your day with positivity
Listening to beautiful, upbeat music and showering with a juicy-smelling gel will kickstart your senses. Pampering your skin with body lotion, spraying your favourite fragrance or deodorant and getting dressed in vibrant clothing makes you feel mighty fine. Refresh your face and brush those teeth so you can smile with sparkling confidence. Before you know it, you’ll be heading out of the house with your head held high.
Step #2: Put on your rose-tinted glasses
As you head off to your day, choose to wear rose-tinted glasses by consciously looking for the goodness around you. Seek out the positive and be an optimist, always looking on the bright side.
When you do this, you will create positive energy that will affect and infect the people around you. You can be a positive energy leader choosing to surround yourself with only positive people. I promise it will make a massive difference in how you feel about yourself – and how others see you.
Step #3: Reinvent yourself
As you let go of old negative thoughts, you will create new positive ones to reinvent yourself. Swap the ‘got to fix it’ attitude with a ‘got to find it attitude’ and begin a journey of discovery about you – your body, mind and soul.
Step #4: Eat better, feel better
You are what you eat, and as you eat healthier, you will start to feel better and get more active because you will have more energy. It’s weird, but the more energy you use, the more energy you will have! Getting more dynamic will allow you to feel more active. Boosting your energy will release more endorphins, which are your body’s natural feel-good chemicals.
In turn, this will reduce stress and tension and you’ll feel incredible inside. Fantastic for you, nobody else. You will find your style and feel comfortable in your clothes as well as your skin.
Turn an inside job into an outside influence
When you have built the habit of self-respect, self-care and self-love, you will have carried out an incredible inside job! It’s more than okay to be a little selfish to take care of yourself. And I recommend it because it will be time to become self-less and turn the inside job into an outside influence. When you reach this point, you get to:
- Say ‘goodbye’ to people, places and things that cause you to judge yourself, feel bad about yourself
- Commit to people, places and events where you feel so much better
- Redirect the time you used to spend beating yourself up to spending quality time with people, friends and family who you love to be around and who love to be around you
- Be kind to yourself and remind others of the best moments
- Bring the gift of fun and laughter that melts away stress for people
- Acknowledge the beauty and positivity in others that reinforces their inner gorgeousness, lights them up inside and helps them to work on their inside job
- Be the voice of hope, kindness, gratitude and optimism for people and help them to notice the good things
- Become a positive role model for your friends, family and everybody around you
Influencing enough people will create a movement and make it okay to be natural and less okay to be fake. Create a new wave of peer pressure, one of authenticity and being happy with your body.
“Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have.”
Choose the life you want to lead
I am on a mission to reverse the damage to self-esteem and confidence that our media and perfect-image driven world has on young people.
You are beautiful exactly as you are. Body image, especially teenage body image, is a big issue that negatively impacts way too many young people. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed spending time on this mini-series, creating the podcasts, blog articles and soon-to-be eBook.
Please share your thoughts with me, and if you’d like me to explore other topics, I’m always happy to talk about what you need. Just reach out and let me know by email.
Until next week, shine even more brightly. Bye for now.