Body image is a tricky thing to write about. It’s hard to be encouraging about it without being cheesy or cliche. I’ve never responded well to that kind of encouragement. I decided a long time ago I couldn’t simply declare “I love myself” just because some flowery computer graphic told me to. I don’t find that encouraging. I think if you’re going to love yourself you can’t just decide to do it on a whim. Does that make sense?
I feel like you have to learn to love yourself the same way you learn to love any other person. They grow on you. You get used to them. And then eventually, you realize you like all their little mannerisms and quirks and the tiny scar on their hand or they way they flare their nostrils when they’re surprised or their freckles or any of the other things that they might actually be insecure about. You need to do that with you.
Hence “Stare At Your Face Until You Like It.” That’s exactly what I did. I got used to my own face. I’d never been one to admire my own reflection, or even bother to look in a mirror more than once a day. But as soon as I started caring about how I looked, I started loving myself less and less (But that’s a whole other blog post).The point is, I wasn’t used to seeing my face. Or my body for that matter.
For the longest time I thought my nose was too crooked, my eyes were too small, my boobs weren’t big enough, and my lips were too fat (and about a dozen other things but that’s irrelevant). The point is, all of these things were completely untrue. What had started out as examining my face to prove my point eventually turned into the realization that I was dead wrong. My nose is not that crooked, my eyes are perfectly fine, and my lips look great on me. I got used to seeing my face. And it’s a very nice face if I do say so myself. I like my cheekbones, and I like my eyelashes, and just because my nostrils flare sometimes, doesn’t mean I’m ugly, and that little scar on my chin gives me character and I like that too.
And if you’ve got body issues, take off your clothes and look in the mirror. I know it sounds stupid
and unintentionally erotic but it helps. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with admiring your own body, so lock yourself in your room, get in your underwear, and break out that full length mirror. You need to get used to your body the same way you need to get used to your face. I’m not saying you have to stare at yourself for like, ten minutes straight, but if you’re changing your clothes or feeling good or whatever, go look in the mirror. Admire your own boobs, dammit. They’re great. Who doesn’t like boobs? And your butt looks great too. Butts are great. And if you’re kinda soft in some places that’s great too (I bet you give fantastic hugs). And if you’re kinda thin in some places that’s still great (I bet you give fantastic hugs too). It’s all great. All of you is great.
It is a very gradual thing, though. This doesn’t happen immediately. And before anything else happens you first need to allow yourself like how you look. I’ve always thought it was too arrogant or rude to call yourself pretty, which is really stupid. And I still can’t take a compliment. But I just thought that’s how it’s supposed to be. You wait for someone else to call you pretty and then you say “oh gosh no, you look so much better!” even if you don’t mean that. That was a hard thing for me to get over. I used to look in the mirror and think I looked good, then the little voice in my head would change my mind.
You have no right saying you’re pretty.
What about all those other times you looked bad?
You don’t look half as good without makeup.
What about all the people who look better than you?
You’re nothing compared to them.
But one day I decided it’s okay for me to like myself, and that little voice shut up. If I’m being completely honest, I think it had something to do with tumblr. When I joined tumblr I suddenly had access to this hoard of uplifting commentary on body image and I saw all these different types of people write about how they were confident with their bodies, no matter what they looked like. But I think the impactful part of it all was that there were other people encouraging them. It wasn’t just a sticker that said “Love Yourself”. It was a real person, declaring that she had “flaws,” but she loved herself regardless. And there were people applauding her. It wasn’t so much her declaration of self love that opened my mind as much as the realization that other people think its okay for someone to love themself. It’s not selfish, or arrogant, or makes you any less likeable in any way. You can love yourself. You should love yourself.
Moral of the story: You are beautiful. [And so am I ;)]
P.s. I really hope i got my point across. I’ve tried to write about this several times and i never liked how it turned out. I might try this again later.