August 15, 2013

What Image Do You See in the Mirror?

Robyn-braidBody image is something that so many of us struggle with throughout our lives and it’s something that I, myself, have struggled with as well. As a featured Today Show expert on this very topic I’ve been able to dive more deeply into the root causes behind nonchalantly using the phrases like, “ugh, I look so gross today”, “I don’t like my legs at all” and more. What I’m finding is that so many of our own body image issues are stemming from how our mothers, aunts, sisters, or other female role models see themselves when they look in the mirror. As a young girl, you think that your mom is the most beautiful person on the planet…until one day you hear her call herself fat, her arms gross, or some other super negative description that is degrading to her own body image, and thus begins the shift of your view of your own body.

For the first time, you look at your role model and think, “if she thinks that she’s ugly/fat, then what must I be?” And then the cycle starts. You start to see yourself, the image staring back at you in the mirror, as less than perfect. Not “normal”. What you once never thought much about, has now become something that you think about all the time. When you wake up, you think about what you’re going to wear that day that doesn’t make you look huge, washed out, lanky, etc. When putting on your make-up you’re thinking about what blemishes you can cover up with foundation so that people don’t see your imperfections and flaws.

But I dare you to challenge yourself and ask the question, aren’t these “flaws” and parts that are uniquely YOU what makes all of us individuals? What we see as a flaw of our own might be what attracts another person to us. I’ve known people who love to laugh and smile, hide their smiles because they are self-conscious about their teeth, yet, they have beautiful smiles and that is exactly what someone might be noticing first and fall in love with!

It’s time that we take back our thoughts on our own body image.  Gone are the days when we look in the mirror and think, “I look fat” or “my hair is so frizzy”.  It’s time that we embrace these things about ourselves and celebrate them.  Recently, as I was having dinner with some of my girlfriends, one exclaimed that she wished that she had a better figure, yet, I’ve always thought of her as incredibly beautiful.  Start to release some of those negative thoughts in your head about what you see in the mirror and replace them with mantras like, “I am beautiful”, “I love myself”, “I love my body”.   If that doesn’t feel authentic to you, you can start with, “I am working towards loving my body”, or comment on something that you authentically feel is beautiful.  The human body is incredible and can do some amazing things and it deserves our LOVE.  So my challenge to you today is to LOVE your body (the one that you’re in right now, not the one you dream about having).  Love it, treat it well, and be kind to it.  It’s the only one you’ve got and it will thank you each day for the kindness you show towards it.  Give yourself a great big hug and smile at yourself in the mirror each day.  It will change your life forever. [Tweet that!]

I’d love to continue this conversation with you. Tell me in the comments below, how have you thought negatively about your body? What do you hear yourself constantly saying when you look in the mirror (hint, you probably said it this very morning)?  What loving thoughts can you commit to replacing those negative statements with?  And thanks for being so open and honest.  🙂

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