3 Ways to Love Your Body when You Feel Unbeautiful

Reminding yourself that your are beautiful and worthy is one of the most therapeutic things you can do. Whether you struggle with body dysmorphia or you just tend to be a little too hard on yourself, you deserve to feel better.

What is body dysmorphia?

Between five million and 7.5 million people in the U.S. struggle with diagnosed body dysmorphia. For those who aren’t familiar, body dysmorphia is a mental disorder in which you can’t stop thinking about one or more of your perceived physical flaws. Usually, these flaws are very minor and rarely noticed by others.

But the self-loathing and anxiety that accompanies body dysmorphia can cause the afflicted to avoid doing the things they love because they are so ashamed of their appearance. It is a condition that comes with intense feelings of pain and self-loathing, and it can make living in one’s own body feel like torture.

I would know—I struggled with body dysmorphia for many years.

How I Learned to Love My Body

Having struggled with the mental shame, pain, and toxicity of truly hating aspects of my own body, I can attest that, for me, it all came down to a lack of two things: self love and self worth.

Regaining those things was NOT easy. Having felt utterly betrayed by my own body, I had to practice caring for myself and pampering myself. I had to practice quieting my internal negative dialogue and start feeding the smothered flame of my own confidence. I had to learn how to finally accept myself as the awesome person I am.

Only then was I able to begin shedding the loathing and finally feel at home within my own skin. It took over 10 years. Here are tips that really helped me find my own value and begin to finally love the body that I have.

3 Ways to Love Your Body when You Feel Unbeautiful

1. Gently acknowledge your negativity.

Start confronting your perceived flaws and cultivate a practice of dismissing harsh judgement. I worked with a woman who made me send her the eyeroll emoji every time I had a self-deprecating thought. It wasn’t a punishment—it was a whimsical way to acknowledge the thought without judgement or analysis. In fact, it kind of felt like a fun game! It was just a way to show myself how absurd my self-deprecating thoughts were.

I don’t know about you, but I was great at getting really creative with my insults to myself—I was almost proud of it, which became an incredibly toxic addiction to mental self-flagellation. But these thoughts become so hyperbolic and distorted when you really get rolling, so remind yourself how absurd they are with a silly little nudge every time you have one.

It’s pretty funny when you think about it. What silly, absurd things to think! And all the while, keep thinking to yourself: “I am BEAUTIFUL!”

2. Treat self-love like a piggy bank.

The more coins you put in your self-love piggy bank, the bigger the cash out will be later on. Do nice, pampering, self care things for yourself on a highly regular basis.

Get a massage, indulge in some chocolate, take yourself to a movie, go on an adventurous trip, do whatever makes you happy in the moment. The more you treat yourself like you’re worthy of love, the more you will learn to actually love yourself as you are. Treat yourself to little treats and indulgences regularly and often.

And remember, money doesn’t have to be an issue. There are plenty of ways to make yourself feel special without spending money. Go for a soothing hike or adventurous dip in a lake before work. Dress to the nines to stay in and cook yourself a fantastic dinner. Get out the coconut oil and pamper yourself with some self-massage while you listen to your favorite album. Get creative, because you deserve all of it.

3 Ways to Love Your Body when You Feel Unbeautiful

3. Create a confidence trigger.

Develop a way to trigger a mindset shift and feel wonderful about yourself. When you feel yourself descending into the swirling hell of self deprecation, create a habitual trigger to stop your growing misery in its tracks.

When you’re feeling your most hideous and ugly, put on a fierce song and force yourself to strut down the street like you’re the hottest thing in town. You might feel a little silly, but the effect is worthwhile. Just play the part—sometimes that is all it takes to remind you that you actually live the part!

Or you could try something else: maybe you go do something you’re really good at, maybe you have a dance party in your underwear, maybe you put on fire engine red lipstick. Do something that makes you feel good and fierce and unstoppable… because you are.

It’s important to try to accept yourself as you are in this moment. You are beautiful right now. Not, “I’ll be beautiful when I lose 10 pounds,” or, “I’ll like myself when I can fit in size 6 jeans again.” Use these tools to appreciate your body today. Otherwise, you could spend years wallowing in self loathing when you could be out there embracing this incredible life you’re living.

And remember: body dysmorphia can be a very serious and emotionally painful disorder. If you or a loved one is suffering, seek out professional support.

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Images via Thinkstock.

152 comments

Marie W
Marie W24 days ago

Thank you for caring

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Kevin B
Kevin Babout a month ago

thank you for sharing

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Dennis Hall
Dennis Hall6 months ago

Thank you.

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Richard E Cooley
Richard E Cooley6 months ago

Thank you.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R7 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R7 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jenny G
Jenny G7 months ago

I am currently working on loving my body and self!

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Morgan I
Morgan I7 months ago

Stop comparing your body to others. We are all unique and beautiful :)

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Karen Martinez
Karen Martinez7 months ago

Interesting article. I tell people that at my age I've given up on beauty and I'm now working on character. Don't have self loathing, and my husband tells me I'm beautiful, so I am a very fortunate woman.

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Renata B
Renata B7 months ago

Thanks.

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