Self Love & Positive Body Image

 

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I’ve spent the majority of my life feeling self conscious about my body. I’m only 22, but that’s still a long time considering what we’re talking about here. Years of feeling unworthy, ugly (due to acne), too average, fat. I’ve missed out on events, rare opportunities, and fun adventures because of the amount of discomfort I felt in my own skin.

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After my freshman year in college, I was feeling defeated for many different reasons. It seemed like life just hit me all at once. I was so vulnerable…drained. Being the person I am, I decided that I would spend the summer “fixing” myself.

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I started out by getting to the root cause of my issues. Why did I struggle with my body image? Why was it so hard for me to truly love myself…in every way. How did I go from being a care-free kid to an extremely self-conscious teenager? Once I began to ask myself these questions, and really think about the true answers, my life made more sense.

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Like many people, my pain (that’s what I call it) was deeply rooted. I didn’t get this way over night. There were years of negative self talk, comparison, and harsh judgement. So how do you fix years of damage in one summer? It’s impossible (hahaha), but I did begin a journey of healing that has brought me to a beautiful place in life. Here’s what I did… Maybe it will help you too.

Write

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Photo Cred: onehandedblogger.com

I love to write creatively for personal enjoyment, but this time I had to get real with myself. I wrote out so many things that I never had the courage to say out loud. I was ruthlessly honest about my feelings towards myself, other people, and situations that played a role in my pain. This was a great way for me to release those emotions that I kept inside for so many years. There were lots of tears involved, but writing my truth saved me. Now I’m not afraid to tell my story. I am no longer ashamed of the way I used to think or live. I’m proud of who I am and who I’m becoming because I took ownership of my TRUTH.

Pray

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I am a Christian. Prayer is a vital part of my life. Through prayer, I am able to release things that are no good and allow God to heal me. I would still be a wreck if I didn’t have my faith to support and restore me every day.

Meditate

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Instagram: @yogaracheal

Taking time out of my day to be still helped relieve a ton of the stress and anxiety that I carried around (which contributed to my other issues). Being present helps me to stay focused on what’s important and simply be grateful for life.

Talk

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Some things in life are so painful that we don’t even want to speak about them. Internalizing everything may “work” for a little while, but you’ll find out soon enough that those same old issues/pain will continue to hold you back until you embrace your truth. Through my healing process, I have found that talking about my feelings really helps me to deal with things and then let it go. Now, don’t be a fool. Everybody and their granny doesn’t need to know your business. Only talk about these things with someone that you truly trust.

Think Positively

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The human mind is so powerful. You can literally change your life by changing your perspective. It’s all about how you choose to see things. Everyday that you are blessed with a new opportunity to live, it’s like receiving a party invitation. But you have to decide if you’re going to celebrate or throw your invitation away. Make the right choice. Enjoy your life. Say kind things to yourself and others. Think positively. Look on the bright side. Have a few affirmations handy when you feel like you’re lacking in the self love department.

I hope one thing you take away from this is that poor body image is not really just abut your physical appearance, It’s much deeper. In order to get to a better place, you have to put in the work (internally). That’s why I love the holistic view of health. Everything really is connected…mind, body, and soul. You can eat the cleanest diet, workout (and look) like Super Man, and still struggle with loving yourself. Take the time to focus on your heart & mind. Be honest with yourself. Work on improvement from the inside out, and watch how much you grow over time.

-Erin


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