Hi Beautiful Humans. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to live in a world where physical beauty truly doesn’t affect us? As a mom of two (and just as a woman!), I struggle with how I think about my appearance on a daily basis. That’s why I’m so excited to introduce you to Natalie today! Natalie is an image coach and mother of two, and she’s here to share some of her wisdom about beauty, loving our bodies and accepting who we are– both as moms and as women. I’ve loved working with Natalie, and her work touches my heart! I hope her words bless you today like they’ve blessed me.
Don’t you think that’s true? The more we feel we’re on top of everything the more we radiate and the more people radiate towards us! We all have that one friend who always seems to have it together, who never worries about people looking at her, judging her or talking about her– and we envy her carefree attitude to life. But, being comfortable with yourself is not an easy ask, especially when we are bombarded on a daily basis with societies idea of “Perfection.”
This constant barrage of information we see daily– about loving ourselves, but showing size zero teenagers in the clothes brands want us to wear– is never going to make you feel amazing about yourself! This particular idea is the topic of studies by Psychologists such as Yuko Yamamiya but oddly enough it doesn’t affect all women equally…
So why does it affect some more than others? There are a huge variety of reasons…but your own life experiences would have a massive impact on your body image mindset!
As women we are often so caught up on how we look. I’ve found that focus gets so much worse after we’ve had children. The pressure to get back to our pre-baby body–and quick–is immense.
We can’t stem the flow of what we see in the media (well not without disconnecting completely which, in today’s society, just isn’t practical!), so what can we do to change our own mindset about our body image, especially after babies?
We need to turn that idea of how we look on its head and focus on how we feel, and challenge the misconception of what beauty is!
So here’s a few ideas that I’ve used with the wonderful array of women I work with to overcome their body image:
When we think about beautiful we are often thinking superficially…but what we miss is what we find attractive. Think about your partner or someone you admire; we weren’t drawn to that person just because they were a looker there’s so much more what about their sense of style? Their confidence? Their intelligence? Or even the fact that they can actually lick their own elbow!
We don’t pick to befriend or love people based on their looks alone. So why do you think people would behave any differently when they approach you? People want to look their best and that’s totally okay. But when thoughts and stresses about your appearance take over, then you need to step back and think. Your looks do not define you. When you find yourself obsessing about your stretchmarks or worrying about the cellulite that you’re certain has got worse since you ate the last piece of cake, STOP! Break the thought pattern and say “My Looks Do NOT define me.” Then tell yourself five things that are amazing about yourself. They could be silly or profound– it doesn’t matter as long as they are positive!
This is a much-touted piece of advice but one I feel is so powerful. As a mum of two I use it regularly. My body did an incredible thing in producing two awesome little girls for me! I actually MADE them! (Okay, I will admit my partner had some input but I totally built them!)
Every stretch mark, every new curve I got, even the alien belly button I now possess had to happen to give me two little girls. And sometimes we just have to cut it some slack that we aren’t doing the splits and doing the food shop in our Active wear a couple of weeks after completing its task!
Every time your negative voice pipes up with a quip about your wider hips, just take a minute to flip it and remember why they are there!
You know when you are having a debate with someone you often tout the phrase “Well, that’s your opinion…”? Well it’s exactly the same in your mind! Your thoughts are just your brain’s opinions and are no more than that! It has no evidence that it’s right, any more than the person you have a row with over whether pineapple has any place on pizza or not! (It so does by the way.)
Your thoughts don’t represent the truth like CSI. They are just opinions and ones that I’m pretty confident don’t represent the views of those around you like you think they do.
Become aware of them. You’ll be surprised how often these thoughts pop up! When you hear these “opinions” Challenge them! Ask yourself what evidence you have to back up your negative viewpoint. I bet you can’t find anything that isn’t circumstantial at best! For example, if you’re thinking someone is looking at the part of you that you have an issue with, challenge your brain. Pick out three people who aren’t. And if you’re thinking I’m crazy, I’m not. Try it– you so can!
This simple task can make you realize just how often you subconsciously put yourself down!
Let’s be honest: we all get days where we can’t quite get out of our own way. But I truly believe that it is within your power to accept that your body is doing a grand job just as it is, and even to completely love yourself!
I also believe that the key to unlocking this skill, because I do think it’s something you can learn, is down to your mindset. If you can get out of your own way and challenge the old way you can be that confident friend who’s comfortable in their skin!
I’m Nat, an image coach and mum of two from Oxfordshire. I trained as an Image Consultant and Coach to help women feel amazing about themselves without trying to become something they aren’t or don’t want to be. I think everyone should love themselves bums, tums and all and I’m passionate about helping women achieve that confidence.