Body confidence doesn’t always come easy. Even when we’ve been working hard to love ourselves and challenge old programming that doesn’t serve us, every time summer rolls around, we’re yet again confronted with “swimsuit season” and “bikini body” propaganda that threatens to undo our hard-won progress.
As I’m sure you know from experience, learning to love ourselves can be a lifelong journey. Some days, it simply isn’t going to happen – and that’s ok. Other times, all it takes is a little reminder of who we truly are to get us back to that place of confidence. We've put together our favorite hacks for tapping back into self-love so we can always look in the mirror and at our lives with appreciation and gratitude.
Also, in case you haven't heard it yet today, we want to remind you that you ARE beautiful, you ARE capable, and you ARE deserving. If you still don't believe us, give some of the tips on this list a try.
Cross something off your to-do list
When you complete a task, your brain releases dopamine. This neurotransmitter increases mood, motivation, and attention — essentially, you become a superhuman. Whether it’s a small task, like taking out the trash, or a bigger task, like finishing your taxes, you’re going to feel great (it’s science!). The better you feel, the easier it is to love your body.
One excellent way to tap into this dopamine resource is to create a daily checklist of tasks. Put as many achievable goals on your list as you can so you have more items to cross off. These mini accomplishments will power you throughout your day.
Identify the source
You may be thinking — wait, if I do my taxes, I’ll feel better about wearing a bikini? And the answer is: yes! Why? The way we feel about ourselves physically is always muddled by the way we feel about ourselves and the circumstances of our lives.
Have you ever experienced the phenomenon of thinking someone is beautiful, and then having a negative experience with them and suddenly finding them unattractive? Or conversely, has someone appeared to increase in physical beauty the more you know and love them? We do this subconsciously with ourselves all the time.
The next time you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see, ask yourself: am I upset with my reflection, or does my disappointment stem from something else? Then, rate your level of satisfaction on a scale of 1-10 with the following areas of your life: creativity, career, relationships, health, joy, spirituality, finances, education, physical activity, home environment, and social life. Where are the major deficits? (Everyone has at least a couple. Many people have a lot.) Are there any action items you can take to improve those circumstances?
This may not ground-breaking, but we’re including it in our list because it works. Empirical studies have shown that we can maintain our sense of self-integrity by telling ourselves (or affirming) what we believe in positive ways.
Incorporate affirmations into your routine. You might say them in the shower, before you fall asleep, or on your way to an event. The key is to be consistent in order to reap the maximum benefits. Some examples of affirmations you can use to increase self-love are:
- My body is filled with health and vitality
- I feel strong and confident in my body
- I am worthy of love
- Sexiness is an attitude
Move your body
Exercise releases endorphins, endorphins make you happy, and happy people are more likely to see themselves in a loving light. When you move your body in the name of self-love, the goal is never to change your appearance. When you choose an activity, think “nourishment” instead of “weight loss” and set an intention of gratitude. As you move, focus on appreciating what your body is able to do and the miracle of being alive.
You might take a sunset walk, bike around your neighborhood, try some slow, juicy stretches, or dance to your favorite song. If you want to take it one step further, check in with your body and see what it wants. To do this, sit down, close your eyes, take a deep breath, clear your mind, and try and intuitively feel what your body needs in this moment. Are your muscles sore? Have you been sitting all day? Are you feeling sleepy? These are all clues you can use to better serve yourself.
Follow body positive influencers
The Bird’s Papaya aka Sarah Nicole Landry
When her body changed after having kids, Sarah felt confused — the new body she was living in wasn’t one she saw represented in traditional or social media. After uploading an unedited photo of her post-baby body to Instagram, a community of people wanting to embrace and celebrate their changing bodies formed around her and her mission. Today, she continues to post images and share ideas that normalize different body types.
Stephanie is a fashion, body image, and self-love advocate. The newly-minted author uses Instagram to share vulnerable glimpses into her life that are highly relatable, empowering, and inspiring.
After years of unhealthy dieting in order to meet the modeling industry’s impossible standards, Charli learned to embrace her curves and has become an advocate for an inclusive representation of bodies in the media. Plus, she makes stretch marks and rolls look so good, you’ll be proud to show them off.
What are your favorite tips for tapping into self-love? Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading, and we hope you feel all the love!