This one goes out to everybody with a body.
Having a healthy body image and feeling comfortable, confident and happy in your skin is the foundation for cultivating a healthy mindset with self-love and self-compassion.
The sad reality is that so many of us struggle to find acceptance and confidence in our bodies due to a number of external pressures, in mainstream media, unsolicited comments, or inherited negative body image from family.
The fact of the matter is that bodies come in all different shapes and sizes, and there's not one body the exact same, so why strive to fit someone else's mould?
It's so important to embrace the individuality of your own beautiful body and cultivate unconditional self-love throughout every phase and change your body will go through. Remember, you only get one body and it's your home for life, so make sure that you treat it like you would your very best friend.
Mindset Coach and Neuroscientist Alexis Fernandez is here to have a conversation around body image and provide some actionable advice to help you boost your body confidence.
"Negative body image, or to a larger degree, body dysmorphia, is something that so many of us have experienced or continue to experience in our lives.
Body dysmorphia is the obsessive focus of flaws in your physical appearance, and is a constant feeling of not looking good enough. This also shows up as the need to look like someone else.
"Placing your value as a person on your appearance is a dangerous thing to do, because you are using your appearance to gain external validation to feel that you are enough.
When you do this, you then strengthen your own belief that you need others to make you feel enough, and others to make you like yourself.
But the truth is, no level of physical ‘perfection’ can make you love yourself or make you happy, although it does feel like it would.
I know it can seem like those who get attention because of their looks are destined to be happier and more successful, but that is not the case. Mental health issues exist in all kinds of people no matter how you look, and no matter how much external validation you receive".
So what can you do to start to change how you feel about yourself, and at the same time fill the need for validation? Work on your real human needs.
"Firstly, you need to understand where true happiness and self love comes from (and it's not ‘beauty’ or ‘hotness’).
By understanding what some of our basic human needs are and catering to them, you will almost instantly start to change your inner dialogue.
The needs that are relevant to self love are:
1. Your need for growth
2. Your need for a purpose, and;
3. Your need for REAL human connection.
If you have these three things firing on all cylinders, you will feel SELF validation and you will feel in control and empowered because you are not relying on others to give it to you.
You will also feel unique, like you have something to offer (to yourself and to others) and you will feel true peace because your validation starts to come from within".
Breaking the cycle of comparison
"If you find that you're always comparing yourself to others, it is because you are not doing enough to fulfil your needs for self-purpose or growth.
You likely feel threatened that they have something you don’t, and feel that they can get more in the way of attention or opportunities than you.
But if you are able to gain knowledge, skills and personality attributes that make you feel good and fulfilled, all these external threats start to drop away.
People will stop triggering your jealousy the more you focus on who you are, as you embrace your uniqueness and step into what you have to offer to the world, regardless of how you look.
When this starts to happen, you start to respect yourself deeply. You appreciate the work you have done, the journey you have gone on and the connections and experiences you have accumulated.
These things are brought to the forefront and the rest seems menial. It’s easy to get caught up in this spiral of not feeling good enough or of comparison, but it is all an external fabrication and it is does not have to be your reality".
Alexis's next big tip to overcome comparison is to change who your role models are.
"Think about some of the people you admire. Are you only wanting to be like someone because you think they look ‘hot’ and you wish that was you?
Or are they people who are empowering and confident, no matter how they look? Are these people strong and bold and have a message to share?
Start to curate the list of people you follow on social media or look up to. You will probably start to make some edits here because you are reflecting what you allow into your mind, and your mind is what decides if you love yourself or not".
Finding confidence in your body image is an ongoing journey, but it's something absolutely worth striving for.
Self-love is the secret to living an abundant, happy and healthy life, so it's time to start working on your human needs and reflecting on where you can make some changes today.