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How do I stop comparing my body to others?

How can I stop comparing my body to others? I get this question so often. We get are often so consumed with what we look like compared with other people but there really is no one single answer, or solution, to the question of how to have a good body image.

For some people, having good body image is about being comfortable in their appearance. For others, it encompasses more than just how they look on the outside – it can also include how they feel physically too. Whatever someone’s definition of a positive body image may be, there is usually some form of comparing their body to others in there.

It’s no wonder we compare ourselves to others. TV commercials, TV programmes, magazine ads, social media, and even friends and family can all contribute to unrealistic body ideals. Thanks to photoshop and filters, photos are often edited to make people look different. They ‘help’ people to appear as though they conform to the beauty ideals that society has deemed the ‘correct’ way to look. In addition, the internet has made it easier for people to share these pictures and videos without anyone knowing the full story. Naturally, this can lead to more body comparison.

There are many reasons why people compare their bodies to others: insecurity, low self-esteem, need for approval. It’s hard not to compare yourself to others. We see images of celebrities and models on TV, in magazines, or on social media, and we want what they have. Unfortunately, this type of comparison can have a significant negative impact on our mental health. Comparing ourselves to others can lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, depression, and body image issues.

If we’re constantly comparing our bodies to those of others, it’s difficult to accept ourselves for who we are.

While noticing people’s bodies may be helpful for learning about different body types, it can be really harmful if we use it to judge ourselves negatively. For example, I could use pictures in a magazine or on social media to understand the beauty of different body types and to educate myself on that, or I could use them to compare my body to the models, leading me to feel like I’m not thin enough, my stomach isn’t flat enough, I’m not tall enough, or my face shape isn’t right. Instead of focusing on the positive aspects of my own body, I’ll focus on what I don’t have. This type of thinking will only make me feel bad about myself. Sound familiar?

If you want to have a healthy body image, you need to stop comparing yourself to others and start focusing on your own strengths. Here are a few ideas on how you can do that.

It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see.

Gabourey Sidibe

Every body is different

Remind yourself of the fact that everyone is different and there is no one perfect body type or size. If you happen to have a body shape or size that isn’t typically considered attractive by society that’s absolutely fine. Your value is not determined by your shape and size. Every person has a place and a worth in the world, and deserves to take up space.

You are beautiful in your own way and it is those unique parts of you that make you special. It takes all sorts to make the world go round.

Also, understand that the definition of ‘looking good’ is subjective. What one person considers attractive may be completely different from what another person considers attractive. This includes how others perceive your body and how you perceive your own body. You do not need to try to change things about your appearance in order to gain the approval of other people. The only person that needs your approval is you – if you are happy with yourself, that is the main thing, and you can work on that. That’s why you’re reading this now.

Focus on your good parts

Focus on what you like about your body, not what you don’t like. Embrace your unique body shape and size. If you look in the mirror and focus on all of the things you don’t like about your body, you’re going to end up feeling really down about yourself.

Instead, try looking at your body from a more positive perspective. Give your body the respect that it deserves.

You could try giving thanks to parts of your body. Appreciating your hands because they hold the hands of your loved one or child, or appreciating your heart because it’s totally amazing and keeps up the work of pumping that blood around day and night. This can be a lovely way to encourage feeling better about it.

From there you can work on actually truly liking more and more parts of yourself, building body confidence as a whole.

Look after your health & Wellbeing

Focus on your happiness and wellbeing. We need to focus on our own strengths and weaknesses in order to optimize our health and happiness, so self-care is essential to our wellbeing.

Get enough sleep, eat well, move regularly.

Engage your intellect. Read books, watch interesting movies or TV shows, and engage in creative activities.

Connect with others compassionately. Make time for close friends and family members as well as acquaintances, and express your feelings freely without fear of judgment.

Cultivate inner peace and tranquility by practicing mindfulness or meditation daily.

All of these aspects of life will come together to form a more satisfied and positive outlook, which will in turn help with your own self-esteem and body image.

Positive thinking

Getting rid of the negative thoughts and replacing them with more positive messages is so important.

If you talk yourself down all the time how will you ever be able to know your worth and stop comparing yourself to others?

Remind yourself frequently that you are worthy of love and respect.

Be kind to yourself, even when you don’t feel like it. Having regular, easy, positive thoughts is a habit, so keep repeating them and it’ll becoming easier and easier to do it and mean it.

Also, accept compliments graciously when you get them, even if you don’t believe them at first. People give compliments to make you feel good, so take them and try to believe them.

Positive chats

Talking positively about different body types has the potential to make a big impact on people’s lives, and on diet culture in general.

It would be great to cultivate environments around us that are positive spaces, not places where you feel the need to compare yourself to others.

Encouraging others to talk with kindness and compassion about people and their bodies can help everyone to feel more confident, empowered and happy in their own skin.

Family, friends and colleagues are all key sources of support, so enlist them in your mission to be more body-positive, and at the same time maybe you could encourage them to start talking more positively about their own bodies too.

 

While it is not easy to change your body image, it is possible. You can start by working on yourself and accepting yourself for who you are. This will help you to be more content with your body and feel better about yourself overall.

Remember, it is important to be kind to yourself and to focus on your health and happiness, not just your appearance. Give yourself permission to make mistakes too – they’re part of growing into your own unique person! Remember that everyone goes through rough patches – give yourself time and space to heal, then start fresh again with more positivity and kindness towards yourself.

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Please note, this post is intended to be general information only. Every care has been taken to ensure that facts and figures are correct at the time of posting. As always, please seek the support of a registered professional before making changes to your diet or lifestyle⁠, or if you feel that you are affected by any of the topics discussed.

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