Most of us have been there before. You’re invited to do something a little out of the norm such as swimming, or maybe you have an event where you know you haven’t seen someone in years. Perhaps the family wants to take a beach vacation. All of these things might seem normal to the person who has a positive self image, but to the person that feels embarrassed about their body, these seemingly harmless life events can turn into nightmares. So much so that avoidance behavior can negatively impact your life.
Is a Negative Body Image Keeping You Down?
I’d be lying if I told you I’ve never experienced these feelings myself. It’s easy to doubly beat myself up since I’m a fitness coach. Not being 100% comfortable in your own skin can take an emotional toll on yourself. Wondering what other people are going to think when they see you’ve put on a few pounds or you aren’t lean 365 days out of the year can really mess with your head. Through conversations with family and friends, I know I’m not alone in these feelings.
Be Honest With Yourself
The first step in dealing with these feelings is to come to grips with the fact that you have a problem. You know who you are. You avoid situation after situation that involves even a remote chance that someone is going to judge your body. If you want to build up your self image, you need to stop associating your self worth with you external appearance.
Your body fat percentage does not determine the kind of person you are. There are amazing people in this world that change people’s lives every day, and I can guarantee you that being 10% body fat or 30% body fat has no bearing on their success.
People Have More Important Things to Worry About
Here’s the thing, while you might think that your body image is front and center in people’s minds, the reality is that you are not the center of the universe. We might have thought that as kids, but some of us have subconsciously held onto that belief into adulthood. People have their own problems to worry about and their own lives to live. The last thing on their minds is wondering how you look. I’d hope your friends love you for who you are.
You Can’t Control What Other People Think
To the few people who do make critical judgements – forget about them. You can’t control what they think, and more likely than not, if they have something negative to say, it’s usually born out of their own insecurities. Worrying about things you cannot control is a hopeless cause. Let other people think what they may. They have to live with their thoughts, not you.
None of Us is Perfect
Are you perfect? Do you think anyone of us is perfect? We aren’t. No one is. Some people’s “imperfections” manifest themselves externally, while the majority of people hold their insecurities internally. They keep them hidden out of fear of judgement. However bad you think your problem is, I can guarantee you that there is someone else out there that would gladly change places with you. I’m not trying to belittle your pain, but let’s put our problem into perspective and realize that things could be a lot worse.
Live Your Life and Be Happy
The moment you let your body and self image dictate your life will be the moment a small piece of you dies inside. Your self-perceived body image should not be the deciding factor in your life’s decisions. You can and should be able to still live your life to the fullest, without fear of criticism, regardless of where you are in your own personal fitness journey.
Don’t let your negative thoughts control your world. Be proud of who you are and strive to be 100% comfortable in your own skin, regardless of what that skin looks like. No one else’s opinion matters but your own, and your opinion is completely within your control. Choose to love yourself.