When you have a distorted or unhealthy body image, it can cause you to want to harm yourself instead of love yourself. So before we move on to look at how to be a better friend to yourself and others, let’s talk about how to understand and start to heal your body image issues.
One of my favorite tools for self-awareness is journaling. When you put pen to paper, no one will see what you’ve written unless you choose to show them. This creates an atmosphere of safety and honesty that can lead to some powerful insights and discoveries about yourself.
You can find ready-made workbooks or journaling prompts about many different topics, or you can simply ask yourself a question at the top of the page and write down your answer.
If you really want to get to know yourself, join a support group or therapy group. It doesn’t need to be one related to food, and for some people can be a more comfortable alternative to one-on-one therapy. It can also serve as a bridge to therapy, while giving you access to self-awareness and the growth process.
Body image can affect intimacy, and how you relate to others and to yourself. A therapist can offer invaluable guidance and support for these issues in a private and confidential setting.
Gentle movement choices like we discussed recently on the blog are important forms of self-care that can create a self-nurturing relationship with your body. Things like yoga, relaxation and massage can all help you feel better in your body.
Choose your clothes carefully. Do the fabrics feels good against your skin, or is anything constricting or irritating you? Do your shoes support you in comfort as you move around, or are they too tight or worn down?
Do you make an effort to feel good about your appearance, choosing clothing and accessories in flattering colors and shapes? Do you practice good hygiene and take an extra few minutes to brush your hair?
In that same article about movement choices, I also mentioned my father’s advice about putting on my “tennis whites”. Looking the part really did make me feel more confident and comfortable in my own skin – and as a tennis player! It’s almost like wearing a power color for a job interview or special presentation, or the career advice to dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
When you can learn to treat yourself better at the most fundamental level of body care and awareness, you’re well on your way to being your own best friend.