Bodies, Bodies, Bodies. Like opinions, everyone has one and most of us have struggled loving our own! We’re inundated with images of bodies, clothed, naked and everything in between and maybe because of this we can’t help but compare our own bodies to that of the ones on our Instagram feeds. But! RnR are here; take our hands and explore with us ways to improve and increase your self-love, trust us, we’re also taking notes as well!
1: Take Time Off: One sure fire way, we use to reset our minds and to ensure that we’re focusing on ourselves is to take time off. Whether it’s a break from social media or from our outside distractions- taking time to focus on ourselves and feeling better. Taking a bubble bath, with candles and soothing music is one of our favourite ways to unwind and disconnect. I find even using infusers or scented candles, especially scents like lavender, peppermint, cedarwood or eucalyptus.
2: Have A Mantra: Finding a self- love mantra or affirmations help encourage you on the days you’re feeling down- just like receiving a compliment can make your day- this is the same idea. Except you are encouraging and complimenting yourself. “I am beautiful“, “I am successful“, “I believe in myself“, “I am capable” these types of positive affirmations can be repeated to yourself to help increase your feelings of positivity. Sometimes making a list of all the things you love about yourself, it can be something you can refer to on a daily basis, but particularly on the days when you’re feeling down.
R1’s Self-Love Confession
Like any one else, I have moments when I literally CANNOT see the appeal in the face and body looking back at me in the mirror. I see the faults and focus on the things I dislike about my body, from the stretch marks on my stomach to my non-gravity defying breasts. I look at images of models and even “plus sized” models like Ashley Graham and I pick apart reasons why she’s beyond gorgeous. Wishing that I had a figure which I believe to be the epitome of the perfect feminine shape. Trust me, google her, she’s beautiful. But, if I were to look at it from another perspective, the stretch marks and the non-gravity defying breasts housed my daughter and kept her fed and alive for almost two years. No amount of “prefect body” would change that aspect of my life and I do not regret it. Over time, our bodies will go through changes, some positive and others possibly negative, but at the end of the day- I have my health and my body works. It created another human being and that in and of itself is beyond amazing. What I have come to realise over time, is that we are not merely a body, our bumps and stretch marks added to our story. They are a map of the things we have been through and at the end of the day, we all go through the same feelings about ourselves and our bodies. We are no different from each other. We have one body, it will go through many things, we should embrace the scars, bumps and marks as a tapestry/map of our shared journey.
3: Be YOU!: Being myself has never stopped me before. Why should it start now? I have to remember that with anything that may come my way, I can’t stop being myself, because that it where I will lose what makes me, me, myself, unique, special and most importantly, loved. If taking care of yourself (mental, physical or otherwise), means that you need to sit and cry it out, do it! If it means that you need to close or purge from social media, do it! If it means you simply need to “spring clean” your house, do it. Taking of yourself simply means taking care of yourself- in whatever capacity. Be you, it’s only thing you can be.
4: Wear What Makes You Feel Good: Forget the sizes, the labels and more importantly the trends. Wear what makes you feel good! What lifts your spirits, what brings your sexy back! You’d be surprised how clothes can just snap you out of any rut you may be going through.
5: Talk about it: Having people to talk to, about anything and everything, goes a long way. Sometimes you just have to hear yourself give actually audible words to your feelings and thoughts, for you to feel better, and come up with a course of action.
R2’s Self-Love Confession
I can’t say that I have ever experienced the typical high school years as a young woman, where you feel as if your body isn’t what you think it should be. I have always been the little girl with skinny legs and a large bust, which is a weird combination when you start to develop into a young woman. Fast forward a few years later, and I find myself feeling stuck. I feel as if I’ve been left behind. It feels like everyone around me is doing something to better themselves and I’m missing out. My bust is fully developed if I may say so myself, I have your typical African-American B.U.T.T. and I’ve come to accept it (with MUCH self-talk), and I have “love handles”. I call them love handles, the larger population may call it a bit of side fat lol, tomato, tomato, potato, potato. R1 gave me some great advice in my breakdown full of tears, tissues and a stuffy nose. She told me “If you feel you aren’t happy about something you and only you can possibly change that. But don’t over think it. Make a list. Break it down. List lady!!” OH MY GOODNESS!! Why hadn’t I thought of that myself?! A stinkin’ list!! A list like many others that I have compiled and completed with great success in my 22 years of life. But the one time I needed or SHOULD have thought to do what I do best, it never occurred to me. It’s funny how sisters and friends have a way of opening our eyes to the things that are right before us.
1: Be Open To Love: I’m sure that the title has you going, “huh!!??” Well its pretty simple. The people who love you and I mean truly love you, see your beauty WAY before you ever can. Ones beauty doesn’t always have to come from their exterior appearance, very often its from within, because that is where it all starts. When you love yourself from the inside, then you can love the outside.
2: Take. A. Breath: Its quite possible that you wont end up being the exact person that you intend, both internally and externally, but sometimes you just have to breath. Things take time, especially improvements no matter what they may be. I don’t condone changing yourself for others but if your going to change ANY THING it takes time, breath and one step at a time, one day at a time.
3: Make a List: The idea of writing it all down in a list format is too true to my character. When we have words on a paper to hold us accountable, we find ourselves sticking to the task we have set before us. That may sound a bit too philosophical, but its true! Or at least for me it is. I like seeing everything that I want to accomplish right before me, so that I have no excuse NOT to accomplish it. It’s in writing and I can’t say that I don’t remember, because it’s somewhere that I walk by, everyday.
4: Talk it Out: If you guys haven’t figured it out already, R1 can be my voice of reason very often, especially when I’m in a funk. Just hearing her opinion or the opinion of someone who cares about me, goes a long way. We’re all different, which makes our individual experiences, opinions and words of wisdom that much more impactful.
5: Take a Chance: It never hurts to try something new. It hurts more when you don’t take the leap and try something different. You feel better when you step in a little bit outside of your comfort zone, verses sticking to the same old, same old. Change is good for you, but it doesn’t have to be anything drastic, it just has to be worth it.
How do you ensure you’re loving yourself and putting yourself 1st? Share your tips/advice and even some of your hangups.