Positive Self-Talk: Being Kind to You & Your Body

Positive Self-Talk: Being Kind to You & Your Body

By Max Hovey

You’d think this would be easy, right? We manage quite nicely when it comes to being polite to other people we care about. We don’t berate them, we aren’t mean to them, and we try to see the best in them. So why is it so hard to show the same level of care and compassion to ourselves? 

Instead of encouragement, we can treat ourselves with criticism. Instead of love, we can treat ourselves with hate. Instead of compassion, we can treat ourselves with resentment. There are many reasons why this is. Some of us are brought up in an unsupportive environment, some of us feel the need to compete with everyone else, and don’t even get me started on social media. 

I used to ridicule myself at every given opportunity. I was completely dissatisfied with myself and did all I could to manipulate the way people viewed me. Whether I was airbrushing my photos, posing for the camera, or going to the gym at every given opportunity. I’d become obsessed with the way people viewed me. The sad truth in this world is that the mainstream favours the mainstream. So is it any wonder that so many of us try to gravitate towards that ideal in order to feel accepted?

The second I started changing my body, people’s attitudes towards me changed. People would shower me with compliments on how I looked. Why? Because I’d become the thin ideal, I’d become exactly what society had told us all to favour. It becomes an addiction. I was addicted to that external validation; the likes, the comments, the follows, the attention. But it wasn’t sustainable.

I was not kind to myself and I didn’t see what everyone else saw. I only saw flaws. My only source of confidence was from other people, and I did all I could to keep up that facade. I restricted all of the food I enjoyed, I would prioritise exercise over friendships, I edited myself in family photos, and I was no longer me. 

Why am I telling you all this? Because this was the opposite of being kind to myself. Unfortunately, many people say that I’m no longer being kind to myself because I don’t look after my body anymore. To an extent they’re right, I don’t look after it as much as I did, and I know I need to exercise more. But being kind to ourselves doesn’t start with fitness or with diet. it starts with how we feel about ourselves and we build from there. 

I’m now at a place where I am no longer the body ideal, my photos are all natural and unedited, and I prioritise my happiness and my social life. I prioritise myself, not what people want me to be. Here I am at 23, and I’m finally here. There are people who go through their entire lives ridiculing themselves. The only person you’re going to spend 100% of your time with is you, so you should be your biggest cheerleader, not your biggest critic. 

So, do you want to know how to get started on this path? Here you go:

Become Aware of Your Mindset - Trying to control our subconscious can feel impossible at times, so when it does it’s important to learn the difference between fact and that mean voice in our head. Whilst we may not be able to control the voice in our head, the first step is simply to learn to notice when it arises, and recognise that it does not speak the truth. 

Focus on things you like about yourself - For some reason as humans, we’re wired to focus on the negative. We get 99 beautiful complimentary comments but the only one we notice is the criticism. When you think about yourself, don’t think about the things you dislike, focus on what you do. What talents do you have? What are you proud of? What hobby are you passionate about? Give yourself some credit. 

Detach yourself from physicality - As I’ve already said, people can change their bodies and that’s okay. I’m even all for cosmetic procedures. But to get to a place where you detach your actions from physicality is when you can truly start to be kind to yourself. Rather than focusing on the way your body looks, focus on what it does. 

Recognise That The Critical Inner Voice Is Not You - We all seem to have that little devil on our shoulder saying something mean; telling us we’re not enough. But that voice isn’t you, it's your subconscious. It’s been wired to be self-critical. We’re brought up surrounded by competition, comparisons and unrealistic expectations, so our brain is almost trained to think anything we do isn’t enough. But you really are. 

You Wouldn’t Say These Things To A Friend - “Treat others how you’d like to be treated” is a very common thing we’re taught growing up. Would you sit there and call a friend ugly? A failure? A disappointment? Well, I hope not. So why on EARTH would you say it to yourself? You deserve the same compassion as everyone else.

Adjust Your Relationship With Your Appearance - This doesn’t mean you have to love yourself, I know that’s a big ask. Some people never will, you don’t even have to like yourself, but accepting yourself is the best thing you can do. If you’re not into self-pleasuring that is fine, but a really good way to improve your relationship with yourself is to learn more about your body. Start to embrace your body and your desires, by yourself. Wear things you feel sexy in around the house, and learn to let yourself feel confident in your own skin. I wear thongs or jockstraps most of the time and the boost it gives me is something ELSE.

Surround Yourself With People Who Lift You Up - There’s nothing better than having your very own cheer squad. Knowing you have people on the sidelines cheering you on and helping boost your confidence. If you don’t have people in your life like that, then you’re with the wrong people. Surrounding ourselves with people who help to make us the happiest and most confident versions of ourselves, are the people we need in our lives.

Learn to accept compliments - When someone says something nice about you, do you believe it? Or do you simply respond “Nooo not me” or try to shy away from it? Learning to truly accept compliments and someone's positive feelings towards you can help internalise that energy. Even simply responding with thank you, helps you to acknowledge the compliment rather than dismissing it. 

I hope this has been helpful and may just be that first baby step into self-acceptance for you.

Love always,